International Women's Day 2017

As today, 8th March, is International Women's Day, we are celebrating the amazing women who work at Rising Stars. There aren't many companies who employ so many women in senior leadership roles, and we felt like it was important to put the spotlight on them and how they got to where they are today.

Rising Stars was founded by Andrea Carr in 2002, since then it has grown and now employs over 50 people, which include a very talented senior management team.

Here, we are asking our Founder, Marketing Director, Publishing Director and Operations Director how they got to where they are today, and which woman inspires them the most.

Andrea Carr – Founder,  Rising Stars

How did you get into your job?

I was lucky enough to get a temporary job with Paul Hamlyn when I was 21 in the children’s publishing team at Octopus.  I was immediately hooked and ended up staying for over 10 years!  Rising Stars all started because my husband, who is a primary teacher, needed some books to help his year 6 class get through the national tests. There was nothing good enough out there so we made our own, one for English and one for Maths.  Thankfully other schools liked them and we ended up selling 20,000 copies.  The timing was absolutely right and it kicked off Rising Stars.
What do you like best about working at Rising Stars?

The people.  We have some of the most inspiring and clever people and I’ve always made a point of trying to surround myself with people who are as enthusiastic as me!  Great publishing comes from creative minds and the freedom to explore and test ideas. And of course schools are our life blood. I love working with schools and Rising Stars has been a success because of the partnerships we have built with amazing teachers around the world.
Which woman inspires you the most? 
Martha Lane-Fox; for her drive as a business woman, generosity as a philanthropist and her vision as a digital and social entrepreneur. In spite of her disability she continues to be a force for good and I’m constantly in awe of her.

Naomi Watson Marketing Director for Rising Stars Curriculum and Assessment

How did you get your job?

I was working for the Specialist School and Academies Trust as Head of Marketing when I came to work for Rising Stars.
What’s your favourite part of working at Rising Stars?

Spending time with teachers in schools and finding creative ways to enhance children’s education and help make teacher’s lives a little bit easier.

Which woman inspires you the most? 

My Mum! As a working Mum myself I’m now able to appreciate what a great job she did balancing our needs with the needs of her kids at school (she was a teacher). 


Katie Blainey, Publishing Director; Assessment 

How did you get your job?

I have worked in educational publishing since university, starting as an editorial assistant working on secondary maths books. I very quickly decided I wanted to work in commissioning so worked hard to develop the skills required for that role even though that meant taking on extra projects. Throughout my career I have jumped at the chance of new challenges meaning I had the opportunity to commission a lot of different series for both primary and secondary schools. I also made sure I got hands-on experience of commissioning digital projects because to futureproof our business we must ensure we think of how print and digital interact to provide our customers with the most compelling products. My varied experience gave me the perfect basis to work in assessment which spans both primary and secondary and involves a lot of digital working.
What’s your favourite part of working at Rising Stars?

That no two days are the same. Working on the commissioning side means one day you might start the day speaking to a teacher before they start school for market research, spend the morning working with a spreadsheet to check the financials on a new project and the afternoon reading a manuscript to check it is fit for purpose, ending with a meeting to discuss the latest marketing strategies to launch our next series. My colleagues also help; we have such a fantastic group of passionate people at RS it makes it a great place to work.  

Which woman inspires you the most?
My mum, who has always encouraged me to follow my dreams. She’s the most hardworking, independently minded woman who unknowingly has been the perfect role model. 

Denise Hart. Operations Director, Rising Stars & Galore Park

How did you get your job?

Met with Andrea Carr in the pub 3 and a half years ago and it seemed like a good idea!
What’s your favourite part of working at Rising Stars?

The variety and pace- every day is exciting, challenging and satisfying.
Which woman inspires you the most?

JK Rowling

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