Q&A with Louise for International Women's Day

In recognition of International Women's Day, we're sharing a Q&A with Louise Beard, Hillside's Business Manager


International Women's Day falls on the 8th March each year. Its purpose being to celebrate the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women around the globe. 

In recognition of International Women's Day 2022, we're talking to Louise Beard our Business Manager about her career in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector where historically women have been underrepresented. 

Can you tell us a bit about Hillside Product Design and your role within the company?

"Hillside Product Design is a consultancy specialised in helping companies develop and engineer innovative and successful products.  We can help you get your new or updated product to market by working with you on product conception, engineering, prototyping and production.

Good design can help solve problems with existing products and give old product ranges a new lease of life as well as help you create a brand new product.  

I am the Business Manager at Hillside and I have a very varied role within the company. I am primarily responsible for the accounting, payroll and administration side of the business and that means I do everything from payroll and invoicing to ordering materials for the making of prototypes, however I also take part in brainstorming, testing, prototype building and other areas of the business as and when needed.  The ‘non design’ staff within the business can have an input into the design process with ideas and review throughout the concept to prototype stages". 

How important is it do you think to have female representation within Product Design, Industrial Design and Engineering?

"I think it is essential to have a female viewpoint into design and engineering. If being involved in this world has taught me anything over the last 30 years, it is that men and women often have different ideas as to how things work and how they should be used. These differences may not always be particularly big or noticeable but they do exist and a slightly different way of coming at things usually leads to a more rounded product that will suit its targeted audience".

How can the STEM sector be made to be more attractive to women as a career?

"I believe the STEM subjects in education need to be pushed more in schools. Right down to primary school level, where girls can and should be told that engineering and scientific roles are as open to girls as they are to boys.  Education has come a long way since I was at school and girls were not allowed to play rugby or football or do metalwork or woodwork.  Girls were pushed into needlework and cookery and whilst those are admirable things, it didn’t give girls of my generation any idea that we could do these things and be very good at them.  Let's catch girls early and let them know that STEM subjects can be fun and can lead to amazing career choices!"

Do you do anything to encourage and promote women in to STEM careers outside of the business as well as inside it?

"I am, or have been, a member of a lot of local/national bodies such as Traders Associations and the FSB and I am always pushing for females in business, in general and in STEM businesses in particular, to stand up and be counted!! I am a fervent believer that women have an equal ability, role, passion and competence within this world and we need to shout loud about it and bring in the next generations.  We need to tell our young girls and women that they are capable, welcome and wanted in what has been seen in the past as more male dominated spheres of work".

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

"I would like to see far more women realising that they have got what it takes to succeed, to succeed in the workplace and to succeed in the traditionally male dominated areas of work and to rise within their chosen fields. 

Things have improved hugely in the 30 years I have been business but we still have a way to go – and we women are the people to take it there!"

Follow Louise on LinkedIn


If you have got an idea you want to take to market, we will assist you through your journey. Even the most accomplished will require assistance which is where Hillside Product Design’s expertise is invaluable. We work closely with all our clients to ensure they have all the support they need throughout the product development process. 

Let’s create something great together