Who we are

Lifting Limits is a social enterprise with a mission to challenge gender stereotypes and promote gender equality in and through education.

Directors and co-founders

Lifting Limits is a project born of the personal passions of its co-founders and Directors, Caren Gestetner and Rachel Hermer.

Caren Gestetner was a Partner at Mishcon de Reya Solicitors for many years, until leaving law to pursue her interest in gender through a masters degree in Gender, Policy and Inequalities at the LSE. Caren wrote her dissertation in the field of gender in education. Her study, together with the experiences of her then primary-age children and work in schools, convinced Caren that many gendered inequalities seen throughout society can be traced back to how children learn society’s gendered expectations from a young age. Caren’s work in primary schools to address gendered stereotyping has included workshops with pupils, presenting to staff, providing resources and carrying out gender audits of the school environment and curriculum. Caren also delivers talks to working parents in workplaces.

Rachel Hermer worked in television production before moving into media policy. Most of her career was spent at the BBC where she led projects both internally and industry wide, represented the BBC on a number of professional bodies, developed strategy and completed an MBA part time. She had a period as the Executive Director of the former broadcasters training regulator (BTSR). Rachel has been very active as primary school governor for 7 years, including several years as Chair of Governors, and sitting on the board of a (since dissolved) borough wide educational partnership.


The Directors are supported by a hand-picked team of expert Advisers.

Fiona Miller Smith is Chief Executive of Barts Charity. In her previous role Fiona was COO of an impact investment firm, leading the firm’s work with charities and social enterprises.

Mike Yule is a former lawyer turned primary school teacher, now teaching at the University of Chichester in the Education Department, specialising in Global Citizenship Inclusion and Professional Studies. He is also chair of Governors at his local primary school.

Currently a Deputy Headteacher and Teaching School Director, Emma Tong has been a primary school teacher for the last 13 years. After completing her masters degree in 2012, Emma developed a specific interest in promoting opportunities for pupils to learn through classroom talk. More recently, Emma’s interest has been in challenging gender stereotyping in schools specifically through looking at the choices of texts, topics and learning approaches schools are using.

John Jackson is a freelance strategy consultant helping non-profit organisations with their public engagement campaigns. John has twenty years of experience running major international campaigns and has helped in the development of some of the key campaigns of recent years: Burmese democracy, landmines, poor country debt, child bonded labour, world bank/IMF reform, low wage workers’ rights and housing rights.

Lifting Limits CIC

Lifting Limits CIC is a Community Interest Company limited by guarantee with an asset lock in place to protect its assets. This means that it is not established, nor its business conducted, for private gain.

Company number 11170602

Registered office: 85 Great Portland Street, First Floor, London, W1W 7LT