Hertfordshire's vibrant business landscape is teeming with remarkable women who have made their indelible mark in their respective fields. In this empowering listicle, we celebrate the extraordinary achievements of three inspiring women who have transformed the funeral, legal, and property industries in Hertfordshire. 

These trailblazers exemplify determination, resilience, and unwavering passion. Prepare to be inspired as we delve into the remarkable stories of Hertfordshire's leading ladies in business.


Holly Donaldson - Mantle Space Ltd 

The Comet:

With a background in property, including previous experience at Savills within the lettings and residential sector, Holly Donaldson brings a wealth of knowledge to our flexible workspace.

Having completed a sabbatical, Holly really wanted to stay within the property industry but within a different sector: that being flexible workspace. She also wanted to move away from the larger-scale corporates and work for a company where you are a name not just a number and really valued. Having met the Mantle Space team during the interview process she knew they were a company she would love to work for!

Holly found her first day at Mantle Space, Thremhall Park slightly overwhelming, but she found comfort in the warm and welcoming Mantle team that quickly made her feel like part of the family.

Holly believes that every day is a new challenge and a learning curve, and she strives to make sure each member's experience at Thremhall Park is nothing short of exceptional. This includes supporting members during their office move in’s and ensuring a supportive environment is created throughout their business journey. The team also ensure that all businesses are provided with a well-maintained and comfortable work space to operate in.


Sandra Foster - Managing Director and owner of Fosters Legal Solicitors

The Comet:

Sandra Foster is a Solicitor, the Managing Director and owner of Fosters Legal Solicitors based in the Old Town Stevenage.

Sandra was originally from Ghana, West Africa. She came to the UK in 1999 to study. She studied a degree in administration and law and also has a degree in Master of Law. She is now a qualified solicitor practising in primarily in family law.

The firm is rated top 3 in Stevenage by ThreeBestRated. Sandra is the driving force behind the success of the firm due to her love and commitment of helping the low-income clients in the community including providing free legal advice, working pro bono in cases of domestic abuse where the parent has no money and is fleeing his or her family home. She has also donated money from her own pocket, paid for shopping for essentials, and spent time visiting victims.  

Because of the firm’s vision and achievements, the firm was recognised as a National Business Leader in 2016 for its community work and support of low-income clients.

Sandra Foster is also privileged to be a Member of the Leaders Council of Great Britain and Ireland since 2021.  

Sandra said it is always her vision to encourage, inspire, and motivate people to achieve what they think is impossible. Therefore, her theme today is “Your Determination determines your success.”


Claire Austin - Managing Director of Austin’s

The Comet:

You might be forgiven for thinking that the world of the funeral director does not change much. But behind that sense of tradition, things are changing and for Claire Austin, Managing Director of Hertfordshire-based Austin’s, that means that she and her staff must constantly move with the times.

That, in itself, can be a challenge for a business that can point to a history which stretches back more than three centuries in the county. Austin’s is still based in Hertfordshire and Claire said: “We have to be aware of the company’s long history but you cannot afford to stand still in our business.”

Claire is the tenth generation of the family to be involved in the business. “I enjoy the challenges, one of which is the way that the nature of funeral services is changing. More and more people see a funeral service as a celebration of a life that has been lived rather than a mourning of the person who has died.”

Although originally established in Stevenage, Austin’s now has branches throughout north and east Hertfordshire. They opened in Harpenden last year and have just relocated their Hertford funeral arrangement office and Chapels of Rest.

In the autumn of this year, they will be opening Austin’s Natural Burial Park in Stevenage. This will be located adjacent to the Memorial Gardens at Harwood Park, over-looking the stunning views of the Hertfordshire countryside. The area will be left to meadow but will be planted with mature London Plane Trees.