IWD2018 Unsung Heroines | Zandra Moore

To mark International Women’s Day, LEAD is running a special feature showcasing women who go above and beyond the call of duty – those who deserve a little recognition and thanks. We were delighted to be inundated with nominations and after much inspiring reading present your LEAD Unsung Heroines.

Zandra Moore, CEO, Panintelligence

Two years ago, Zandra Moore set up the Leeds Lean In Circle – the first network open to all women in Leeds and its region. The aim was to offer a place for women to connect with each other, discuss the challenges they face and help one another. The response was phenomenal, and the network has over 230 members now and organises monthly events hosted by local companies such as KPMG, Deloitte, Yorkshire Building Society etc.

It was the success of this initiative that motivated Pauline Giroux to nominate Zandra for the Unsung Heroine’s special feature. But as she was keen to add, Zandra is also the co-founder of a growing software company and a proud mum of two.

“I find Zandra’s energy, passion and drive to empower and support women truly inspirational. She is a fantastic role model and has made a huge impact on women in Leeds. She continues to strive to develop the Leeds Lean in Circle and build up its influence further, for instance focusing on evaluating the gender pay gap in Yorkshire,” Pauline explained. 

Zandra recognises that as a woman in tech, a female founder and as a football coach (more on that shortly) that she is “a rare breed”, but as she says, she hopes that won’t be the case for much longer…

“I am usually in the gender minority, although I am trying hard to make sure that changes. Supporting gender diversity is unsurprisingly something I am deeply passionate about.  

I have always worked in IT and software sales. My mum was an IT sales woman; she was my hero and I wanted to be her. I have sold lots of software in my career and after having children I decided to become self-employed and so set up a sales consultancy business. It was the easiest way to continue to earn and keep my hand in the industry whilst creating the flexibility I needed when the kids were small. Then four years ago, I joined forces with a client to launch Panintelligence, which is a data visualisation and business intelligence software company. We have grown from four people to 24 and now turnover £1.5m.

The diversity agenda for me personally is about stripping away the classic boxes of age, gender, race etc and focusing instead on strengths and talents

Much of my work revolves around supporting my amazing team, keeping an eye on the numbers and presenting our business at events and in client meetings. In my spare time I am often speaking at events about women in leadership (via the Leeds LeanIn Circle already mentioned), women in tech or playing ‘mum’s taxi’ to accommodate the kid’s hectic after school schedule. If I get chance in my week, I try and find time to scratch my creative itch, painting, crafting, sewing or anything “arty” as my mum would put it (she paints too).

I am also a football coach for a girls’ football team. Having never played a game myself, I was convinced by my daughter to set-up a girls’ team at our local club because she was sick of playing with just boys. I have now qualified as an FA Coach, we have three girls teams (U12s, U10s and U8s) in two leagues. Watching the girls grow in confidence, build new friendships and develop all the life skills that come with playing team sports is one of the most rewarding things I do.  

The biggest challenge is juggling lots of priorities family, my business, voluntary roles…

Having our nanny, Diane, is essential to making all our lives work. She keeps the wheels on our family bus, metaphorically! I don’t own a bus! Although I reckon she could change a tyre on one if I asked her!

Being this busy means I don’t have the capacity to worry what’s ahead and even what’s behind me. In some ways, it forces me to live in the moment. Which is a good thing. My team call it winging it!

It’s important not to be afraid of the enormity of things, and to take every day and every activity as it comes. By focusing on what’s in front of you now and breaking things down into small actionable activities, I believe you can learn and achieve anything.

I try and see things from all perspectives. Making sure I actively listen to what people have to say before I form or share an opinion is something I still have to be mindful to do. Sitting on my hands helps!

It’s so important organisations facilitate conversations about diversity, and that they help people who are passionate about this agenda to come together, proactively encourage and support it.

The diversity agenda for me personally is about stripping away the classic boxes of age, gender, race etc and focusing instead on strengths and talents – such as by encouraging and supporting individuals to understand what their skills are and helping them to be more confident in communicating these. I don’t think quotas are the solution.  

My advice to others looking to start out in a similar career would be network, network, network.

At every phase of my career I have been involved in various networking organisations and surrounded myself with a peer group that has been the supportive sounding board I have needed when making those difficult decisions.

In my late 20s I set-up the Institute of Directors (IoD) Young Directors Forum in Yorkshire when I wanted a peer group who were also setting-up businesses; many of the people I met are now suppliers and partners of my business.

When I became pregnant I joined the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), I wanted to meet other mums having babies at the same time as me; 12 years later and 10 kids between us these ladies are life-long friends. Since starting Lean In Leeds two years ago I have made friends with Female Leaders from a wide range of industries who inspire and encourage me.