Bridget is a social entrepreneur and the founder of dream on and The Blossom Charity. She has lived in Suffolk for the majority of her adult life. Bridget is passionate about bringing out the best in people and providing the support and encouragement to others that she has had through her life.
Read below to find out more about her incredible story
Bridget set up dream on in 2010. It is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which means that all the profits go back into the business to help people. The shop exists as Bridget believes that we can reflect who are by how we dress. Our clothes and image can boost our confidence. Bridget loves individuality and encourages people to be true to themselves. When she was at work or in business, it would have been easy to follow others and wear traditional work clothes of a suit or similar, but as a lover of style and fashion, she wanted to be herself, and use what she wore to create the impression of her true self – especially as 93% of a first impression is visual.
Bridget saw that the social enterprise model (CIC) was a way of using the money made from our clothes and styling service to help others - supporting people to be their best by offering coaching, training & makeover days.
Bridget has had a varied business career which culminated in her becoming the CEO of an insurance company and be one of only sixteen women to be a FTSE 100 executive director. Her career started at Ensors in Ipswich where she had a placement during her university course. After gaining her degree she joined Willis & started her first job as a trainee accountant. She qualified & spent the first ten years of her career working in many different businesses varying from car manufacturing to book publishing, from radar development to consulting. She gained a broad understanding of business and financial management.
She found that she worked well with people. She had positive energy and enthusiasm that helped people achieve what might feel impossible goals. Bridget’s career continued to progress. She discovered she both loved leading and she could inspire people to follow. She moved to work at Norwich Union (now known as Aviva) in financial services. She started as finance manager and her career in financial services culminated at RSA where she was UK CEO. She planned her career moves carefully. She knew in 2008 that the corporate world, whilst having been a huge part of her life, wasn’t where she wanted to spend all of her time. She wanted to stay connected with it but also wanted to set up a business devoted to women ….the start of dream on and make a business plan she had written some 7 years earlier a reality
Bridget was awarded an MBE by the Queen for her services to charity in the 2020 New Year’s honours list.
Bridget was also appointed as the High Sheriff of Suffolk in the 2020/21 year. The role of High Sheriff is a non-political role & dates back more than 1000 years. The role has evolved over time - the history dating back to Saxon times used to include the maintenance of law & order & to return taxes & revenues due to the Crown. The primary role now is to represent the Queen in areas of justice & law & order. The office is an unpaid role without an expenses budget.
Due to the Covid pandemic, Bridget’s tenure was unusual as the lockdown meant she was unable to visit many people in the early months. However, she adapted quickly and has had many insightful meetings online with many different organisations. She has a particular interest in understanding diversity and the issues and challenges faced by those in minority groups. She has made it her mission to be anti-racist rather than simply being not racist, and feels many people and companies can do more to stand up against racism. She has learnt that one of the issues is that people don’t listen to each other enough thereby understanding others’ perspective. She has also learnt much about how the justice system works and domestic violence.
Today Bridget has a life of variety. As founder of dream on & the Blossom Charity, she works with the team setting the plans for the business, helping with workshops and offers coaching to women. She stays connected to the business world through non-executive director roles in East Anglia with Adnams, Jarrold and Notcutts.
When not working Bridget finds time to be creative, painting, sculpting, spending time with her family and grandchildren and helping out where she can at her local community church. And oooh …she is always in training – this time for a long distance cycle ride. She loves the outdoors and enjoys spending time walking in the countryside.