Suffolk Community Foundation is delighted to welcome Bridget McIntyre MBE as the new High Sheriff of Suffolk and Patron of Suffolk Community Foundation for her year in office.
At times like this, the Suffolk Community Foundation plays a critical role in our county. We are seeing our voluntary sector being put under severe pressure, and require funding to help support the increasing demand. I plan to play a role in supporting the Foundation during my year in office.
Bridget was sworn in as High Sheriff on the 2nd April. The current circumstances called for a very different approach. From various locations across Suffolk and using Skype, outgoing High Sheriff, Roz Eminson “handed” the chain of office to Bridget. In attendance were Judge Martyn Levett, Chair of Suffolks Magistrates bench, Dawn Girling, Under Sheriff, Jonathan Mathers and Chaplain, Steve Fenning.
Thoughts and plans from our High Sheriff for her year in office
“My year as High Sheriff has certainly started very differently. My aim is to find ways to support and thank those on the Frontline and the thousands of volunteers keeping the vulnerable in the county safe. Doing this from my home will require some quite different thinking. At times like this, the power of community has never been more important. As the year develops, I hope I will be able to use my combination of business experience and of working in the charity sector in the role” says Bridget. ‘It is a unique opportunity to see Suffolk overall from an independent perspective. I would like to build on the work of others and support and encourage many great organisations. I do have a huge interest in rural communities & how they manage the issue of isolation. I believe that diversity can have a very positive impact and would like to support those who support inclusion of the more marginalised. I am also interested in the work done to support people after life takes an unexpected difficult turn and the help that is provided.’
She added, ‘I guess that time will tell over the next few months how I can best serve Suffolk – my thoughts may have to change and I will need to be very flexible in what I am able to do.’
Personal life and career
Bridget is a social entrepreneur and founder of the Blossom Charity. She has lived in Suffolk for the majority of her adult life. Bridget is passionate about bringing out the best in people and providing the support and encouragement to others that she has had through her life. She hopes in this new role to be able to do this across a wider stage in Suffolk. Bridget was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours 2020 list for services to women.
Bridget, 58, is married to Chris and lives in Suffolk. She and Chris have restored a small woodland and are both active in the local community where they live. Bridget has two stepchildren, five grandchildren and 2 dogs, Newky Brown & Alfie Black.
Bridget has had a varied business career which culminated in her becoming the CEO of an insurance company and be one of only sixteen women to be a FTSE 100 executive director.
Her career started at Ensors in Ipswich where she had a placement during her university course. After gaining her degree she joined Willis and started her first job as a trainee accountant. She qualified and spent the first ten years of her career working in many different businesses varying from car manufacturing to book publishing, from radar development to consulting. She gained a broad understanding of business and financial management.
She found that she worked well with people. She had positive energy and enthusiasm that helped people achieve what might feel impossible goals. Bridget’s career continued to progress. She discovered she both loved leading and she could inspire people to follow. She moved to work at Norwich Union (now known as Aviva) in financial services. She started as finance manager and her career in financial services culminated at RSA where she was UK CEO. She planned her career moves carefully. She knew in 2008 that the corporate world, whilst having been a huge part of her life, wasn’t where she wanted to spend all of her time. She wanted to stay connected with it but also wanted to set up a business devoted to women.…so she started Dream On, a social enterprise and made the business plan she had written some 7 years earlier a reality.
Find out more about The High Sheriff’s Fund at Suffolk Community Foundation click here.
Find out more about the Office of High Sheriff, click here