International Women’s Day: Celebrating Rhubarb Seating’s Co-Founder & Director Alysoun Stewart
International Women's Day (IWD) is a global celebration that takes place on 8th March each year to appreciate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. In a movement to stamp out gender bias and stereotypes IWD is a significant date in the diary to raise awareness of discrimination and promote equity through equality for women everywhere.
At Rhubarb Seating we are proud to have a strong female contingent in our management team, headed up by our Co-Founder and Director, Alysoun Stewart. Graduating from Oxford University with a degree in History and Modern Languages, she started her early career in accountancy as a corporate finance partner with Grant Thornton LLP.
Aly’s career since then has seen her working in executive board roles with businesses across a number of sectors, including a number of professional service organisations, food production, leisure, four years with Chef Raymond Blanc as Commercial Director, supporting the expansion of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saison and the launch of the Brasserie Blanc group; and a period back at Grant Thornton where she led a national team focused on the development of company growth strategies and the implementation of effective organisational structures and processes.
Most recently, Aly joined Ellandi as Chief Operating Officer in 2019, a specialist retail and town centre asset management company. There she worked closely with the founders to develop a world-class operating model to support the growth aspirations of the business subsequently taking on the role as Chair of The Board in January 2022.
Rhubarb Seating was born in 2011 out of the ashes of Tract Limited, a supplier of office chairs and tables that had a forty-year history. Aly and her business partner, David Matthews, saw an opportunity to create a manufacturing business in Oxfordshire and use their combined financial and business acumen to develop a successful operation designing, manufacturing and supplying non-domestic seating into a broad range of sectors, including commercial workspaces, public sector and NHS Healthcare environments, Education and Hospitality. Aly continues to dedicate her time and expertise at Rhubarb Seating alongside her other business activities.
Aly combines her professional career with an active life outside work. She is mother to three daughters, a much-loved grandmother to her three grandchildren and serves on the Governing Board of Wychwood School, Oxford, where her youngest daughter was educated. As well as embarking on a recent journey of discovery across South America, where she walked the Inca Trail amongst other exploits, she tested both her physical and mental strength accomplishing the ascent to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2022 – the highest mountain in Africa, the fourth highest in the world and, at 5,895 metres above sea level, the highest single free-standing mountain in the world.
As we take International Women’s Day to reflect on the women in our lives from whom we draw motivation and encouragement, the team at Rhubarb Seating are grateful to have Aly at the helm.