Rosalind Stuart

Engagement Manager for POW, Darlington

Sector: Local Authority

After retraining as a teacher following a stint in the army, adopting twins made Rosalind Stuart change focus – but now she juggles a variety of roles, including co-vice chair of the Power of Women campaign. 

Where do you call home? 

Darlington. I was born in Coventry and my extended family are all from around Northamptonshire, but we moved to Darlo when I was about four and I grew up here. I moved away for uni and came back to live here with my family in 2019. Darlington will always be home for me. 

Tell us about your role?  

I have several roles which include: 

Engagement Manager, Power of Women campaign. 

Trustee at Extol trust. 

Ambassador for National Careers Week. 

Advisor for Founder4Schools. 

How did you get to where you are today? 

I grew up in Darlington and I am incredibly proud to call this my home. I was independently educated at Polam Hall school and then Barnard Castle school. I then went off to study philosophy and theology at Oxford University, where I also held a choral scholarship. I had the time of my life at university. While I was there, I fell in love with rowing and was lucky enough to compete in the lightweight women’s boat race in 2005, which we won. 

After university, I joined the army and trained to be an officer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, commissioning into the Royal Artillery. I served on operations in Iraq during my time in the forces. At the end of my short service commission, I left the forces to marry my husband, James, in 2009. We settled together in Edinburgh, and I retrained as a secondary school teacher. Given my degree, I was a teacher of philosophy, ancient history and religious studies. 

I fully intended to remain teaching but, as always, life had other plans. James and I adopted our twins in the summer of 2016 and the plan changed! I took some time off with them and when I was ready to return to work, I was approached to launch Founders4School, an EdTech charity in Scotland in 2017. I stayed with F4S until 2020 in various roles. 

In 2019, we moved back home to Darlington, which made me want to contribute more directly to the communities local to me. So, in the summer of 2020, I took on the challenge of establishing The Girls Network in the Tees Valley, which is also how I became involved in the Power of Women campaign.  

I now work as an engagement manager for the campaign and live in Darlington with my husband James, our six-year-old twins and our Labrador Boudica. 

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

I encountered a lot of direct sexism in the army. I was in my early 20s and it wasn’t always easy to understand or manage. As I’ve got older, I’ve learnt how to rely on, and talk to, my female friends more when learning how to respond to situations like this – and to learn that sexist attitudes are never a woman’s fault. 

We went from no children to two toddlers overnight when we adopted the twins, which was a bit of an adjustment to say the least! We had always spoken about adoption but, as it turns out, I’m unable to have children, so there were extra bits laced into the experience overall. 

I wouldn’t change a moment of it, my family is amazing. But it taught me a lot about vulnerabilities you can’t just “manage” and forced me to talk more openly to lots of my friends about their own struggles in starting a family. I think these conversations among women are incredibly important and valuable. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

This question I really struggle with because my lightbulb moment is neither a moment nor a lightbulb. My husband James is my best friend and we, daily, inspire, shove, love and berate one another. I’m not me without him and vice versa.  

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

Don’t follow your gut, it’s silly advice – follow your brain. It’s a marvellous organ. And always run your ideas past those who know, love and respect you. They will keep you on track.  

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Stop listening to what others think and do some thinking for yourself. 

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

Think, breathe, look.  

Other Stories

Here you can find other stories that you might find interesting

Charlotte Robson
Sector: Construction After realising her choice of degree, law, didn’t appeal to her as a career, Charlotte Robson explored other…
Femi Waters-Ajisafe
Sector: Education Femi Waters-Ajisafe has made Teesside her home after beginning her teaching career at Teesside University. She lectures there…
Kirsten Donkin
Sector: PR and Marketing Kirsten Donkin struggled to find a career after school. After dropping out from her beauty therapy…
Kirsty Mackenzie
Sector: Education Kirsty Mackenzie was inspired by her college teachers and wanted to follow in their footsteps. After feeling like…
Rachel Teate
Sector: TV and Radio Rachel Teate was told her Middlesbrough accent would prevent her becoming an actor. But that only pushed her ambition further…
Annalice Argyle
Sector: Charity Annalice Argyle is in long term recovery from drug and alcohol misuse and abuse. Annalice set up her…