Janet Bowden: 30 Years of Leadership in Partnership with Konica Minolta

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Woodbank Office Solutions and Konica Minolta celebrate three decades of partnership

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd and its Stockport-based 5-star accredited partner Woodbank Office Solutions are celebrating three decades of partnership.  

Janet Bowden founded Woodbank Office Solutions in 1989 reselling used photocopiers as a side venture to her job at a bank. Janet soon became a Minolta partner (the forerunner of Konica Minolta) and the two companies have worked in close partnership ever since. Today, Woodbank Office Solutions provides managed print solutions, office photocopiers, printers, and integrated business solutions to businesses in Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside, Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Northeast. 

Reflecting on how perceptions have changed in the past three decades Janet said: “I wasn’t always taken seriously. On a dealer trip someone walked up and shook hands with my husband and wished him well, assuming he was the business leader, and I was just his partner! On another trip abroad they clapped me on stage for being the first woman, and I thought that was terrible. It should have been about the fact this person is achieving winning sales figures, not whether you’re a woman or a man.

 “Dealers will now ring me up and ask for advice. A lot of them turn to me and say I’ve got this situation, can you help, and I love that. I think it’s great that they can now ask me, and I know the answers from my experience.” 

Gemma Lee, chief people officer at Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd added: “Highlighting and learning from successful stories of female leaders in our industry, such as Janet Bowden, is a key to inspiring everyone and demonstrating that we all have the potential to be an excellent leader and excel in our chosen career. At Konica Minolta we know that our success has always been about the people that drive the business forward, so remaining an employer of choice is vital. This means ensuring there are no barriers for anyone regardless of their background, gender, race, creed or sexual orientation.” 

To advance female leadership Konica Minolta has several initiatives specifically aimed at supporting female development. These include the ShePlus mentoring programme that supports women across the organisation to build a strong and dynamic network, alongside the Gender Equality network, which encourages and supports progression and leadership development. The Global Women2Lead Executive programme, which is delivered through the International Institute for Management Development, also empowers women leaders, and aims to drive crucial collaboration, innovation, and business growth for a sustainable impact.