Swindon and Wiltshire’s Most Inspiring Women 2024 | Vicky Hickey and Fiona Oliver

By Nick Batten on 18 March, 2024

To mark International Women’s Day 2024, which takes place every year on 8th March, we’re celebrating some of Swindon and Wiltshire’s most inspiring women. 

Through our website and social media channels, we asked our readers which women in our community inspire them and created a list of 20. The list will be printed in our spring magazine and from Friday 1st March, every weekday throughout the month we are profiling and championing each of these fantastic women online and via our social feeds.

Today we put the spotlight on Vicky Hickey and Fiona Oliver…

Vicky

Vicky is the Joint Chief Executive of Wiltshire Community Foundation along with fellow nominee Fiona Oliver. The foundation exists to tackle disadvantage and strengthen local communities by inspiring philanthropy and supporting the voluntary sector. Each year the foundation awards around £2 million through hundreds of grants to grassroots voluntary and community groups to enable more people to thrive. It also supports young people to improve their development, education, and future employment through its education grants programmes.

Wiltshire-born and bred, Vicky is passionate about her home county. She qualified as an accountant in 2004 and started working at the Community Foundation in 2013 as its Finance Manager, after spending the preceding 15 years working in the corporate sector for Zurich Financial Services, Live Nation Entertainment and Ambassador Theatre Group. 

Vicky loves building teams, and this is something she and Fiona have done at WCF over the past four years as Joint Chief Executives.

In 2021 their team was awarded the Wiltshire Life Pride of Wiltshire Award having delivered over £1.6m in emergency funding during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the start of their tenure, they implemented an ambitious new strategy which pledged to invest £10 million in local communities over a five-year period – a significant step change from previous funding levels. They are on track to deliver this pledge and in doing so have positively impacted on the lives of 100,000s of people across Swindon and Wiltshire.

Vicky said, “I was really shocked but honoured and humbled to be nominated as an inspiring woman in Wiltshire and Swindon for The Business Exchange International Women’s Day celebrations. I like to take the time on each International Women’s Day to think of and remember all the amazing women I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with in my life, and to think that someone thinks I am inspiring is really touching. And it inspires me to keep working and pushing for equity and inclusion for women everywhere.”

Fiona 

Fiona joined Wiltshire Community Foundation as Director of Development and Marketing in August 2017 and was appointed Joint Chief Executive alongside Vicky in 2020.

With 17 years of experience working for charities, Fiona is a passionate supporter of the local voluntary sector. Having worked in the public and private sector and owned her own business, Fiona has extensive experience in organisational strategy, project management and business development. 

Over the last four years, Wiltshire Community Foundation has doubled its grant-making and is on track to deliver at least £10 million of investment to support local communities and help young people through its education programmes. The Foundation has recently launched its Women and Girls Fund which will provide support for projects across the county helping women thrive. Fiona is proud to have played a leadership role in strengthening the Foundation and tackling significant issues affecting communities in Wiltshire and Swindon. 

When she’s not working, Fiona loves to spend time with her family and friends and enjoys art, textiles and writing poetry. 

She said, “I am incredibly proud to be nominated as one of the 20 most inspiring women in Wiltshire and Swindon by The Business Exchange. I love my job and it’s a great privilege to work in a joint leadership role with Vicky Hickey, along with a fantastic team, changing lives in Wiltshire and Swindon for the better. International Women’s Day gives us all a timely reminder that lots has been achieved but there’s still so much more to do to ensure women and girls are afforded the opportunity to thrive in whatever they choose to do.” 

One of Fiona and Vicky’s nominators commented, “I am every day in awe of them and think that they exemplify the very best of women in Wiltshire and Swindon who work tirelessly for the benefit of others.”

You can follow Fiona on Twitter @fiona05oliver Or call her on 01380 729284 Or email her –fiona.oliver@wiltshirecf.org.uk.

Goughs Solicitors are proud sponsors of this feature. Goughs have a strong female team and work with many female business owners across the area. The team are getting behind this feature as it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in our community.

Pictured above: (left to right) Vicky Hickey and Fiona Oliver, Joint Chief Executives of Wiltshire Community Foundation