Friday 8th of marks International Women’s Day. Meet some of the women on the leadership team at MIDAS, Greater Manchester's Inward Investment Agency who are charged with driving Investment to create new opportunities in our key sectors.  

Rachel Eyre

Rachel Eyre is Head of Inward Investment for Advanced Manufacturing and Low Carbon. 

So, let’s start with your journey, tell us about your career path?  

I joined MIDAS in 2014 as a Business Development Assistant after graduating from the University of Manchester. I then progressed to take the role of Business Development Executive and then Business Development Manager for the Financial and Business Services team, before taking on the role of Head of Advanced Manufacturing and Low Carbon in 2022. 


How has living and working in Greater Manchester helped to nurture your career to this point? 

I think Greater Manchester is a great place to start a career because we have such a vibrant and diverse economy, with many thriving sectors. We're also very lucky to have a really collaborative culture in the city region, which means that people are very open and willing to share experiences and support. I have been able to develop a really strong network within Greater Manchester of inspiring leaders. 


As a leader in Advanced Manufacturing and Low Carbon, what advice do you have for aspiring women leaders looking to make an impact in your sector? 


I am fortunate enough to work alongside some really inspiring women in the Advanced Manufacturing sector, not least my amazing team of Maria and Niamh in the AMLC team at MIDAS. I think it's really important to have self-belief and confidence in your own knowledge and experience. Developing a really strong network is also key to drive forward change in the sector. 


What advice would you give your younger self? 

I would tell my younger self to not compare myself to others and have more confidence in my own knowledge and experience.   ​


Deborah Walker

Deborah Walker is Head of Inward Investment for Financial, Professional and Business Services.

You started working in the industries you now help grow – how did your career start? 

 I actually started my career in import/export and in Trade Finance – originally working for Hong Kong and Shanghai bank. Greater Manchester has its roots in International Trade and commerce – this has led to us being both the largest city region in relation to e-commerce but has also fuelled the exponential growth in finance and payments.  

Our historic roots in trade also helped us to develop our diverse communities that are so vital to our investors – it’s no surprise that across GM we speak more languages, attract so many international students and have such global connectivity through our international airport. We have nurtured such strong links internationally that support the work of our Manchester China Forum and our Manchester India partnership and help position Manchester on the global stage in terms of FDI attractiveness.  

Unlike the early career professionals in Finance and professional services now, I had to spend a good deal of my early career in the City of London. I am pleased that Manchester can now offer such a breadth and depth of financial and professional businesses, FinTech’s and advisory that there are opportunities for career progression right through to the most senior levels. 


What advice do you have for aspiring women leaders looking to make an impact in your sector? 

Manchester is the home of the suffragette movement and a region of innovators and disruptors – we have never been prepared just to accept the status quo and this is no different for our attitude to female leaders, entrepreneurs and those challenging systems and processes that fail working women. We still see a lack of funding aimed at female and BAME founders and it is our duty to challenge this. Financing and supporting female and BAME led, ethical and social businesses have to become more of a priority for Financial Services businesses. 


What advice would you give your younger self? 

Never listen to the voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do something – it lies and builds on what we now know to be ‘imposter syndrome’ Instead – top tip 2. Build out your network of other strong women and men. You should make sure that you have go to people – those that can ‘signpost and give advice’, those that can be a’ critical friend’ and give you your perspective, those that will be honest and tell you when you might have bitten off more than you can chew and the most important your ‘raving fan’. Always make sure you have a least one raving fan who believes in you when you might not or when the world around you appears to have withdrawn support – that friend will carry you through anything.   


Andrea Winders

Andrea Winders is Head of Business Development for Life Sciences.

So, let’s start with your journey, tell us about your career path? 

I was born and continue to live in the North-West, having worked in GM as part of various commercial roles, and believe that it prepared me for any and every situation. The “realness” and grounded approach, coupled with a world-beating friendliness of GM people meant that successes were celebrated, and failures (if any) were learned from. I went to college in Wigan to study for my A Levels and have fond memories of the working and playing hard, with venues, such as the Wigan Pier and Blutos featuring massively in my transition from child to young adult – great fun. 


As a leader in Life Sciences, what advice do you have for aspiring women leaders looking to make an impact in your sector? 

As a Head of Inward Investment for Life Sciences I would advise women leaders in my sector to be proud of their achievements, shout about successes, and continue to produce the excellent results that we see every day – particularly in the NHS, R&D, academia, and business world. We must also never forget that we are standing on the shoulders of giants and game-changing women, like Emmeline Pankhurst and Marie Stopes, and scope our future achievements to inspire the next generation of super women. 


What advice would you give your younger self? 

It would be to be fearless and not be held back by the detractors who do not understand a creative, ambitious mind. 


Kate Temperley

Kate Temperley is Head of Inward  Investment for the Creative, Digital & Tech sector. 

So, let’s start with your journey, tell us about your career path? 

I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2007 with a first-class degree in Politics, Philosophy & Economics. I started my career in London in international economic development at Scottish Development International, I then moved to the Canadian Government where I ran their Canadian Technology Accelerator Programme.  In 2015 I joined the Government of Ontario and spent 4 years heading up their UK & Irish trade services programme.  In 2022 I moved back to the North-West and joined MIDAS as Head of Inward Investment which has been a fantastic journey so far. 


Do you have any words of wisdom? 

Tell people about the great things that you are doing, the innovations that you are undertaking and the difference that you are making, don’t talk yourself out of showcasing your skills and intelligence. 


What advice would you give your younger self? 

Everyone you meet might be a useful connector along the way and there are opportunities in places where you least expect them to be. 


Audrey Winders

Audrey Peers is Head of Business Development for Strategic Partnerships at MIDAS​.

So, let’s start with your journey, tell us about your career path? 

I am French and came to the North-West of England in 2001, after graduating from my English degree. My hometown Angers is twinned with Wigan, and I came to represent Angers and promote the twinning in Wigan for a year and have not gone back since!  I worked for companies in the international departments before joining Marketing Manchester's commercial team in 2007 where I progressed to Commercial Manager. I joined MIDAS in 2017 first in the Business Development Team supporting businesses in creative, digital and tech sector before taking over the role of Head of Strategic Partnerships in 2021.   


Your career journey is really interesting and we’re sure people might appreciate tips on how to get to a similar position. Do you have any?  

Think about the common goal between organisations that will bring value to the partnership and communicate and agree a plan of actions and outputs, so everyone is on the same page. Catch up regularly with your partners so you have up-to-date knowledge - it can be formal presentations and updates, or coffee catch ups.  Be reliable and honest.   

Bring your personality and your true self into the mix - partnerships is all about people working together so meet up with a smile! 


What advice would you give your younger self? 

Do not be intimidated by job titles and assume that senior leaders will have all the answers and take part in the meetings - everyone around the table brings value to the conversation. 


Greater Manchester is committed to breaking barriers, and ensuring that every voice, regardless of gender, is heard and valued. The Greater Manchester Equality Panels have been established to advise, support and challenge Greater Manchester’s political leaders and policy-makers to tackle the discrimination and disadvantage that cause injustice and inequality in society, and champion Greater Manchester as an inclusive city-region. They do this by working together with the GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority). 

Learn more:  

Women and Girls' Equality Panel - Greater Manchester Combined Authority (