RBS International Women's Day Event March 6th 2014

Wow! What an event! It was simply wonderful. Everybody played their part beautifully - after Sarah Mackay (Compass) and Xiang Fan (Focused Women's Network) welcomed everyone the King's Chicks started us off with an acapella rendition of Happy, a perfect choice for the evening. I explained we were aiming to make networking fun and easy and set everyone off on their first conversations. Jo Shaw then presented the amazing work being done by Rosa with help from the audience and I interviewed our first entrepreneurs - Sublime Rhyme's Helen Beecher-Brown answering brilliantly in rhyme while Natalie from The Makeup Debate explaining how she understands what executive women need (having been one) and Naoko Vallebona talked about balancing being an entrepreneur with family life.

After more action from the King’s Chicks, Comfort Ndive told us about the work of The Sickle Cell Charity and I talked to jeweller and community engagement advocate Sarah Jane Niadjei about why she gives the majority of her profits away and we all went into raptures over Libby London’s beautiful dresses while Libby told us how she tries to do something that scares her every day. Compass leaders Martha Eigelaar and Suzy Ellis had organized beautiful handmade chocolates for everybody for the next networking activity and then I spoke to Aysha Mustafa whose Fashion Compassion business is helping women across Asia sell their products worldwide.

After more networking and an another opportunity for everyone to explore the stalls the focus was back to the main stage where Lina Johansson showed us a film of Mimbre’s wonderful work followed by a moving performance from three Mimbre acrobats. Our final entrepreneurs were the delightful Gloria Momodu who explained how she makes the designs on her precious metal Soronko Jewellery and the multi prize winning accountant Amina Begum who told us how she was overcoming hurdles and enjoying being her own boss.

The prize draw finished the evening, all the entrepreneurs had generously donated prizes, all of which were coveted by those of us who didn't win them. All in all it was a brilliant evening, enjoyed by RBS staff and clients.

On the way home my son, who had come to represent me at my book stall, told me he had enjoyed everything but his two highlights were the woman who won a dress by Libby London in the prize draw and just couldn’t stop smiling and when a woman bought a copy of my book ‘The Mummy Glue’, read it in front of him then burst into tears and promptly bought four more copies for her friends. Although I had told him the book (which is based on a story I used to tell him when he was little and didn’t want me to go to work) often makes people cry he had never seen it happen before.

International Women's Day well celebrated. 

Getting things started… Photo ©Mark Beazley, RBS Photoclub 

Getting things started… Photo ©Mark Beazley, RBS Photoclub 

The event attendees were great - Jo Shaw (blue dress) from Rosa UK was one of our charity speakers and did brilliant job later in the evening and I'm glad to see Rebecca Stevenson, Chair of RBS Focused Women's Network (pink cardigan) was having a good time. Photo ©Mark Beazley, RBS Photoclub 

The event attendees were great - Jo Shaw (blue dress) from Rosa UK was one of our charity speakers and did brilliant job later in the evening and I'm glad to see Rebecca Stevenson, Chair of RBS Focused Women's Network (pink cardigan) was having a good time. Photo ©Mark Beazley, RBS Photoclub 

If there was a 'Best Smile In The Room Award' it would go to these two! Entrepreneur Natalie James of The Make Up Debate with Sekinah Oshodi who won the 'Shop With A Make-Up Artist' package in the prize draw.  Photo ©Mark Beazley, RBS Photoclub 

If there was a 'Best Smile In The Room Award' it would go to these two! Entrepreneur Natalie James of The Make Up Debate with Sekinah Oshodi who won the 'Shop With A Make-Up Artist' package in the prize draw.

Photo ©Mark Beazley, RBS Photoclub 

 

 

 

You Might Find It In The Pear Tree… March 5th 2014

I interview my last entrepreneur, Helen Beecher - Brown of Sublime Rhyme, ahead of my second International Women's Day event for RBS tomorrow. Last year I created 'Tapas Networking' for their Focused Women Network with the aim of making networking easy for everyone - those that are already good at it and happy to dive in, as well as those that will talk to one or two new people but mainly spend time with those people they know,  through to those who don't talk to anyone and go out feeling worse than when they came in. Especially for those people. Last year I planned several activities enabling people to have lots of small stress free conversations and we had six female entrepreneurs demonstrating/showcasing their work and I interviewed each one during the evening paving the way for people to ask them more questions. It all went brilliantly. 

This year the team from Focused Women's Network planned 'Tapas 2' for February 5th but the tube strike meant it was cancelled. So they then joined forces with RBS' Compass Network who had planned their own IWD event and the merged event is going ahead at The Bishopsgate Institute's Great Hall tomorrow evening. 

In the middle of all my preparations Charlotte from Robin Partington & Partners invites me to a NLA event 'London's Growing Up' next month - I accept and email them what I am in the middle of - "I have to host/facilitate a possible 400 attendees, 45 quiz questions, 15 students singing, 10 entrepreneurs selling, four female acrobats performing, three charities speaking, two networking groups mixing and there's probably a partridge somewhere…." 

Robin Partington replies "Tee…. You might find it by looking very carefully in the Pear Tree that you forgot to mention….." Made me smile. 

The King's Chicks performing at RBS International Women's Day event - Partridge and Pear tree just out of shot...

The King's Chicks performing at RBS International Women's Day event - Partridge and Pear tree just out of shot...