Harriet Harbidge, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at TransPennine Express

West Yorkshire woman shortlisted for two Women in Rail Awards

A West Yorkshire woman has been nominated for two national awards for her contribution to making the rail industry more inclusive.

Harriet Harbidge, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at TransPennine Express (TPE), has been shortlisted for two Women in Rail Awards.

Despite her relatively short tenure of just 18 months at TPE, Harriet, a 28-year-old from Todmorden, has had a profound impact on the train operator and its colleagues, resulting in her being shortlisted for the Female Rising Star Award and the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Individual Award.

Harriet Harbidge, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at TransPennine Express, said: “I’m beyond thrilled to have my efforts to help shape TPE for the better be recognised at the prestigious Women in Rail Awards.

“It’s not about the awards for me though; this is my absolute passion. At TPE, our people are our greatest asset, and I love the fact I get the opportunity to allow them to have a voice, some of whom have never been able to have a voice before.”

In her role, Harriet has led transformative initiatives such as a introducing a women’s mentoring programme and creating networking groups that celebrate diversity.

Harriet added: “I'm not an expert, so I learn from the lived experiences of those I work with. By being able to share their stories and help them, I am also teaching others.

“I've faced significant personal challenges, including the loss of both my parents, which made me independent from age 18. I've learned about resilience and personal strength, proving that anything is possible—a message I hope to share with others.”

Harriet was the driving force behind TPE’s first ever ‘Week of Inclusion’ earlier this year, when TPE showcased its commitment to diversity and embracing individuality through a week of activities.

Nicola Buckley, People Director at TransPennine Express, said: “We are incredibly proud of Harriet's accomplishments and thrilled to see her recognised for her outstanding contributions to the rail industry.

“Harriet's impact is reflected in the statistics, with notable increases in the representation of women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and colleagues with disabilities since her arrival at TPE.

“Harriet is a true rising star and an inspiration to young women in our industry and beyond.”

The winners of the Women in Rail Awards will be announced on the evening of Thursday 16 May 2024 at the historic Roundhouse in Camden.

Notes to editors

Harriet's journey into the rail industry began in August 2022, following a career dedicated to accessibility in the football industry, where she worked with esteemed clubs like Burnley FC and Manchester City FC. Driven by a passion for Diversity and Inclusion and recognising the synergies between football and rail. Harriet transitioned into her role at TPE, focusing on three key areas: attraction, recruitment, and development.

Throughout the last year, TPE has participated in the following inclusion campaigns: International Women’s Day / International Day of Trans Visibility / Women in Engineering Day / Black History Month / LGBT History Month / International Men’s Day / World Mental Health Day / Menopause Awareness Day / Pride Month / National Inclusion Week / Maternal Mental Health Day.