Working mothers in the frame for business prize

Pictured from left are Dr Chintha Dissanayake of Oxford Psychometrics, Christine McRitchie of Earthwise Trading Ltd and Tina Marshall, managing director of Enchanted Marketing

Pictured from left are Dr Chintha Dissanayake of Oxford Psychometrics, Christine McRitchie of Earthwise Trading Ltd and Tina Marshall, managing director of Enchanted Marketing Buy this photo

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Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

OXFORDSHIRE’S top working mothers went in front of the camera this week as they took a step closer to being crowned Business Mother of the Year.

On Tuesday, the 25 shortlisted candidates each filmed a one-minute video encouraging people to vote for them.

The award, sponsored by the Oxford Mail, is part of the county’s first NatWest Venus Awards, which recognises the area’s top businesswomen.

Seven-months pregnant Tina Marshall, already mother to 19-month-old Toby, was one of the first to be recorded.

Director of marketing consultancy firm Enchanted Marketing, Mrs Marshall founded the business in January.

The Witney resident said: “I was in corporate marketing, but when I finished my maternity leave I also left my job. It was a lifestyle and I couldn’t do the travel and hours involved any more.

“I’m extremely career-driven and having my son didn’t change that but it’s added something to the list.”

“I work from home so my son has all of my time. When I need to go to meetings one of his grandmothers looks after him.

“It means that he will grow up with the right role model and I can be there for him as much as possible. I want him to have respect for women.”

Mrs Marshall, who lives with her husband Roland, added: “These awards are wonderful and really brilliant, but I feel a little bit sad that we still need them.

“We shouldn’t still be in an age where women who work need special recognition, but we absolutely are.”

For mum-of-four Christine McRitchie, being a parent and being a business owner are not so different.

The 42-year-old, mum to Ellie, 16, Rebecca, 14, Lucy, 13, and Victoria, 11 said: “There are a lot of lessons from being a parent that I apply to being in business for yourself.

“You’ve got to be organised, prioritise, delegate anything you can, and you’ve got to really love it.

“If you don’t care you won’t succeed.”

Her women’s products company – Earthwise Trading – only came about by being a mum.

Mrs McRitchie, who lives in Long Wittenham, near Didcot, said: “At one point I had four kids under the age of six and I bought nappies from a company which went bust.

“I thought I had nothing to lose so decided to buy it and run with it.”

Another nominee, chartered occupational psychologist Dr Chintha Dissanayake, is managing director of Oxford Psychometrics. The Stadhampton mum-of-two – a son aged 16 and daughter, 13 – undertook an MA in Employment Relations and Law and graduated with her then baby daughter in her arms.

Judges at the Mail will look at the completed videos over the next few days and whittle the shortlist down to the top 10 contestants.

Their videos will then go online on Wednesday, September 17, when members of the public will be able to vote for the overall winner, who will then attend a ceremony in Sutton Coldfield on November 14.

There were 33 women from across Oxfordshire who were nominated by friends, family and colleagues. There are 15 categories in the competition, including Business of the Year, Business Woman of the Year, Inspirational Woman and Lifetime Achievement.

The videos will be available to watch and vote on at oxfordmail.co.uk

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