Pamodzi Creatives is thrilled to introduce award sponsor Health and Care Portsmouth.
Health and Care Portsmouth is an innovative programme sitting under Portsmouth City Council, that aims to integrate health and social care services in Portsmouth to provide residents with the support they need to lead healthy and independent lives. Health Development Manager, Hannah Byrne is responsible for overseeing the implementation of this ambitious programme.
In addition to her work with Health and Care Portsmouth, Hannah is also actively involved in supporting women's health and empowerment in the city. Speaking about her efforts to empower women in Portsmouth, Hannah says, "Giving women the opportunity to think about what their conception aspirations are and what contraception method is right for them. We aim to give women the freedom of choice with easy access to contraception and support."
For Hannah, supporting Pamodzi is about celebrating the success of women in Portsmouth and acknowledging the challenges they have overcome. "Celebrating the success of women in Portsmouth, the leaps women have taken over time, and the hurdles they have overcome through supporting each other," she explains.
When it comes to overcoming challenges, Hannah is passionate about making health services accessible for all, including those with neurodiverse needs. "We do this by producing easy-to-read materials, have video content available to show people how to access the service and we will continue to work towards making the service more accessible to all," she says.
Hannah draws inspiration from the hard work and dedication of her colleagues in the healthcare sector. Speaking about the individuals who inspire her, Hannah says, "I am inspired by the clinical director within the Solent NHS Trust sexual health service, Clare Scholfield. Clare is hardworking, knowledgeable, committed, and takes pride in innovating and evolving our services. I am also inspired by Alison Freemantle from the Community Pharmacy South Central who has contributed significantly to enabling access to free contraception in 10 community pharmacies in Portsmouth. Last but not least, I am inspired by Debbi Hill from maternity with PHUT who has enabled contraception provision within our locally maternity setting."
In terms of her most inspirational dinner guest, Hannah would choose Anne Connolly MBE, a healthcare professional who has dedicated her career to supporting women's health in primary care settings. "Anne's work to support women's health within primary care across the country is inspirational. Her passion to support women have the time and space to think about, talk about, and access contraception is great to hear about, so it would be great to discuss this work over dinner to help inform more of the work we do in Portsmouth," she explains.
Overall, Hannah Byrne's commitment to health and social care integration and women's health empowerment is making a significant impact in the Portsmouth community. Her dedication to making healthcare services more accessible and inclusive is inspiring, and her admiration for her colleagues and healthcare professionals is a testament to the hard work and dedication of those in the sector.
A huge thank you to Hannah and the Health and Care Portsmouth Team for sponsoring the Inspirational Role Model Award and Supporting the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards 2023.
Find out more about Hannah and the Team Here:
Website: Making health and social care in Portsmouth better - Health & Care Portsmouth
Meet Hannah Roper, the visionary behind The Female Creative and Country on the Coast Festival, also serving as a Non-Executive Board Member of the Pamodzi Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards and sponsor of the Emerging Business Award.
The Female Creative, founded by Hannah Roper in 2020, started as a platform to coach, mentor, and educate busy people looking to turn their ideas into action and start a business doing what they love. With over 20 years of experience as a teacher and learning expert, as well as nine years in marketing and branding through her country music alter ego, Lily Garland, and as the Creative Director of a 3-day country music festival, Hannah brings a wealth of knowledge to her business.
Since its inception, The Female Creative has since expanded its offerings to include 121 services, a monthly group membership, a podcast, The Female Creative Talks, and networking events and works with established businesses as well as new business across multiple industries from photography to gift shops, health and wellness to coaching, Jewellery to PR. Hannah focuses on four key business foundations - Messaging, Strategy, Systems, and Mindset - to support predominantly female-owned businesses in unleashing their creativity, growing their audience, and increasing their income, all while balancing a busy lifestyle.
Hannah’s magic power is using her organisational skills and clarity to help business owners reduce the overwhelming feeling that is so common in their field. She is dedicated to providing guidance, support, and cheerleading to help clients cut through the noise and prioritise actions that get them closer to their goals alongside being that essential sounding board creating a safe space for her clients.
“My coaching has been labelled ‘the Hannah Roper effect’ as my ability to take holistic view across any business, understand the barriers to growth and guide the founder to clearing the overwhelm and taking purposeful steps to achieve their goals brings powerful results” Hannah Roper
In addition to her extensive career experience, Hannah has also been recognized for her contributions to the business world. She was honoured with the Top Female Business Coach Worldwide (2022) accolade from the Coach Foundation, and received the Pamodzi Inspirational Women Award 2022 in the Established Business Category. She was also a runner-up for the UK, US and Canada Women’s Business Awards, Business Women of the Year 2022. In 2023, Hannah will be appearing as a featured expert host for the second year at the Women’s Business Conference in October.
Hannah's career journey has not always been easy, including her past experience as a police officer and her struggles as a survivor of domestic abuse. However, she has spent years rebuilding her confidence and self-esteem, eventually discovering her love for entrepreneurship and developing her skills in business, branding, marketing, and web design and using these skills to support others. Through her work on the Pamodzi Creatives Board for the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Project, Hannah continues to contribute to the growth and success of the organisation, celebrating the inspiring stories of women in Portsmouth.
Huge thank you to Hannah not only for sponsoring the Emerging Business Award but also for her dedication and passion for supporting the project.
Find out more about Hannah, The Female Creative and Country on the Coast below:
Claire's Floristry: A Blossoming Business With a Heart of Gold! We are thrilled to have Claire Lester, founder of Claire's Floristry supporting the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Event!
Based in Havant, UK, Claire's Floristry is a wedding and events florist that has grown from a small gift bouquet shop to a thriving business delivering beautiful blooms for all special occasions. Despite its growth, Claire's Floristry remains true to its eco-friendly roots, swapping plastic wrapping for luxurious paper and tissue, and using recyclable or reusable arrangement bases made of wood. The business strives to deliver luxurious designs that are as environmentally friendly as possible.
Not only is Claire's Floristry dedicated to providing stunning floral arrangements, but it is also committed to supporting charitable causes. The business is a proud supporter of Stop Domestic Abuse, and Claire recently took a part-time job with the charity to help with their administration. Her goal is to employ more women to support larger events in the future, as she believes in empowering women and giving them a voice.
Claire is inspired by her mother, who taught her the importance of hard work, running a business, and being humble and kind. She is also inspired by Sarah Roads, the Marine Recruiter, who has been a friend and mentor, and a successful business owner. If Claire could have dinner with any two guests, past or present, she would choose these two women, who fill the room with love, kindness, fun, support, and beauty.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a significant challenge for Claire, but she persevered by quickly converting a caravan into a workroom. Her determination and hard work paid off, and the business has grown to the point where she now operates from a unit to accommodate larger weddings and events.
The nominees of the Pamodzi Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards have overcome many challenges, which have inspired them to do what they do. Claire is no exception. She has shown that with hard work and determination, anything is possible. Supporting Pamodzi means a lot to her, as she wants to show other women that they are not alone and that everyone is supporting them.
In conclusion, Claire's Floristry is a blooming business with a heart of gold. The business is dedicated to providing stunning floral arrangements while being eco-friendly, supporting charitable causes, and empowering women. The story of Claire's journey, from converting a caravan to a thriving business, is an inspiration to us all.
A huge thank you to Claire who will not only be sponsoring the Sports Award but also providing beautiful blooms for the event!
Follow Claire's Floristry:
Welcome to the world of Phoenix Photography, where capturing beauty and empowering women is at the forefront of the mission. Behind this successful photography enterprise stands the visionary and talented founder, Debbie Fowler. With a passion for photography and a drive to help others heal, Debbie has created a space where women can feel safe, seen, and celebrated.
Phoenix Photography is a growing enterprise that aims to help women heal from their traumas and gain emotional freedom and confidence. The founder, Debbie Fowler, who also works in finance and mortgages, started the company after experiencing the power of ancestral healing and combining this with her passion for photography.
Having always had an interest in photography, Debbie began to hone her skills and soon started to photograph friends and family, eventually sharing her work on social media. Debbie received an overwhelming response from women who wanted to learn to see themselves in a different light and start their healing journey.
In 2022, Debbie took an ancestral healing course to better guide others on their journey to healing. Through this experience, she has seen the transformation that can occur when women take back control and break the cycle of trauma.
Debbie believes that by healing ancestral trauma, not only the past and present, but the future can be healed as well. It is a crucial and challenging process, and there is always support available for those who embark on it. Time and circumstances are considered two of the most powerful warriors. They shape an individual and can also break any curses that may exist. By embracing this philosophy, one can break free from the past and forge a better future.
“Many who have been labelled as the "black sheep" of their family have become self-healers and broken the cycle of generational curses, guilt, and shame, paving the way for a better future for their lineage” Debbie Fowler
Debbie is a shining light of this journey and the power women hold inside.
The mission of Phoenix Photography is to provide a safe space for women to heal and grow, using the founder's lived experience and knowledge to guide them. The company has become a dedicated advocate for women and serves clients from all over Hampshire.
A huge thank you to Debbie for sponsoring the Inspirational Role Model award and supporting the work of Pamodzi Creatives.
Find out more about Debbie below:
Hughes and Salvidge are a well-established demolition and decommissioning business with its headquarters in Portsmouth. Their work takes them all over the country including projects at Heathrow and Gatwick. As one of the UK leaders in this sector, Hughes and Salvidge have built a reputation for health and safety, quality, and innovation.
Alongside SLR marine recruit, they have chosen to sponsor the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth awards which will be held on Friday, March 10th. To find out why they felt this is important and what they are doing to impact the lives of young girls and women in Portsmouth, the hosts of the award caught up with them to hear all about their efforts.
As you know, Pamodzi is all about bringing people together to celebrate the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth and the positive impact they have on their community so tell us about the activities you are doing to empower women in Portsmouth.
Hughes and Salvidge are proud members of the Portsmouth community, having had our Head Offices located here since 1964. Although we operate nationwide, most of our workforce is Portsmouth born and bred, and we regularly undertake projects in the city and the surrounding areas. Alongside our day-to-day activities – demolition, asbestos removal, concrete crushing, and metal recycling – we run internal initiatives to support Safety, the Environment, and Social Value within our team and the communities we work within.
Our Social Value Initiative, Helping Hands, promotes Charity, Community, Wellness, Development and Sustainability. One of our most valuable development actions from the Initiative is taking part in local learning and training events. There is currently a concern in the construction and demolition industries regarding the skills gap, and we need to encourage the next generation into the industry, as well as the one after that. Recognising that our industry is male-dominated, we make a conscious effort to interact with all children and students, particularly girls and women, to inspire them and boost their interest in our work.
Our teams regularly present to schools and colleges local to our projects about demolition, including how to develop a career in the industry and what distinct roles are available. We also invite schoolchildren to our sites, where safe to do so, so they can experience a demolition site first-hand, and hopefully get bitten by the demolition bug!
In 2022, we participated in iConstruct, a local event in Fareham that included students from schools across the area. The event involved an invented scenario where all construction/demolition trades would need to come together to complete a new hospital for the Solent area. The schoolchildren were required to interview the different companies present and gather information for a presentation they would give to judges. Our Health and Safety team and one of our directors took part, including helping to judge.
Development actions also cover our employees. As mentioned above, demolition is a male-dominated industry, but women are moving through the ranks in the industry as a whole and at Hughes and Salvidge. Our Board of Directors is made up of men and women equally, and we have women running our Environmental Department, our Accounts team, and our Business Development and Marketing Department. All these women are Portsmouth-based.
Tell us, what does supporting Pamodzi mean to you?
Hughes and Salvidge strive to support local causes, initiatives, and charities, and are keen to see the organisation achieve important things in supporting the women of Portsmouth, and beyond.
Pamodzi Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards are thrilled to welcome Dr Alisha Damani not only as an award sponsor but also as a Trailblazer for 2023.
Are you looking to take your performance to the next level? Look no further than the High Efficiency Club. Led by Dr. Alisha Damani, a Medical Doctor, High Performance Coach, TEDx Speaker and Wellness Entrepreneur, the High Efficiency Club is the revolutionary new hub for high performing leaders, entrepreneurs and individuals looking to raise the bar.
“At the High Efficiency Club, we believe that empowered health is the catalyst for exponential performance. We help our members achieve an elite level of performance both personally and professionally through the art and science of health-for-high-performance. The next level is where we *begin*, and we aim to shoot far beyond the moon.” Dr Alisha Damani.
Dr. Damani is dedicated to delivering talks and workshops on empowered wellbeing and high performance across local community groups and hospitals in Portsmouth. She is also teaming up with other inspirational women of Portsmouth to deliver the community's first doctor-led business event - how to get more done in less time without burning yourself or your team to the ground. This event will be focused on how to quadruple your outputs by getting off the hamster wheel- driven through the foundations of health and performance: The High Efficiency Club.
Dr. Damani's passion for giving back is also evident in her support of Pamodzi, an organisation focused on empowering women of today and tomorrow. Dr. Damani believes that by demonstrating to our future leaders what's possible when a community of female leaders come together, we can create a brighter future for all.
Dr. Damani is no stranger to overcoming burnout and reinventing herself. She has had to let go of and re-create her identity, her career and her profession. But through it all, she has learned to trust in her unique journey and to understand who she is authentically. She inspires to grow and change, and embraces that change is the only constant.
Dr. Damani's inspiration comes from her NHS team, who serve with compassion, love and support her in all her work. If she could have one inspirational dinner guest, past or present, it would be Arianna Huffington.
Thank you so much to Dr Alisha Damani for sponsoring the Established Business Award.
Follow Dr Alisha Damani:
Pamodzi would love to introduce you to Hannah Murray, founder of Beautiful Mind Coaching, one of our award sponsors.
As a Mental Health professional with a wealth of experience and knowledge in refocusing client mindsets, Hannah Murray is committed to supporting individuals conquer their own stresses & refocus them in a positive direction.
After experiencing her own Mental Health challenges in her 20's, Hannah decided to use what she had leant and experienced to build a support service which enabled her to aid others to do the same. The benefits of a support service for Hannah were invaluable, at the most vulnerable point of her life.
As an experienced coach, Hannah aids others to feel in control of their minds. Coaching is tailored to each client and offers access to the tools that enable us to become focused with confidence; stay positive and manage stress easier.
Whether you're looking to move forward positively, increase wellness, build self-confidence or reduce stress; Coaching can support your Mindset in a number of areas, such as; Anxiety, low mood, loss of identity, Trauma, overthinking, stress etc gaining an understanding for the elements of your life which contribute to the feeling of overwhelm; mind drama, triggers, judgement, relationships, trauma etc whilst building mindfulness in as a direction of positive change. Mindset is everything.
Hannah believes anyone can gain the tools to control their mind but sometimes starting the journey of understanding you and processing emotions is the hardest part.
“As a coach, I guide & support our community to get their mindset to where they want to be. I am currently supporting our community by offering 1:1 Coaching, Workshops and Corporate support which is tailored to individual needs” Hannah Murray
Hannah also offers Mental Health 101 Corporate Workshops to businesses with the intention of exploring the high profile topics linked to Mental Health such as: stress, negativity in the workplace, conflict, confidence, overwhelm, behaviours, effective communication and Mental Health Red Flags etc. By sharing professional techniques & strategies, she enables others to feel more confident in supporting others in the workplace and encourages positive conversation; building a wider awareness of Mental Health.
With her 1:1 Coaching sessions Hannah works to dive deep and explore their mindset. Unleashing true vibrancy and creating a sense of calm. As an experienced coach, she aids & supports others to feel more in control of their minds; offering protected time to talk, building personal empowerment, self awareness and understanding.
Despite living in an increasingly high pressure world, all of us, no matter the environment, should all have access to the tools that enable us to become focused with confidence, more positive and less stressed.
Hannah is thrilled to be supporting Pamodzi in 2023,
“Pamodzi is about Celebrating together. Celebrating the amazing women who have made a commitment and are passionate about making a difference in our community. To improve so many areas of our society, paving the way for the younger generations to know that celebrating each other is positive, it's powerful, it’s inspiring & our community its never about comparing, it's about working together!” Hannah Murray
Many of the Pamodzi Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Award Nominees have overcome many challenges in life, challenges that often contribute to the creation of their projects, community work and businesses. Hannah’s biggest challenge in life, was hitting Mental Health crisis (suicidal). Her teenage years and early 20s were dark. She was impacted by the opinions and judgements of others . Hannah was very fortunate to grow up in a supportive, caring & loving home environment, my safe haven but it was all the other external factors that contributed to her feelings of self disapproval & hate; teachers, peers, friends, colleagues etc. Hannah built a false understanding of herself because who she wanted to be wasn't enough for people. She wasn’t understood and was shamed for who she wanted to be. Hannah feared being a disappointment and being unliked.
When Hannah hit crisis she needed Mental Health treatment. It was that support & encouragement by professionals that made her realise that she wanted to do the same for others. Hannah started her career in NHS and subsequently, her coaching service because she wanted to become the role model that she needed, Hannah wanted to support others with self development and wanted others to know that if you are willing to do the hard work, there are strategies to aid a consistent positive mindset. Hannah wants to show everyone that we have bad days, but it doesn’t mean we have a bad life!
Personally for Hannah, self development is on-going. It has taught her the true power of vulnerability. It has developed authentic happiness in her life and strengthened her resilience. It has allowed Hannah to feel free & confident to be herself, and it has taught her the beauty that is experience; it is in those times of challenge that we grow stronger.
We asked Hannah who inspires her,
“I am inspired by many people. Our community is full of inspirational people who shine in their own right. Everyone comes with a story & it is their power to live despite their adversity that inspires me. I am so honoured and proud to be supporting a platform that celebrates how inspiring someone is. Roni & the Team have done such an amazing job at creating a successful, transparent, honest arena, highlighting the need to break society's stereotypes and finally celebrate the great women we have in our community!”
We asked Hannah who would be her most inspirational dinner guest past or present,
“It would be Amelia Earhart who wasn't afraid to break down barriers. She was the first woman to fly as a passenger across the Atlantic Ocean. Then, she became the first woman to pilot a plane across that ocean. There weren't many female pilots back then, and her actions inspired other women to follow their dreams.”
Thank you so much to Hannah for being such a supporter of Pamodzi and sponsoring the Community Activism & Volunteering award.
Pamodzi Creatives is proud to announce Biscoes Law as one of our Event Sponsors of the Pamodzi Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards. The Pamodzi Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards event takes place on Friday 10th March 2023 at Portsmouth Guildhall showcasing the creative talent and inspirational women within our community.
Alison Lee of Biscoes, one of the event sponsors, was born in Portsmouth and apart from university, she has lived here all her life. Alison loves being part of this city, especially the Royal Naval connections due to her father serving in the Falklands war.
As the first in her family to go to university, Alison started her legal career in a small Portsmouth law firm based in Southsea and qualified as a solicitor in 1994. The firm has been through many changes, but she never left and in 2015 became the firm MD. Since she took that role, the firm has more than doubled its turnover and now employs 150 local people.
Alison has always believed it's important to try and make a difference. As such, Alison volunteers her time as a chair of trustees of Pompey in the Community, The Guildhall Trust and as a director of Shaping Portsmouth. She is also a director of a national network of 73 law firms called Law Net UK. Alison has also mentored the girls’ network; giving young women from whatever background the belief they can achieve great things with belief and determination is something she is passionate about. Her firms’ board is mostly women, and she believes diversity in leadership makes for the best business outcomes. Her motto is ‘always treat people as you would want to be treated’.
Pamodzi caught up with Alison to ask her about why she wanted to be involved:
As you know Pamodzi is all about bringing people together to celebrate the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth and the positive impact they have on their community so tell us about the activities you are doing to empower women in Portsmouth?
Well, our firm employs probably more women than it does men would say probably it does. Even at our board level, where we're top-heavy in terms of women directors, so empowering women has been something I've been quite passionate about all my life. As a comprehensive school-educated girl, I've achieved a law degree and more recently a business degree. I think that people can achieve whatever they set their minds on with the right encouragement and support.
Tell me, what does supporting Pamodzi mean to you?
Well, I met Roni Edwards about five, or six years ago. She is a very inspirational woman. and told me the story of how she happened upon the idea for the awards. There was this sense that Portsmouth women were kind of berated I suppose outside of Portsmouth, and sometimes inside Portsmouth. We have some fantastic women here, creative women, businesswomen, and women that do a massive amount for the community. It was inspiring to me that this was being celebrated and after attending the first awards, I just fell for it hook line and sinker. For a couple of years (during the pandemic) they were online which made it difficult to try and create the same in-person atmosphere. Last year, however, the event was held at the Royal Maritime Club and sold out quickly but this year, I just think it's going to go up several notches through being hosted at the Guildhall. I'm a trustee of the Guildhall trust so, I know that they will do their best to make it a fantastic event. It just gives an opening for the creative side of the event itself where there's lots of dance and lots of activity going so it should be phenomenal.
Many of the nominees of the Pamodzi Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards have overcome many a challenge which has inspired them to do what they do. What challenges have you had to overcome and what has it taught you?
It is a challenge to do the role that I do. I qualified as Solicitor in 1994 and sadly it's not uncommon for female solicitors to drop out of the profession. I think when I joined the profession, about 40% dropped out 10 years after qualifying, partly because they just couldn't get promotions and weren't seen as future leaders of firms. So, I didn't set my heart on being the managing director of my firm, but I continued to work hard at what I did and just developed a leadership voice within that sector. I became the managing director of my firm, but I'm also a director at a national organisation called Law Net, which represents 73 good-quality law firms across the country. Recently I had an invite from Barclays Bank where I go to a professional lunch, and I was the only female in the room so it's still hard to see progression within my profession. I think that's probably common across a lot of professional services professions and therefore I'm very passionate about making sure that we're bringing on the next generation to see themselves as future leaders.
Who inspires you?
Well, Roni inspires me all the time. I also have the great pleasure of being a trustee at Pompey in the community and Clare Martin, who's the CEO there probably has been a trailblazer before she received a Lifetime Achievement Award, I think at the last event. Every time I go into the place it just fills me with joy what we achieved there. We're in the middle of building a community football stadium in Copnor now so now that's part of that. But Clare for me is inspirational and I did nominate her for an MBE which she got last year, in the Queen's honours list. It was the last one of the Queen's honours lists so you know, that was a great achievement.
Who would be your most inspirational dinner guest past or present?
When I've thought about this, I think the people that I would really love to have met who have both passed away now will be either Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.
Pamodzi Creatives is proud to announce SLR Recruitment as one of our Event Sponsors of the Pamodzi Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards.
What are the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Project ? Now in its fifth year, this project is a wonderful celebration of the women and girls of Portsmouth and includes a podcast series, story-telling projects and the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards that mark International Women’s Day. The event will also raise money for Endometriosis South Coast. You can nominate who inspires you through the nomination form on this link .
Tickets for the Award event due to be held at The Guildhall on Friday 10 March are available through Eventbrite. and include a drinks reception, three course meal and entertainment.
We want to introduce you to two of the Trailblazers who form the selection panel that determines the final award recipients.
Introducing Cheryl Buggy Cheryl is the Chair and Co-Founder of Express FM, which is one of the longest-running community radio stations in the country.
Her career includes; teaching, broadcasting, writing, creating and delivering personal development programmes that span from primary school-aged children to CEO's of international companies.
She is a published and respected author of two non-fiction books that are about the topics of Memory Techniques and Emotional Intelligence. She is now currently trying to finish writing her first novel on the theme of Women and Liberation.
Cheryl has also been a Gosport Town Councillor, President of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, a Portsmouth City Councillor and the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth.
What links these experiences is a love and passion for communicating, sharing knowledge and helping people be all that they want and can be. This is enforced by the fact that Cheryl is a proud mother of two sons and has three delightful grandchildren.
Introducing Gloria Miller Gloria is a creative who uses the mediums of words, music and truth.
Originally from Chicago, Illinois she was born in 1966 and was the youngest in a family of six siblings. Her household was always filled with music, mostly Gospel, with 60s Soul and 70s Funk which would later go on to define who Gloria would become as an Artist.
Her parents instilled in her the importance of putting God first in your life and getting an education. For most of her young life, Gloria was an above-average student who received top marks all the way through high school. When she transferred schools in 1982 and
landed at Jones Commercial H.S., it was there that she developed a deep love of words under the tutelage of her English teacher, Mr. Tryba. It was around this time that Gloria started writing songs.
Up to this point, she had been singing in Gospel choirs and groups performing on the circuit with the likes of The Hawkins Family, The Clark Sisters and Commissioned.
Upon graduating from High School in 1984, Gloria started working in Corporate America in commercial lending for many of the leading banks in Chicago. While earning money, she was also investing in her music and in 1989 she released her four-song cassette album, He Loves Me on Perky Records, her own label. With this release, she was pursuing a recording contract within Contemporary Christian Music, while performing at various Christian events around the country. In 1994, Gloria was signed by Les LaMotte to Heaven’s Eyes Records, and she released her first full album, Forever With You in 1995.
In 1996 Gloria made a career change moving from commercial lending to marketing, first at a bank and then for a marketing agency. Though she had landed the ‘dream’ job, she still had her eye on doing something with her music. After three of the most stressful years of her life, Gloria auditioned for Disney and was offered a job at Disney Cruise Line.
In April 1999 Gloria moved to Orlando, Florida and worked a part-time job until her ship contract started in November. That was the first of seven ship contracts. She did two with Disney then went on to work for Royal Caribbean for two contracts starting in 2003. Her last three contracts were with Celebrity Cruises with the last one finishing in 2007.
Gloria was a featured singer in the production shows as well as a Guest Entertainer performing solo with the full orchestra for either the Welcome Aboard or Farewell shows. Her years of cruising took her all over the world and performing seven contracts worth of shows fine-tuned her vocal performance and stage presence.
Upon leaving Celebrity, Gloria moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin into the house she bought from her parents. It was there that she formed a jazz quartet and performed all around Milwaukee in venues, restaurants and hotels. In 2008, Gloria started writing for her next album release, but this time she would be switching genres to Jazz.
While working a temp job by day Gloria was gigging and squeezing in studio time by night. By the beginning of Summer, 2009 she had finished the album. Before she could set the release date her ex-boyfriend unexpectedly came back into her life after a four-year breakup, and he proposed!
By the end of June, Gloria was engaged, and by November, she was married to Neal Austin, the love of her life. Somehow while planning a wedding and a move to England, Gloria released her 2nd full album release, Let Go, in 2010.
After settling into her new life on the South Coast of England, Gloria started performing solo shows at restaurants, allowing her to build up a reputation and do private shows. The more she performed, the more doors opened for her leading to work with various bands performing at festivals and venues across the UK. By 2012, Gloria had so many booking requests coming through that she started farming out the gigs to her performer friends. When she made Artist recommendations to the Foodies Festival organizers for several of their events, they asked if she could book all the entertainment for all their festivals the following year.
That was how Gloria Miller Entertainment Ltd started. With a major corporate client. Gloria went on to work with Foodies Festival for three years. By the time the agency closed in 2020, Gloria had built a viable talent agency representing over 50 entertainers. While running her business, Gloria also performed tribute shows to Diana Ross, Tina Turner and Whitney Houston. She also did Motown Nights as well as functions with her own band, Move On Up.
During this period Gloria performed at the Isle of Wight, Wickham, Victorious and Ice Breaker Festivals, The Concorde Club, County Shows around the country, as well as supporting slots for The Real Thing and Craig Charles.
Gloria still found time to write songs during this time and in 2019-2020 she released eight singles to critical acclaim, with thousands of listens on Spotify. It had been so long since Gloria performed her own music, and it was daunting putting herself back out there. She was starting to do more original music gigs when Covid 19 struck.
When Gloria was able to resume live shows, she collaborated with long-time music partner, Frankie Lewis, and in October 2021 she performed her first show since the Pandemic as Frankie & Glo performing a supporting slot at The Gaiety in Southsea. That performance led to her being offered a weekly residency at The Gaiety from January to June 2022.
As with most people, the pandemic changed Gloria in many ways. In May 2021 she was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder leading her to slow down and learn the value of self-care.
Another change was the desire to just perform as herself. After years of stepping into the shoes of others, she was now ready to put her own music out there through solo and duo performances as Frankie & Glo. This has proven to be therapeutic and rewarding.
Currently, Gloria volunteers at Express FM presenting Music for the Soul Radio Show. She is also a Trustee with Tonic Music for Mental Health and has worked with Read Easy Portsmouth and Alzheimer’s Society on community events.
Gloria is in the process of recording her next studio album to be released in early 2023 and she will be touring in the Summer of 2023.
You can find her on Facebook @ gloriamiller66 on Instagram @ gloriamillermusic and her website is gloriamiller.co.uk if you are looking for more information about her.
Thank you so much to our two Inspirational Trailblazers, we really do appreciate all your help with choosing the recipients for the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Award. If you, our readers, would like to know more about the award please head on over to our website by clicking here.
Special thanks to the Headline Sponsors Denholm Industrial Services and Hughes & Salvidge.
Special thanks to venue sponsors Guildhall Portsmouth and Event Sponsors SLR Recruitment & Biscoes Solicitors
Confirmed Award Sponsors Include The High Efficiency Club, Express FM, The Beautiful Minds Coach, TLC Hair, The Female Creative, Linguistica Translation & Recruitment, NEU Portsmouth, Phoenix Photography.
Special thanks to event supporters Shaping Portsmouth & Claire's Floristry
Special thanks to Liberty Photography and Delivered Social for their launch event support.
Lead Author : Kelly Marie Baker
Kelly-Marie is a tree loving, free spirited mum of two. Based in Southsea, she leads her family on a Home Education journey, learning from life and the world around them. Over the years her creative soul has been fed with the likes of poetry, dance, choreography and, more recently, writing. Her writing is predominantly focused on personal growth and development with a special interest in using the platform to challenge social norms and provoke deep thought. Kelly believes that The Arts are an immensely important tool to communicate complex and delicate issues and is proud to be collaborating with Pamodzi Creatives. Kelly’s favourites are nature, travel, personal development and coffee…all the coffee!