Maasai trip inspires message of female workplace empowerment

Entrepreneur twins Lesley Heath and Karen Powell, travelled Kenya to meet Maasai warrior tribes and returned with a powerful message for Merseyside firms. Tony McDonough reports

A Matter of Choice
Founders of A Matter of Choice consultancy, Lesley Heath and Karen Powell. Picture by Gareth Jones


A pair of sister entrepreneurs are urging Liverpool city region businesses to “empower and support” women after being inspired by a life-changing visit to Maasai warrior tribes in Kenya.

Twins and founders of A Matter of Choice consultancy, Lesley Heath and Karen Powell, travelled to Kenya to carry out research into attitudes around sustainable change, teamwork and women in leadership within a traditionally male-dominated culture.

With more than 60 years’ combined experience in business leadership, the duo will be sharing their insight as part of their sold-out conference, Leading with Courage and Confidence in a Male-Dominated Environmentwhich will take place in Liverpool’s Holiday Inn on Thursday, February 27.

The one-day event aims to bring together their research around developing female mental toughness within the workplace, the first of its kind in this specific area, combined with lessons learnt from the Maasai tribes on female leaders in male-centric cultures.

It has already attracted national brands such as Co-op and Travis Perkins, alongside Merseyside businesses including The Very Group and Merseyside Fire Brigade to name a few.

Karen said: “My sister and I established A Matter of Choice in 2011 after experiencing first-hand some of the conflicts that women encounter within their professional careers. This frustration, brought to a head after I was diagnosed with cancer, left us with a determination to create real change in the workplace.

We’re no strangers to the corporate world having worked hard our entire careers to reach the top but as part of this personal journey, we encountered inauthenticity and discrimination and so a big part of A Matter of Choice is to work with businesses to instil an ethos of support and equality.”

A Matter of Choice offers a number of programmes in topics such as health and wellbeing, safety culture and behaviour, coaching and mentoring and leadership, management and talent development and has amassed a portfolio of national clientele.

A Matter of Choice
Lesley Heath and Karen Powell with Maasai tribe members in Kenya


In a bid to support and accelerate growth among women who are currently in a leadership role or aspiring to develop within their career, the conference’s research topics will inform a new programme launching this spring.

The Young Women’s Development programme will give females the tools to inspire equality in all areas of work from development and progression opportunities through to promoting confidence.

Lesley added: “Our time spent in Kenya was a fantastic experience that has allowed us to see some of the surprising similarities between a community such as this one and workplace cultures in the UK.

“Although there are stark differences between the two, the fundamental practices remain largely the same and the Maasai’s dedication to progressive change is one that can be replicated across companies here at home to achieve a fairer and more equal environment that enables success rather than hinders development particularly in ‘masculine’ environments.”

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