Girls Of Manchester: Jess Higham

NAME: Jess Higham

JOB TITLE: Creative Project Manager

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When and Why did you make Manchester your home?

I moved to Manchester for university in 2009 and simply fell in love!

After moving from a relatively small town in the south east, the power and energy of Manchester was everything I wanted in my 'home'; since then I have embraced this fully and have achieved things I don't think I could have dreamt of beforehand. After graduating I moved into what I can only describe as an awful house share which made me miserable, but the city kept me going - there's just so much to do and explore!

What makes Manchester special?

For me, I've always enjoyed the anonymity a city can offer, and I believe Manchester treads an amazing line between providing that feeling alongside making you feel well and truly at home. There's such a range of opportunities, from food and drink (a personal favourite of mine) to the museums and culture to sport to music to theatre...anything you want to do, it's here - and 9/10 it's a walkable distance away!

What drives you?

Although I'm a self confessed introvert, people are a massive driver for me.

In my job we're always looking at new ways to engage with people in the city - what makes them tick, why do they go to certain places above others, what makes people feel 'part' of something - and I definitely carry that in my personal life too. I love meeting new people and finding out their quirks, hopefully making me a compassionate and interesting person to be around too!

What are your dreams/ where would you like to be in 5 years?

I can definitely see myself still in Manchester in five years! I would love to keep going on my current trajectory - as boring as that might sound! Professionally, my aims are definitely to become recognised as a positive force in the city. Personally, I'd like to continue being surrounded by my friends, family and growing network of people across the city.

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What is the biggest issue at the moment for women which needs to be talked more about?

Now this is a tricky one, and has definitely taken me the longest to answer.

I believe we were on the 'right' path a few years ago and feminism was taking some huge steps, but in the current political climate it feels like it's all crumbling around us. Equality in general just doesn't carry the same meaning anymore and we can see, piece by piece, people's rights being taken away from them. As a white woman I believe I'm in a powerful position to be able to support those who may not have a voice or have their voices heard, and that's something we should all be aware of.

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What is your favourite Manchester Girl Event and why?

Naturally I love a good drinks event - any excuse to get out on an evening and get dressed up after a week in the studio! - but I think the best thing generally about Manchester Girl events is that they are all unique and run in unique ways by the amazing team of volunteers working behind the scenes. It's really exciting to see the group continue to grow and hopefully even more exciting and interesting events coming together.