THE head of a technology firm which employs 400 people has been hailed an inspirational woman in business.

The managing director of global software consultancy Thoughtworks, Ruth Harrison (49), who lives in Corbridge, has been nominated in the mentor of the year category at this year’s Northern Power Women Awards.

The awards, which will be announced in March, are split in to categories to celebrate the impact women have on business in the north.

Ruth, who worked at some retail giants such as John Lewis Partners, Estee Lauder and Selfridges for 30 years, is deemed as a role model thanks to her approachable manner and one-to-one mentoring technique.

Ruth was delighted to be in the running for such a coveted title.

She said: “I think there’s something great about women supporting other women, as well as men, and being available to people to offer advice.

“When I started my career 30 years ago, I had no role models in business. There was a lot of male managers in retail, but I think there has slowly been a small shift with more women at the head of business.

“Getting through to a shortlist of eight nominations from potentially hundreds makes me super proud.”

Ruth came into the technology six years ago when Thoughtworks started a retail division, and she quickly worked her way to the top.

And she is hoping her journey may inspire more girls and women to consider professional careers, particularly those in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

She said: “If it inspires just one person to forge a professional career then job done. It’s about paying it back and trying to help somebody else.

“What is good about the Northern Power Women is that it celebrates having a professional career, not just in technology.”