Today marks the beginning of Women’s History Month, an annual event highlighting the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society, corresponding with International Women’s Day (8 March). This year is focused on ‘Women who advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion.’

Over the next four weeks, we will celebrate our 3,282 female colleagues by shining a light on our unsung heroes, those who have been an inspiration to us or for living our Trust Values and demonstrating a commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Our first nomination is for Mandy Fletcher, Head of Programmes – Strategy, People and Partnerships, who was nominated by Louise Flanagan. Louise said:

“Mandy has been instrumental in the establishment of the much-needed Women’s Network within our organisation. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that the women at Team BSMHFT have a voice and that it is being heard.

Mandy is always available for support, both professional and personal, and has a wealth of knowledge of both internal systems and other resources. She is the driving force leading us forward as a group, to raise awareness of issues that matter to women and allow us a safe space to discuss and share our experiences.”

Mandy provided us with a bit of information about her life and what equality, diversity and inclusion means to her. Mandy said:

“I have been in the Trust for almost 23 years now and my current role is Head of Programmes – Strategy, People and Partnerships. I also chair the Women’s network and support the Health and Wellbeing agenda across the organisation. I am a mom to a 17-year-old lad called Ethan and a three-year-old French bulldog called Beau, I am married to my lovely husband Gary and have a great network of friends and family who really support me in everything I do.

When I think about who inspires me, I have to say my mom, she was such a strong and fearless woman who strived to provide the best for her family. She didn’t have the easiest of lives but always ended up in management positions in any job she had. We lost mom nearly five years ago but whenever I am struggling it’s her that I talk to and still feel she guides me today to do the right thing.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion is so so important to me, and I advocate for this on a daily basis, both in work and also in my personal life. We need to ensure that we all live in a world where everyone has equal access to what supports them to be the best version of themselves. In my role as Chair of the Women’s Network, I want to support the women and those who identify as women of our Trust to have a safe space to connect with each other, to reflect, to share personal stories and to empower our members to drive meaningful change.”