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Marie Smith, London & Dorset Founder & Co-Leader

Marie Smith, London & Dorset Founder & Co-Leader


My whole career has been focused on supporting people to be the best they can be benefiting not only themselves, but also the organisations they work for, or with, and their families and friends

During my thirty years in learning and development, leadership and coaching I have worked in and with private, public, higher education and not-for-profit sectors.  I feel very grateful and lucky to work with some amazing and inspirational people and organisations. I established my own leadership development and executive coaching business, SUCCESSMITH, in 2012. I continue to enjoy working with a variety of organisations and individuals to support and co-create transformational change.

My passion is supporting people to understand what success means to them and go for what they really want out of life. I specialise in coaching and facilitating the development of leaders in organisations, departments, and teams. I also work on a one-to-one basis with private individuals.

I particularly enjoy supporting all genders, and particularly women, to define and achieve their ‘life purpose’ by overcoming tangible or imagined obstacles.

I feel very privileged that through SUCCESSMITH and through my work with the Aspiring Women Groups, I am able to support others by ‘being the spark that lights the flame for transformational change’, and this is what makes me smile and gives me a reason to get out of bed in the mornings!

Katy Ingram, London Founder and Co-Leader

Katy Ingram, London Founder and Co-Leader

Head of Marketing at Feather & Black

I started my career in marketing in the magazine industry over 20 years ago, working for an inspirational Marketing Director who gave me the motivation and confidence to step out of my comfort zone and embrace learning and development.  Her leadership style was the opposite of everything I had experienced previously.  She was quiet, considered, feminine and still delivered huge commercial success.  A role model who I could relate too – I wanted to emulate that style!

Five years later, I moved into the fast-paced world of retail marketing where the new disciplines of digital and data marketing continue to blow apart traditional roles and behaviours.  Alongside this, I’ve continued to explore everything I could about leadership and personal development so I could educate and motivate my colleagues and my team to be the best.

As professional women, there’s so much to share and learn from each other and this group is a fun and friendly place to continue the journey.

Kelly Keating, Dorset Co-Leader

Kelly Keating, Dorset Co-Leader

Continuous Improvement Manager, JP Morgan Chase

Following a career working in Marketing, Communication and Relationship Management related roles for 15 years, during the start of its LEAN transformation programme, I volunteered for the opportunity to learn about continuous improvement whilst working at the RNLI and haven’t looked back since.

Moving onto LV= I worked in the General Insurance Operational change team and subsequently headed up the Continuous Improvement team within Technology.

Whilst at LV= I was part of the team that set up its first Women’s network and now working at JP Morgan I am an active participant in its many diversity programmes.

In September 2016 I gave birth to our son Xander, after years of focus on my career he’s certainly given me a chance to step back and appreciate life. He brings me tremendous joy every day and I feel very blessed.

Volunteering for Aspiring Women is my small way of paying it forward. I also love festivals, camping in our VW and creating our dream home.

Ginette Tessier, Dorset Co-Leader

Ginette Tessier, Dorset Co-Leader

Managing Director, Acuitas.Limited

After more than twenty-two years of corporate life, working in marketing and then insight for a variety of organisations, I took the plunge into self-employment in 2014 and set up Acuitas.Limited.

A key part of my decision to start my own business was learning how to increase choice in my life through studying NLP (neuro-linguistic programming: snappy, huh?!). I became qualified as an NLP trainer in 2014 and have since used my learning and experience to help other people turn their challenges into choices.

I run face-to-face training in Business and Management core skills for organisations in and around Dorset, career coaching and mentoring on a one-to-one basis and I also have a passion for online learning, which I explore through providing a professional quality review service for independent online course creators.

When Marie approached me to co-host Aspire Circles Dorset and now Aspiring Women Dorset, I jumped at the chance! Not only was it a great opportunity to work with Marie again (she was one of my interviewers when I joined the RNLI back in 1999!), but having been a volunteer mentor with the Aspire Foundation, I immediately understood the ethos and values of the group.

Apart from co-hosting the Dorset events, I also dabble in website design and build – so if you have any complaints about this website, it’s almost certainly entirely my fault! Feel free to let me know of any issues via

When I’m not running my business, I am usually found walking my rescued five-ish year old Jack Russell/Fox Terrier cross Scamp – who certainly lives up to his name! (That’s most definitely HIS stick, not mine!)

He runs the day-to-day time-keeping of the office when I’m not out delivering training and we’re found most days in Queen’s Park dodging the bad golfers 🙂 Come and say hello if you see us!

A note from Marie on the origins of Aspiring Women:

AW Logo“I first connected with Dr Sam Collins and the work of Aspire Trailblazing Leadership in 2009 through a Women’s Leadership Programme.  In early 2013, when Sam reached out and asked for ideas on how to provide a way of keeping Aspire women connected and supporting each other, two other volunteers and myself came up with a personal development and networking idea called ‘Aspire Circles’.

With Sam’s blessing, we set up the first group in Central London with the aim of ‘women supporting other women’ and ran the first event in July 2013.  Shortly after that in February 2014, the Aspire Circle in Dorset was established, running quarterly personal development events for women in and around Bournemouth.

Towards the end of 2016, Sam decided that she wanted the Aspire Foundation to have a slightly different focus, which meant the closing of the Aspire Foundation mentoring programme and a move away from our close links with Aspire.

Bokeh Bubbles Multi SharpHaving kept both groups up to date with the changes, we were all delighted when there was a clear request from our subscribers for us to continue offering events in London and Dorset. We still feel a connection to the work of the Aspire Foundation, but we also support other causes which focus on supporting women locally and globally.

As a celebration and recognition of the transformation of the two groups, we have brought them together under the umbrella of Aspiring Women and this brand new website, where we hope to encourage more women to join us – and perhaps even set up more regional groups!

We’re very happy to fill the gap between pure networking groups and informal social gatherings, offering all women, no matter their circumstances, an opportunity to meet up and share in learning about themselves and others in a warm, supportive and inspiring environment.”