Our new Chief Executive: Josanne Stewart

We’ve been really excited about introducing our new Chief Executive: Josanne Stewart, to you, the Stonehouse community and beyond. And now that time has come! This feature is an opportunity to reveal some of Josanne’s plans for the future but first, a little history…

What brought you to the Millfields Team?

In 2012 I took time out to be a full-time mum to my two boys. This was very fulfilling and I felt privileged to have this time with them while they were so young. I knew I would kickstart my career again at some point, but I was unsure which direction to take. My sister Sadie worked for the Millfields Trust and still does, and in the Summer of 2014 she told me about a Development Manager’s position at Millfields Inspired. She thought it might be of interest to me. And she was right! Thanks, Sadie. 

It’s been the most fun and rewarding job I’ve ever had! I would often tell our former CEO, Roger Pipe, that Millfields is stuck with me. I love my job and I’m never leaving!

My career first started in manufacturing, a German company that made electronic test equipment. I worked my way through different departments and ended up in the buying office; a job I enjoyed very much and it took me all over the country visiting different suppliers. I have worked in various manufacturing companies always specialising in the supply chain which eventually led me to a role within the South West Regional Development Agency where I engaged with some amazing businesses from around the South West.

So, since 2014 I have been delivering Widening Horizons, the charity’s flagship programme, to the year 5 children in the Stonehouse primary schools. During this time, one of the things I have been grateful for is the comradeship of the Millfields Trust team over my eight years as the Development Manager at Millfields Inspired. They have always treated me as one of their own. That’s the beauty of being part of the Millfields Family.

Josanne Stewart

This might be new information for some of you but the Millfields Trust and Millfields Inspired are separate organisations. Separate but still united in values and our quest to bring sustainable change to Stonehouse and its community. The other member of our family is Makers HQ a fashion sampling studio and training facility where we currently provide free accredited courses in sewing and pattern cutting to people in our local community.

What does Stonehouse represent to you?

Although I don’t live in Stonehouse, I feel like part of the neighbourhood. I’ve got to meet hundreds of children through the Widening Horizons programme which has been a complete joy! There’s something quite special about Stonehouse but I can’t find the words to define it. One thing I know for sure is there’s an absolute vibe going on here; if you spend time here you will feel it too. I believe Stonehouse is the jewel in Plymouth’s crown and I will be working hard with the team, our neighbours, our community, our business partners and the rest of the key players in the City to prove this!

Josanne Stewart
Our new Chief Executive: Josanne Stewart, Millfields Trust

What are you looking forward to in your new role as Chief Executive?

One of the greatest gifts for someone in a role like this is to have a strong team and a dedicated board of directors behind them. And thankfully, I have both. The Trust is a small but successful social enterprise with a heartbeat that is all about Stonehouse. The Trust has achieved great things over the last 23 years and my wish is that I can help the Trust to achieve more great things in the years to come. It’s an exciting time for the Millfields family but as we all know, we are living in a difficult economic climate at present. So I know the role will not be without its challenges.

Josanne Stewart

Huge thanks to Louise Bisson

Louise Bisson has been our interim Chief Executive since June, keeping us on track and ensuring our current programmes continue to move forward. Huge thanks to Louise and I’m delighted to say that she is taking on the role of Deputy Chief Executive, so a warm welcome to Louise in this role.

Josanne Stewart

Josanne will be stepping straight into the action with two very prominent projects on the horizon. Firstly the Famous Firkin Community Pub – read a little more about it here. And the huge new development, Block D, which we hope will be an iconic, eco-friendly and sustainable building. One that is an open and friendly space for all communities to use.

As you can imagine, Josanne has been very busy lately so we didn’t want to take too much of her time. But we thought we should squeeze in one more question.

Do you have a life or professional mantra that you live by?

I like to see the good in people. I will always look for this first and foremost. And one thing I like to try and do every day is smile at someone who I don’t know. Smiles are infectious and I like to share them!

Josanne Stewart

Exciting times! If you have any questions about Millfields Inspired or anything concerning Office Space, or our Light Industrial Units please don’t hesitate to contact the team today.