International Women's Day 2024: The Wonderful Women of Mountview

This International Women’s Day, we asked members of our community to nominate a woman with a connection to Mountview and tell us why they find them inspiring.

Dr Jan Etienne, Fellow at Birkbeck and Mountview alum

“I met Jan when she was on the Stage Management pathway and I was on the Performance pathway at Mountview. We were both teenagers, studying part-time. Jan is a softly spoken but highly influential figure in academia, particularly in her area of research into conditions and opportunities for black women.”

Amy Barber, Student Welfare Manager

“Amy has that rare and wonderful talent of making everyone around her feel safe and good about themselves. She’s so cool, has a great sense of humour and embodies a real spirit of altruism. An all-round wonder woman!”

Maria Askew, Head of Theatre for Community and Education

“Maria is one of those very rare people whose presence makes every space she enters a brighter and more comfortable place to be. Maria’s work, and her way of moving in the world, is infused with deep compassion, admirable self-awareness and stimulating creative insights. I find myself inspired by her gratefully and often.”

Sachi Kimura, Senior Movement Tutor

“Sachi exudes warmth and positivity. She is a sparkling light in the staff office. Sachi is an incredible practitioner who delivers sessions with depth, intelligence and instinct, which get brilliant results from the students. She is also remarkable for juggling being a mum and giving so much to her role at Mountview. What a legend!”

Sterre Maier, Head of Voice

“Everyone needs a Sterre in their corner! She will always speak up and back you up when needed. She is amazing at juggling having a new baby and still being so present and positive at work. You know that if you have a group of her students that they will have a strong foundation in voice work and you can build on that learning. I am always inspired by her kindness, her ability to speak her mind and how fiercely and passionately she speaks about Voice. She is also generous with bringing in pastries and snacks which is outstanding management!”

Vanessa Abreu, Senior Dance Tutor

“In every situation she presents a calm and considered approach. She inspires me daily with her independence in life and with the ability to be engaged and proactive with everyone in the community.”

Ada Kalu, Programme Management Administrator

“I think Ada is a strong, confident and bright woman who is always authentically herself. She inspires me every day to be the best version of myself.”

Rachel Bagshaw, Artistic Director of the Unicorn Theatre and Mountview alum

“Unicorn Theatre’s Artistic Director Rachel Bagshaw is a true trailblazer, not only in her many bold and beautiful productions, but in her constant championing of disabled artists and passionate promotion of better accessibility within the industry.”

Teni Matian, Senior Producer (Short Courses)

“Teni always gives me the impression that she does not take anything for granted. I can tell she is truly grateful for everything in her life. Her sense of gratitude is life-affirming.”

The Admissions Team (Harriet Downing, Susannah Scott and Laura Egginton)

“They are an incredible team and so dedicated to what they do, whether that be organising auditions across the country, making auditions accessible to those who are international, or ensuring applicants are supported in anything they need. They are personal in their professionalism. They are genuine in their care. This team is always thoughtful, enthusiastic and joyful. I hope you are lucky enough to work with them or even meet them. I cannot praise them enough.”

Beth Wilson, Student Services Administrator

“Beth will always do her upmost best to help anyone, be they student or staff. She does not realize how valued she is as a member of the Mountview family and deserves to be praised.”

Jac O’Kody, Creative Learning Producer

“Jac’s commitment to intersectional feminism as an artist, activist and educator is palpable. Her enthusiasm and ability to get things done is inimitable!”

Hannah Partington, Ticketing and Welcome Team Manager

“As Ticketing and Welcome Team Manager, Hannah just always takes everything with such happiness and always keeps a smile on her face. She is such an honest, funny, lovely and just all round amazing woman and I am proud to work with her and be able to speak with her. She is so resilient and just straight up so cool.”

Kathy Allman, Scheduling and Planning Manager

“Kathy is an genuine Mountview icon – having worked at Mountview for over 42 years, she has welcomed generations of students both in Wood Green and in Peckham!”

Sally Ann Gritton, Principal

“I’ve never known a woman so inspiring, determined and trailblazing, so passionate about facilitating change and enabling those around her to reach their full potential. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her guidance and support and I very much hope to be even just a little bit like her when I grow up.”

Laura Gabe, Senior Development Manager

“Laura has worked extremely hard over the past year to create an inspiring Patron’s Programme that brings donors closer to Mountview, and helps deliver our mission by raising more money for our activities. As well as designing the programme, she’s had to co-ordinate a huge team of Trustees and staff at every level of the organisation to turn idea into reality. Her work culminated in a joyful event where the Programme was launched with speeches and performances from Mountview Trustees, staff, students and special guests. Our Founding Patrons are now signed up and Laura is already planning the next events to keep Patrons engaged and inspired.”

Vanessa Bunn, Executive Assistant and Participation Manager

“Vanessa is a woman of impeccable integrity with the courage to be herself and with a strong moral compass. She has a passion for social activism and change through the arts and she dedicates herself to her work, applying intelligence, creativity and an unstoppable energy. She is inspiring to young people, her peers and to older colleagues. Her spirit to co-create is contagious and she embodies all that is positive in Mountview’s values.”

Emma Callister-Walmsley, Sales and Events Manager

“Emma is such a positive and joyful member of the office. She is consistently friendly, supportive and welcoming. It’s such a pleasure to share a work space with her, and I hope she knows that all of these wonderful traits never go unnoticed!”