International Women’s Day 2024

Our motivated Minster women

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we’re once again shining a personal and professional light on some of Minster Micro’s inspirational women. These are a group of seven ladies who each perform different roles here at the company, but all play a collective part in our ongoing success through their dedication and expertise.

The theme of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024 is “Inspire Inclusion” which focusses on inequality, celebrating achievement, and increasing the general visibility of women.

With this year’s theme in mind, we sat down to catch up with our inspirational ladies to ask each one some questions, including around what inclusion means to them. To read the thoughts, views and stories from Susan, Debs, Asantewah, Victoria, Sue, Amy and Karan.


International Women's Day 2024

Susan Marlow - Managing Director

Susan is our widely respected managing director who has been at Minster for over 35 years. A leading female voice internally and also in the media, during her time with Minster Susan has held a number of roles including software engineer, finance director and sales director. She became our MD in 2019.

Hi Susan. Great to have you first up! Let’s start by talking about this special day for women around the world. This year’s IWD is all about understanding, valuing and seeking out better inclusion of women. But what does inclusion mean to you as a professional?

"And it’s great to be here!"

"For me, IT is traditionally a male-dominated industry, and I’ve seen and experienced bias because I am a woman, many times. Now, being the leader of the business, I see it’s a key responsibility to hold everyone to account, and I do that against our values – treat everyone with Respect, act with Integrity at all times, work Together, be Committed to do the best job you can, and show your Verve with energy, compassion and pride."

"We collectively call our values Minster Orange and use them as a benchmark for how well we live by them. Having these values helps us all to feel included. To feel safe in the workplace is vital to me, as everyone should be able to voice their ideas and their concerns without fear of ridicule or reprisal. Minster is the place we spend most of our waking hours, so it is important that all staff feel supported."


That’s a brilliant insight. But what more do you think can be done to improve female inclusion in the workplace?

"I think that by recognising that not everyone is able to work in a traditional 9-5 office environment, it opens the door to a huge pool of talent. Having a diverse and eclectic mix of staff brings so much more to Minster, and helps us not just survive the working week but thrive too. We are a family business at heart, and everyone here calls us the Minster family, which I am very proud of. I hope others can learn from that in some way."


And what is done here at Minster Micro to ensure balance and female inclusion? Are there any examples you can give?

"We are very inclusive, and gender, race, age, religion or ability is never a barrier. I’ve already talked about our Minster values, but I think having values and standards that can be met and measured, which have no bearing on gender, is the way to bring balance and inclusion into a business."

"We have recently mixed up our teams as we ended up with all men on one floor and ladies on the other. Mixing up the genders has changed the dynamics in a really positive way and is helping everyone to understand each other’s challenges. I’ve seen many more examples of reaching out to help colleagues in other areas of the business since this happened, so it’s been a positive move. Change is often seen negatively in businesses, but everyone was very supportive of this move and it has had a very positive impact."


What will you be doing to play your part this year in promoting female achievement, or pushing back against bias or discrimination?

"I am really excited to be a guest speaker at Hereford & Worcester Chambers Women’s Business Forum this summer. My presentation will cover my experience of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. I really hope I can inspire other women out there to believe in themselves and not let barriers to success prevent them from achieving their ambitions. This is my first speaker event, but it won’t be my last. If my story and my journey serve to give one more woman the confidence or inspiration to achieve their goals, then I feel it will be worthwhile."


And finally…it wouldn’t be IWD without asking you which female has inspired you in the past 12 months?

"I have been truly inspired by our business analyst Asantewah this year. She is an incredible lady, and testament to how powerful having focus and determination can be. She relocated to the UK from Ghana a few years ago to undertake her doctorate. She then relocated again from Manchester to ‘sunny’ Kidderminster to join Minster. She has quickly become a much-loved and respected member of our Minster family. There are few people I know who would be prepared to do this, to follow and fulfil your dreams by entering a very male-centric industry such as IT after having a successful career in their homeland. To re-establish herself within this industry where IT has a different orientation and culture in the UK is both brave and inspiring. She is a wonderful woman in so many ways."


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Deb Parton - Business Development Manager

Just completing her first year as part of the Minster family, Deb is our Business Development Manager. Her role is all about exploring new business opportunities, pushing our credentials and ensuring we are actively using not only our social media platforms, but also our CRM systems, networking opportunities and showcasing ourselves at exhibitions.

Hi Deb. Great that you’re taking part in your first Minster IWD Q&A this year! Let’s start by asking what inclusion means to you?

"Thanks, it’s wonderful that we’re doing something meaningful and recognising the ladies here at Minster today. I think for me, inclusion is about ensuring opportunities are available for all, whilst recognising that no one person is the same. Inclusion can be such a powerful thing."


And just moving on from that. What do you think can be done to improve female inclusion?

"To me it’s about creating a long-term culture – a place where diversity and people are respected not just for a tick in the box, but where it’s really part of a company’s values and ways of working."


What do you think is done here at Minster to ensure balance and female inclusion? Is it going in the right direction?

"It’s absolutely in a great place. More than anything, I love the fact that age is not an issue working at Minster. I was worried at 61 I might be seen as too old and unemployable, but Minster never questioned that, instead they were only interested in all the experience I had gained over the years and the benefits this would bring to the company. Take it from me, that’s very rare."


Absolutely. That’s a really strong message. Thinking about IWD specifically, what will you be doing to play your part this year in promoting female achievement, or pushing back against bias or discrimination?

"There’s so much happening and so much people can do. For me, I will continue to listen, observe, and stay informed about various types of bias that can exist so I can help others if I ever see a situation arising. Fortunately, I can’t see that ever happening here at Minster."


And our last question, Deb. Can I ask which female has inspired you in the past 12 months?

"That would be the England Women’s football team manager, Sarina Wiegman. She is one strong, tremendous lady, who went out there and got what she wanted from her team. The Lionesses have inspired so many from young girls to the likes of me!"


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Susanna Asantewah Ofori - Business Analyst

The third member of the Minster ladies to go under this year’s spotlight is Business Analyst, Susanna Asantewah Ofori. Asantewah joined us in May 2023 and, aside from inspiring our MD Susan, she also leads digital transformation and change initiatives on Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership – a project between ourselves and Birmingham City University.

It’s great to have you here Asantewah, and like Deb, you are taking part for the first time. As we’ve discussed with Susan and Deb, this year’s IWD is about understanding, valuing and seeking out better inclusion of women. But what does inclusion mean to you?

"For me, inclusion is about creating and maintaining an environment where everyone feels valued, respected and treated equally, regardless of sex, age, race, religion or abilities. It’s also a place where everyone feels safe and free to share ideas, raise concerns and suggest improvements."


That’s a great way to look at inclusion. However, what more do you think can be done to improve female inclusion in the workplace?

"There are so many options available and perhaps there isn’t a one size fits all approach. The introduction of an inclusive culture that facilitates representation at all levels, flexible work patterns that promote work-life balance, equal pay and benefits, and regular diversity and inclusion training for all employees. Somewhere which covers each of those is a great place to be."


Even though you’ve only been at Minster a relatively short time, what in your view is being done here to ensure balance and female inclusion?

"Minster is without a doubt an equal opportunities employer. There is female representation in the leadership team, flexible work arrangements in place, an effective employee work-life balance, and fair treatment of everyone. It’s a hugely inclusive place."


And what will you be doing this year to promote female achievement, or pushing back against bias or discrimination?

"I plan to keep pushing the things I believe in. I am an ongoing advocate for equal opportunities and someone who wants to amplify women’s voices. I also want to participate in gender equality initiatives, female mentorship and sponsorship, challenge stereotypes, biased language and behaviour, and celebrate the achievements of women in all fields. That’s a lot to be getting on with, but all so important!"


And onto our final question which we’re also asking everyone. Which women has inspired you over the past 12 months?

"That has to be our very own MD, Susan Marlow. This is for her focus on growing Minster as a brand, her ongoing mission to promote efficiency in customers’ business operations, her drive for innovation, and her support for employees’ wellbeing inside and outside of the workplace. She is an inspiration to us all."


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Victoria Slinger - Finance Team Leader

Next up in our IWD Q&A series this year is Victoria Slinger. Vic has been with Minster for almost six years and joined in a part-time administrative assistant role. She has since progressed through a variety of roles to her current position of Finance Team Leader. In her role, she deals with credit control, stock, accounts payable and new orders.

Hi Vic. The year comes around quickly! Now everyone knows what you do here at Minster, perhaps we can start with getting your views on what inclusion means to you as a female professional?

"Hi everyone! I think it’s an easy question to answer. To me, inclusion means everyone being equal and their thoughts and ideas for the business being taken as seriously as any other colleagues."


And moving on to a slightly different angle, what more do you think can be done to improve female inclusion in the workplace?

"I think flexible working to accommodate children at school is a great idea. Being able to work from home during school holidays or when your child is at home poorly is also an option many people benefit from too."

I feel that when a company sees that an employee has outside commitments, and offers flexibility to accommodate this, then they gain a very loyal employee in return. This is a move which encourages more women to join the workplace, not feeling that they are having to choose.


You’ve been at Minster since 2018. What do you see being done here to ensure balance and female inclusion?

"I think Susan is really leading from the top. She is a strong business leader, as well as an engineer, so she can deal with all aspects of the business herself. It’s a huge strength and she really is the driving force behind our success."


Susan is referenced a lot this year which is great! Just moving on to the next question, what will you be doing to play your part this year in promoting female achievement, or pushing back against bias or discrimination?

"I’ll be doing more to support the women around me, at work and in my personal life. Encouraging them to do what makes them happy and to achieve their goals and dreams is also something I’ll continue to do. Women should encourage and support each other, not put them down when they see someone doing well."


And the last question…it wouldn’t be IWD without asking you which female has inspired you in the past 12 months?

"Even though there have been many women who have inspired me, the one who has inspired me the most is my 11-year-old daughter, Orlaith."

"She doesn’t see any limits to what she can achieve and has never thought she couldn’t do something because she is a girl. Last year she asked if she could sit the exam for a local school for their Academic Scholarship. I brought her some workbooks and all through the summer holiday without having to be told she spent an hour or two most days when either me or her dad was working from home. Anything she didn’t know she asked or went away to watch revision videos and went back to it. She sat the exam, very calmly with a “what will be, will be” attitude. Out of 200 girls she came 11th and has been offered a place. As I have said to her, she did that, she achieved that all by herself. She inspires me to work for my goals as I want her to see that I am as driven and determined as she is and for her to see that all this hard work does achieve your goals."



Sue Parkes - Administrator

Next up is Sue Parkes who is an Administrator here at Minster Micro, and one of our longest serving employees having been part of the Minster family for 14 years.

Hi Sue, great you can join us again this year for IWD. As you know, IWD 2024 is all about understanding, valuing, and seeking out better inclusion of women. But what does inclusion mean to you?

"It’s fab being involved again this year and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s answers too. But to give a brief answer on this one, inclusion to me means for everyone in the workplace, and outside of the workplace, to share responsibilities and treat everyone as equal."


And generally, what more can be done to improve female inclusion in the workplace?

"I think it needs both genders to respect each other all the time. I have to say we are very lucky at Minster that this is the case, but I know it is not the same everywhere which is a shame, but not surprising."


What is done here at Minster Micro to ensure balance and female inclusion? Does the company do it well?

"Minster has a female Managing Director and other female team leaders which is good to see. It’s also inspiring for younger females to see that when they join the business."


And what will you be doing to play your part this year in promoting female achievement, or pushing back against bias or discrimination?

"I won’t be doing anything different to what I normally do, as I’m a big advocate for treating everyone with respect."


And finally Sue…we’re asking everyone which female has inspired you in the past 12 months? Is there one person which stands out?

"One would definitely be Mary Earps, the England women’s goalkeeper and also, not to forget, BBC Sports Personality of the Year - how amazing is she as an advocate for women’s sport!"

"I would also include my 12-year-old granddaughter, Hallie, who has taken up running. She recently ran the Junior Great North Run and came 8th which is an amazing achievement, but the fact she ran it in memory of her baby brother and wanting to raise £200 just shows what a formidable young lady she is. She went on to raise £722 and has also come 1st in the West Midlands school Cross Country Championship. I am super proud of her."


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Amy Mobbs - Senior Account Manager

Our sixth inspirational Minster woman to take part in our Q&A is Amy Mobbs. Amy has been a key part of Team Minster since 2004 when she joined as an administrator for the engineering and finance team. She then progressed into sales administration and from there was soon promoted again to the sales account management team in her current role as Senior Account Manager.

Hi Amy. Great to see you! Let’s start by asking about this year’s IWD. As you know, it’s all about understanding and valuing far better inclusion of women. Inclusion means different things to different people, what does it mean to you?

"Thanks for inviting me along, I’m chuffed to be involved as it’s something I know not every company does. I think for me, inclusion means that people respect each other regardless of race or gender. It’s also about giving everyone an opportunity to succeed and thrive in a safe environment where they are truly valued."


Those are themes we’ve seen in lots of answers which is great. To you, what more do you think can be done to improve female inclusion in the workplace?

"I think that’s an easy one. Simply, people should be accepted for who they are – whether that be race or religion, or how they stand up for equality and diversity."


Turning to life here at Minster. What do you think is done to ensure balance and female inclusion?

"I have honestly never seen or felt Minster to be anything but inclusive, and I don’t think they would employ based on gender either. People are given opportunities to thrive and it is up to the individual to succeed. That’s why, as some might also have said, it’s such a special place to be."


It really is a special place to be. We’ve now got to the final question which seems to be everyone’s favourite. Can you tell us which female has inspired you in the past 12 months?

"Without a doubt it has to be Katie Piper. She has inspired me over the last few years to overcome everything she has and have the strength to go on TV and be present every day. The emotional and physical battle she has overcome is testament to her strength and resilience."



Karan Harris - Contracts Manager

Our seventh and final wonderful Minster woman is Contracts Manager Karan Harris. Karan is another one of our longest serving employees having been with Minster for 24 years. As Contracts Manager, she looks after contracts, licences, renewals, billing, prices and costings. She also works with our sales team.

Hi Karan. You’re last up in our IWD series this year and have the honour of concluding things! Let’s start by discussing this year’s IWD. Today is all about valuing and seeking out better inclusion of women. But what does inclusion mean to you?

"I’ve loved reading everyone’s answers - some really inspiring stories and I’m thrilled to be involved. I suppose for me, working in a predominately male dominated industry, I would like to see more women enter the industry and work in software and engineering roles. There is a need for businesses to promote women more and allow integration. Our very own MD, Susan, was a software engineer and broke the mold."


With that in mind, what more so you think can be done to improve female inclusion?

"There’s lots to be done in different areas, but I feel there needs to be more awareness and appreciation of the softer skills women can bring to a business, such as empathy, strong customer interaction and communication."


And looking inwards, how well do you think Minster works to ensure balance and female inclusion?

"As Susan mentioned, at one point we ended up having all men on one floor and women on another. I’m not sure how that happened, but Susan decided to move the departments around, so we now have more of a 50/50 split. By doing this it has allowed us to have a better understanding of what each other does and what makes the wheels of the business go round. Everyone seems to have a better appreciation for everyone else’s roles."


Turning back to you, what will you be doing to play your part this year in promoting female achievement, or pushing back against bias?

"I’ll be ensuring I let the females in my life, at work and personally, know they can succeed in anything they do with focus, determination and self-belief. I’m behind them all the way, encouraging them to have a voice and encouraging them to let their ideas and suggestions be known. We have healthy debates within the company and plenty of opportunities to discuss. We recognise everyone at Minster plays an important part in the business, from our cleaners and everyone up to Susan."


And the last question of the day and for this year! It’s the favourite question for everyone. So, which female has inspired you in the past 12 months?

"I really admire Dame Judy Dench. Despite having Dyslexia (which a lot of celebrities have) she has overcome any disadvantage and climbed to the top of the acting tree, eventually being awarded the title of Dame Judy. Can you believe she is now 89 and continues to work, which is an amazing feat in itself, and this is despite suffering for many years from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). She still retains her good sense of humour and positivity. I think as we all grow older, we could take a leaf out of her book."

"I also want to mention my daughter, Kiah, who has recently moved to London to work in the legal tech industry. She had some very good grounding having worked at Minster during the summer holidays whilst studying for her degree. She worked on the phones and supported the admin team. I am very proud of her as she is following her dreams."


The answers from our wonderful Minster ladies give just a snapshot of today’s themes as part of International Women’s Day. To learn more about events happening across the world, and for more inspirational stories and insights, please visit the website through

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