Woodbank Office Solutions and Konica Minolta celebrate three decades of partnership and female leadership on International Women’s Day

| 8 March 2024

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd and its Stockport-based 5-star accredited partner Woodbank Office Solutions are celebrating three decades of partnership. The two companies are also celebrating International Women’s Day (8th March) by reflecting upon the inspirational leadership journey of Woodbank Office Solutions’ founder and Managing Director Janet Bowden, underlining both companies’ ongoing commitment to promoting and supporting equality and aligning industry development.

Janet Bowden founded Woodbank Office Solutions in 1989 reselling used photocopiers as a side venture to her job at a bank. Determined to grow and enhance the business, 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 North-East.

Reflecting on how perceptions have changed in the past three decades Janet commented


quotation marks

“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."

Janet Bowden

Managing Director at Woodbank Office Soloutions

Janet added, “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.”

Passionately supporting her team whilst remaining hands-on with day-to-day activities, Janet prides herself on maintaining the best mix of people on her team and trusting in them to use their own skills to maintain Woodbank Office Solutions’ ongoing success. “We have a great culture based around trust, if your team can trust in each other, then customers will trust you too. If you set the right foundations up, everything else will flow. I know there are companies that have grown faster, but whilst our growth may have been a bit slower, we are steady and we're strong.”

quotation marks

“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.”

Gemma Lee

Chief People Officer at Konica Minolta Business Solutions

To advance female leadership Konica Minolta has several initiatives that are 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 IMD (International Institute for Management Development), also empowers women leaders, and aims to drive crucial collaboration, innovation, and business growth for a sustainable impact. Aligning what Konica Minolta is doing internally with industry progression is crucial in increasing gender representation and achieving more women leaders across the industry.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual event that promotes a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, one that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive, where difference is valued and celebrated.

For more details on Woodbank Office Solutions please visit: www.woodbankoffice.co.uk

For more details on Konica Minolta please visit: www.konicaminolta.co.uk

For further details on International Women’s Day visit: www.internationalwomensday.com



Graham Thatcher

Chief PR Ltd