Bridget McIntyre, a former UK chief executive at RSA and non-executive director of newly launched retirement income adviser Chancery Lane, was awarded her MBE this month for services to women.
McIntyre launched her latest venture with one of Nutmeg’s co-founders in July, but has spent the last 11 years growing her own social enterprise.
Called ‘Dream On’, the Suffolk-based community interest company focuses on improving the lives of women, and works in tandem with its linked charity, Blossom.
Both of these operations are now sustainable, according to McIntyre. By generating income through delivering training across corporates and fundraising, the enterprise is helping women who have missed out on education opportunities, as well as single mothers, debt-riddled students, those who have lost their jobs - particularly during Covid-19 - and those trying to catch their break in the entrepreneurial world.
“I was fortunate. I was encouraged. I was given support and training,” McIntyre told FTAdviser.
“What would happen if we gave it to people who never were that fortunate and got those opportunities to get their life to work?”
One woman, who had focused on rearing her four children, came to Blossom feeling lost and unenthused about her career prospects.
But after receiving coaching from the charity, she signed up to an Access to Higher Education Science course and was accepted. She then put together a personal statement for university courses and got interviews, which turned into offers, from both the universities she applied for, having achieved an overall distinction on her access course prior to starting her degree.
“The last thing I wanted to do was set up something which didn’t get results,” said McIntyre.
On her MBE, McIntyre said: “It was a bit of a surprise when I got the letter. The award was really special. You always feel like you’re receiving it for the team.”
Listed on the New Year’s Honours list for 2020, McIntyre has waited until now for her investiture due to pandemic-induced delays.
McIntyre came up with the idea for Dream On at RSA, having joined the insurance provider back in 2005.
As well as coaching and advising women on how to better their careers, the enterprise also delivers complimentary makeover days to women going through Cancer treatment through Blossom.
The charity works with three Cancer centres based out of East Anglia. Corporate training and paid-for makeovers help to fund these makeover days, meaning the operation doesn’t have to rely on grants.
“I wanted to control our destiny,” said McIntyre, who was also high sheriff of Suffolk for a time and currently serves as chairwoman to garden retailer Notcutts.
Chancery Lane, at which McIntyre is a non-executive director, focuses solely on the decumulation phase and securing its clients are regular retirement income.
As part of its investment strategy, Chancery Lane uses investment trusts listed on the London Stock Exchange, which it says gives a consistent level of income while protecting the overall amount of capital.