Bernie is Cecilia Chattergee’s great-granddaughter. From early childhood, she was intrigued by the snippets she could glean of Cecilia’s story, but it was only when she researched it more recently that she discovered it was much more eventful than she had imagined.
She decided to write Cecilia’s history as a way of honouring her achievements and her memory. Piecing together her great-grandmother’s remarkable past and bringing it to a wider audience inspired Bernie to create the Amazing Women, Invisible Lives podcast, as a way of recognising remarkable females who all too often go unnoticed.
Bernie was a stay-at-home mum for 14 years. Then she went to university for the first time and gained a Masters Degree. After just seven years in full-time work, where one of her roles was writing the design brief for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, she became the first CEO of Responsible Finance leading the development of that industry in the UK. She took the industry’s worth to more than half a billion pounds in eight years, raising over £85m investment in the process. She was an advisor to HM Treasury and worked closely with a variety of government departments, including the Cabinet Office, DWP, DCMS and the Department for Business. She has appeared before two Select Committees. She also had an international role, guiding governments in financial policies that support vulnerable people and communities. She recently, after nine years, stepped down from the board of NatWest Social and Community Capital.
Bernie has also been a cleaner, a stand-up comedian and was, for five years, the owner of a chocolate café in Margate. She has been a contestant on three national TV quiz shows, winning one of them.
She was born and brought up in Hertfordshire, has three children, five grandchildren and lives with her partner in Kent.
She is also a newsreader on her local radio station, Academy FM Thanet