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!