British Gas marketer to row Atlantic to inspire female marketers – especially mothers returning to work after covid

British Gas marketer to row Atlantic to inspire female marketers – especially mothers returning to work after covid

A senior marketer at British Gas is to row the Atlantic to inspire women returning to work, especially in her own industry, to feel more confident as they do so. And she holds high hopes that the new post-covid hybrid approach to work will create more opportunities for working mothers.

Felicity Ashley, Head of Marketing and Brand, New Energy Platforms at British Gas, is to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to inspire the change for women.

The 40-day row across the Atlantic begins in December and will see Felicity join three other mothers (who have 11 children between them) to raise money for two charities and demonstrate that motherhood is no barrier to fulfilling personal potential.

The team has dubbed themselves ‘The Mothership’.

Felicity says, “Marketing is an area where there are fewer barriers to progression for women; I’ve personally had lots of female role models during my career and at Centrica today, the majority of marketing roles are filled by women. But there are barriers to career progression, and some are unavoidable, like having children. You have to take time out.

“The real challenge for women is when they come back. They feel torn and don’t want to compromise. Flexi working after covid has got to be a positive thing for women. It has also shown that home working is not shirking.”

New Energy Platform

An experienced marketing leader, Felicity has headed up the Marketing and Brand team for British Gas – New Energy Platform (NEP) for six months. NEP is the new, digital-first division within Centrica.

Her career break came on the Barclays graduate programme, where she held “10 roles in 10 years” spanning both B2B and B2C marketing positions before moving on to head up marketing and communications for London Irish Rugby Club.

Felicity says, “We are doing this to inspire other women and children to dream big and challenge themselves to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

“More people have been to space than rowed an ocean, and we want to show that you can achieve anything with the right mindset and that gender shouldn’t be a barrier.”

Waves, sharks and capsizing

The race, known as The Tallisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, will begin on 12th December and see the team row, unaided, from La Gomera, Canary Islands to Antigua. During the crossing they expect to encounter 50 foot waves, sharks and capsizes.

They will be supported by an all-female creative team at integrated content agency, The 10 Group, who will be driving external profile and raising awareness.

The team’s commitment marks the start of a mission to champion change for women as they tackle a male dominated sport with a female-only crew. Fewer than 100 British women have rowed an ocean as part of an all-female crew, and Felicity sees this as an opportunity to inspire progress for the next generation.

The biggest challenge of the race, says Felicity, will be “separation from my three kids and family” but also the need to cope in the race conditions.

“Really, it’s about survival. You’ll have to think on your feet – or bum,” she says.