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Inspiring stories

Inspiring Stories

Every day at The Glass Lift we meet and hear stories of successful women; role models who inspire us and affirm our belief that there is a place for more women like them, to be engaged in leading at all levels within organisations

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ELEVATE Member – A Portrait of Lou Costin

Lou Costin is Chief Inspector with Devon and Cornwall Police. She has been a serving officer for 23 years and has enjoyed making her way through the ranks while also being a mum to two children.  Sergeant Lou Costin had been tasked with delivering a difficult message to her staff. She was feeling anxious. In bringing unwelcome news to her team that their duties were changing, she had tried to soften the blow – and ended up confusing everyone. This was her first realisation of how difficult leadership can be. A few years later as an Inspector, her Superintendent put her name forward for The Glass Lift ELEVATE programme. Lou felt flattered, pleased and interested to attend. At the time, she didn’t really understand why he’d suggested it. She’d never imagined that she could progress beyond the rank of Inspector – this had always been her highest ambition. She also had a young family – and strongly believed that any promotion would…

ELEVATE Member – A portrait of Amy Webb

Amy Webb is Head of Finance at Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. She qualified as an accountant through self-study working in both private and public sector roles before joining the Fire Service in 2013.   Barely two years after Amy joined the Fire Service the team was hit with an unexpected crisis. The Head of Finance – Amy’s boss – was taken ill and needed to step down. This is a significant role. Managing a team of seven and the £75 million budget for the service, it needs someone with considerable leadership skills. Few people expected Amy to step up to this role at this stage, but she did. Acting up temporarily to begin with and a few months later permanently appointed into post. Immediately, her inner imposter started making itself heard. Was she up to it? So it felt like fortunate timing when she was offered a place…

ELEVATE Member – A portrait of Linda Heaney

Linda Heaney is Consultant Psychiatrist at Avon and Wiltshire NHS Partnership Trust. Along with her clinical role she works one day week as Training Programme Director at Severn Deanery……… Linda was at her first ELEVATE residential with The Glass Lift team. She looked at the menu for dinner, and her heart sank. Gravadlax. What on earth was that? ‘I thought that gravadlax was the sort of thing that leaders ate all the time, and I was not one of those people….. so I couldn’t be a leader.’ Linda realised early on in the ELEVATE programme that she had a fixed view of leadership. Leaders, in Linda’s mind, were driven, type A, alpha types. Outspoken. People who felt on top of what they were doing and that other people listened to. And often Linda felt that she, and other female colleagues that she’d observed, had ‘hidden behind smartly dressed men in…

Wise words from Clare Balding

Its just great when you come across wonderful women speaking wise words. At The Glass Lift we love the What I see project and one of our favourite interviews is with Clare Balding, the BBC sports presenter, who talks about her life and career. In the interview Clare highlights the importance of female role models paving the way for others to follow in their footsteps. She also shares her view that happiness comes from having something to focus on.  She says “slow your brain down and find one thing, be it music, sport even video games, which make you concentrate.” Work and walking also make her happy. She advises women not to let fear of failure hold them back, she believes that women can hold themselves back because they’re afraid of failing. She says we all make mistakes, but it’s about picking yourself up and learning from it. Finally, to the question “what do you see…


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