Then and now: the story of a farm girl, a 900-year-old castle, and an executive coaching business

Posted on
Marian Evans with LLansteffan Castle in background

Growing up on a dairy farm in rural Wales, special days out for Marian were spent at Llansteffan Castle. Steeped in history and bound up with her heritage, it captured her heart.  Years later, the same castle and estate is now her home and the base for her executive coaching business.

We talked to Marian and found out why the drive that won her such success has now brought her home again.

From farm-hand to top entrepreneur

Marian has never been scared of hard work. Mucking out cows on the farm is perhaps what gave her grit and determination. Coming from a family of ’home birds’ she was first to fly the nest and ’escape’ to university in England.

She arrived at UWE Bristol and soon settled in to her new home. She wasn’t sure where her course in Geography and Environmental Management would take her, or what her future held. But she took every opportunity.

“I think the biggest lesson I learnt at UWE was that if you work hard at anything and take every opportunity, you’ll progress and move in the right direction. You’ve got to learn resilience and how you work best. My time at UWE definitely set me up for the future.”

Marian says.

Not one to sit back, Marian began her property portfolio at 18 years old and had her first job before university results were out. She soon launched an impressive sales career, quickly making a reputation as an Expert Risk Manager.

To her surprise, in 2019 Marian was named Women in Business’ Inspirational Woman of the Decade. Now she runs her own company Elevate BC, coaching and mentoring business leaders.

Supporting women in business

Despite her clear success’ Marian admits to struggling with imposter syndrome. She finds it uncomfortable talking about her achievements. But her time at UWE Bristol taught her to be comfortable in her own skin and understand what her strengths are. And that’s the lesson she’s passionate to pass on to other women in business.

Marian pictured in Cardiff

Marian works with Women on Boards, who aim to help women achieve higher positions in male dominated areas, just as she did.

“I feel duty bound to share my story, give back and say, you can do this too! There are so few women pushing through to those higher levels in business, we’re not giving them the support to crack on to the next level.”

she explains.

And what of the castle?

Llansteffan Castle, on the river Tywi estuary in Carmarthen Bay

Despite her high-flying career, Marian’s attachment to Wales never left her. Perhaps it’s the same passion that led her to study Geography – a love of the natural environment, her heritage and her home land.

Marian and her Welsh husband quietly took a leap of faith when they saw that their beloved castle was for sale. They’ve since made the Llansteffan Castle Estate their family home and a base for business.  

The castle is in safe hands – keen for it to remain at the heart of the local community, and be used for events, they’ve set about the restoration.  It’s rich history and beauty will be protected and shared for future generations.

Tell us your story

What journey have you been on since studying with UWE Bristol? What are you passionate about?

We’d love to hear your story. Tell us what you’re doing now, share an old photo.

You can get in touch through our memories form or post on social media – tag us and use #30yearsofUWE

Seriously good prizes for a great cause

Play our 30th anniversary prize draw for your chance to win one of 30 fantastic prizes, kindly donated from alumni and the wider UWE Bristol community.

100% of funds raised from ticket sales will go to the UWE Bristol Fund to support Student Hardship Grants.

Buy a ticket and find out more about other ways we’re celebrating 30 years of being a University.

30 years of UWE Bristol, win in our prize draw
Win in our prize draw

UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

UWE Bristol Alumni homepage

Sign up for offers and fundraising and update your details

Join Alumni Connect online mentoring network

Explore Alumni benefits and discounts

Back to top