Success Stories

Since our inception in 2005 Women Making a Difference have trained over 700 women across Wales, empowering them with the skills, ability and confidence to succeed.

We believe it is important to share some of the success stories to encourage other women to achieve their potential. On these pages you will find a series of real women's stories on how they overcame their barriers and achieved the goals that they set for themselves.

All of these women have taken part in the Women Making a Difference training programme.

Katy Stephenson

Katy had an erratic education, being home-schooled until the age of 7, then having moved to different areas of the UK five times in 7 years.  Her family did settle in South Wales when she was 14 years old, but by this point her education had suffered.

After leaving school Katy undertook at Polytechnic diploma in Secretarial Studies with Welsh, sticking to what she believed she was good at.  Having enjoyed learning Welsh she began working as a Welsh speaking secretary.  She moved on to a role at a TV production company, stating that it was much less glamorous than it sounds and was made redundant after 6 years. 

After redundancy Katy began working for ITec, an independent training company but was frustrated and wanted to progress from administration work.  The opportunity arose for her to get involved in the training, and she relished it – becoming an NVQ Assessor and working with young people, many of whom she identified with – as underachievers at school.  “I knew what it was like to not reach your potential in school and it was great to work with similar young people.”

Her work at ITec progressed and she felt pressurised in her position, she found an opportunity at SNAP Cymru, the Special Needs Advisory Project and became their Training Manager.  “It was a fantastic job, brilliant fun – a really lovely team and that is where I came across Engendering Change.”

“I suddenly realised that I was special – in my job I was making a real difference to the lives of other people, I hadn’t recognised that referring them to agencies, sorting their issues in the job centre etc. was campaigning.  I was a community activist!”

Whilst I knew I had been successful in my career undertaking the Engendering Change course really helped to release my potential.  “I suppose I had always lacked confidence because I didn’t have a degree… I’d worked my way up from the bottom – there was nothing special about me.”

Engendering Change had helped Katy to see her strengths and work towards her true goals in life.  She enrolled on a University Course, achieving a Masters in Regeneration and Community Development.

It was around this time that the Director post became vacant in the Development Trust.  With her newfound confidence Katy went for it, and whilst one of her colleagues got the job, Katy was surprised to receive an offer for a Deputy Director position, which had been specifically created for her following her interview.

A role at Groundwork as Executive Director later cropped up.  Katy applied, and much to her surprise got the job. 

“I honestly think that the Engendering Change course gave me the confidence to step up and go for these senior positions, I really don’t think that I would have done this previously.” 

When Katy first started out secretarial work was seen as a lowly female job, and it was hard mould to break out of.  Whilst she does believe that she had some lucky breaks, Katy says it’s important to go for what you want.  Whilst it was tough to start at the bottom and work her way up, Katy truly believes that “it gave me a good grounding, negotiating and communicating with lots of different people, it stood me in good stead.”
Welsh Government            newassembly

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