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Creating Positive Footprints....

10th Birthday Party for MissDorothy.com

At the Atrium in Westminster, Sharon Doughty and her husband and the charity’s co-founder Neil Evans, hosted a spectacular event to celebrate 10 years of this extraordinary charity which protects children.

Rebranded as ‘Values versus Violence’ it was a truly glittering occasion with guests from Tony Blair and daughter Kathryn Blair, one of the charity’s ambassadors, to stars of Strictly who gave a special performance.

Out and about in London & Manchester

A gathering at the stunning Great John Street Hotel in Manchester was held to check out the venue for our forthcoming launch event in Spring 2013.

Jill Pay and Helene Martin Gee met with Alison Loveday from Berg Law and Sara McKee of McKee Direct to discuss plans for Pink Shoe in Manchester over the coming year.

To the Banqueting House for a Christmas Cocktail! Pink Shoe members attended this traditional special shopping evening complete with Champagne and canapés, organised for many years by Save the Children Chelsea & Westminster, to raise funds for the charity. There were some excellent stands with a range of unusual hand made and artisan gifts. 

Festive Networking in the Mayor’s Chamber

Westminster Business Council Chairman Elizabeth Crowther-Hunt hosted an excellent evening of networking in the Mayor’s Chamber, as Westminster business owners met over Champagne and superb cheeses from MooTown  - hand made in Wales – along with scrummy Welsh cakes!

Micro-Finance Roundtable

Anne Marie Morris MP Chairman and founder of the Micro Finance and Small Business All-Party Parliamentary Group, held a roundtable in Portcullis House to explore ideas on the best way to prepare young people for business. Speakers included David Willetts and Stu Anderson.

interprise:2012 for GEW at Houses of Parliament

A series of events was held on the first day of Global Entrepreneurship Week. This annual event was the sixth involving successful and emerging entrepreneurs, school students and Parliamentarians; we were also joined by the eight finalists in the Shell LiveWIRE awards.

We are proud and delighted to announce that interprise:2012 gained a ‘High Impact’ Award from the organisers of GEW for the second year running! 

Pamela Chambers O’Rourke at the House of Lords

As part of the Pink Shoe activities to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, we were honoured to hold a Têtes à Têtes conversation with the inspirational Pamela, founder of ICON Information Consultants LP and an extraordinary business woman.
The Earl of Erroll was an excellent host as enjoyed a tradtional Champagne afternoon tea in the Peers' Dining Room of the House of Lords. 
Pamela founded ICON in 1998, to fulfil her vision of what a consulting company should be. It now has over 1,500 employees in 48 states and revenues in excess of $165m (2011) with forecast revenues for 2012 of $185m+
Renowned for ICON’s customer service, Pamela also works extensively in the community and is the recipient of numerous business awards, including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and US Women in Business Champion of the Year.  
This was an amazing opportunity to learn some of the business secrets of Pamela’s success. Pamela praised her team and talked about the importance of personal determination and persistence. Its clear that Pamela’s absolute focus on looking after clients is a vital component in her success. We are sure her wonderful Southern charm is a big help too!

Pink Shoe Club at French Parliament for WIL event

Helene Martin Gee and Jill Pay represented Pink Shoe Club in Paris for the biannual event of European Network for Women in Leadership (WIL); along with representatives from the US Global Women’s Innovation Network (GlobalWIN).
Hosted by Claude Bartolone, President of the French National Assembly, more than 100 high level women from across Europe and the US, debated Internet Security and transparency.
The venue was the Hôtel de Lassay, stunning residence of the President. Following a Champagne reception with some exceptional canapés we were seated in the glorious grand Salon for lunch and the debate.
After a warm welcome from Claude Bartolone, we heard from Maureen Ohlhausen, US Federal Trade Commissioner. We then listened to excellent presentations from senior women involved in Internet businesses across the world. Table companions included the FD of Orange, senior Politicians and directors from Microsoft and Nokia.
The most inspiring part of the event were presentations from two participants in the Future Talent programme. After the formalities we met with many delegates to exchange ideas for women in top level roles. We also discussed future collaborations and reciprocal visits amongst our networks.
There was then time for a glass or two of Champagne in the glorious Paris sunshine before heading back to Gard du Nord and home.

With thanks to WIL President Thaima Samman and her team for organising such a brilliant day and giving us such a wonderful welcome.

Pink Shoe Awards Tea at House of Commons

This was such a special event and the atmosphere was amazing!

A crowded Jubilee Room was set up for afternoon tea, each table hosted by an award winner past or present.

As usual with Pink Shoe events the tea itself was first class, with lovely pink touches and hand made fairy cakes. Every guest received an ESPA gift and a pink flower to go home with.

Award winners were announced by Helene Martin Gee in alphabetical order and presented by our host, Officer of the House and founder member Loraine Midda.
First came Diane Abbott MP who had missed the winners photocall because a division was called in the House! Diane talked about how she noticed that women may not speak as often in public, but when they do speak they always have something worthwhile to say!
Diane was recognised as the first black British women to become an MP and also for her extensive community work, for example in supporting and encouraging women in business and enterpreneneurship. It was fitting also to honour Diane during October’s Black History Month.
Then to Felicity Aston, fearless explorer who earlier this year became the first and only woman to ski cross Antarctica alone and successfully reach the south pole. Felicity talked about the ambition that drives her and the huge importance of having a great team and support from others.
Next Award went to Pauline Clare, who was the first woman Chief Constable in the UK. Policing is a difficult job, as recent tragic events have shown us. Pauline said that while we don’t work for the honour of being recognised it means a lot when this happens.

The forth award was to Baroness Helene Hayman, not only the first female but the first ever Lord Speaker. Helene was honoured in the New Years Honours List as Grand Dame of the British Empire, which reflects the work she has done both in the House of Lords and with many charities too.

Helene Hayman said that as with many of us, its the juggling and multi tasking that makes a successful career and that taking a career break should be viewed as a positive, bringing different skills and experiences that enhance rather than detract.
Finally, a surprise award to Jill Pay. Jill is a founder Pink Shoe Ambassador and as Serjeant at Arms could often be seen at events carrying her pink shoes as they were forbidden with her official uniform! Being the first female in a role in almost 600 years made this a high profile role. Jill said it’s important to recognise that one can still be feminine as well as successful which is why she likes being part of Pink Shoe Club.
Helene then led the toast as we raised our glasses to these extraordinary women – and also to all those at the tea who are succeeding in so many different fields, including of course the gentlemen present!
With thanks to each of the Award winners for being part of the event and for all they have done in their careers so far. Thank you ESPA for the delightful gifts, and to Loraine Midda for hosting the event. A big thanks to the Pink Shoe team of Sheila, Ling, Lucy & Annabelle; thanks to Tom and Lyndon; and of course thank you to all our wonderful members and guests for making this event so out of the ordinary.

Launch of Make it Global

To the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden for the launch of the Make It Global project. Helene was invited by Pink Shoe Ambassdor Susan Greenwood, co-founder of Destiny CiC who are Partners in Make it Global.
A wonderful venue where we were all able to take a trip down memory lane with ‘proper’ London Routemaster buses and tube carriages with wooden floors!
We heard inspiring talks and caught up with many contacts whilst meeting some great new people. It was wonderful to see the amazing Judy Piatkus, who is now a business angel investing in many new businesses - if only more women would follow Judy's lead.
With interesting presentations from the GLA and Nicky Major of Ernst & Young who talked of their support and involvement as project partners, women entrepreneurs then shared ideas and their experiences. We then heard from the fabulous Sunny Crouch, who exhorted us to get involved and pledge action.
This is a great initiative and we look forward to hearing of its progress.

Reception at the Finnish Embassy

Representing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship as well as Pink Shoe Club, Helene was a guest of His Excellency Pekka Huhtaniemi at his official residence to meet business owners and entrepreneurs in London on a trade mission from Finland.

There have been several such visits before, hosted in the UK by Genesis who are working both nationally and internationally to improve business conditions.
From a veggie burger franchisor to an inventor of fuel additives that will save us all on petrol, there were many interesting business people with whom to share opportunities.

No doubt the evening was the start of strengthening business connections between the UK and Finland, building on its historic ties and longstanding relationships.

The Ambassador’s residence itself is spectacular with lovely gardens overlooking Kensington Palace, and the Ambassador and his equally charming wife Lisa were the perfect hosts.

Visit of H.E. the Chief Minister of Punjab

On behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship, Pink Shoe Club founder Helene Martin Gee made the welcome remarks to His Excellency on the occasion of the visit of the Punjab delegation to the House of Lords.

Helene introduced the event’s distinguished host Lord Ahmed, founder of the APPGE.

Pink Shoe members had a table at the afternoon tea event and were able to meet many visiting business people from the Punjab and around the UK. After some rousing and passionate speeches we heard from Lord Ahmed about the many opportunities between our nations.  It was hoped by of all of those present that this will lead to further trade between the UK and Punjab.
The Chief Minister then spoke about the warm welcome he has received in the UK and of the excellent meetings he and his delegation had with senior Ministers and leading Government officials.

Enterprise Forum at the House of Lords

In partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship, a practical and informative roundtable was held at the Houser of Lords with a trio of superb speakers – Dr Shaheena Janjuha-Jivraj, academic, entrepreneur and family business expert who sits on Lord Heseltine’s task force; Siân Prime, Director of MA Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths; and Joysy John, co-founder of Founders Fit.
We also heard excellent contributions from Pauline Crawford, founder of Corporate Heart, US entreprenologist Dr Jim Omps and business leader and engineer Mike Samuel.

Discussion centred on the forthcoming submission to the EU Consultation on Entrepreneurship, to which Pink Shoe Club is jointly contributing alongside the APPGE. More on this soon....

Business Mentoring at Berg Manchester

For the second of our Business Mentoring events, Pink Shoe Club was hosted by Alison Loveday, managing partner of Berg – the imaginative law firm.

Una McBride welcomed guests on behalf of Pink Shoe to a mentoring Masterclass and reception at Berg's central Manchester offices. The Berg team looked after guests brilliantly and could not have made everyone feel more welcome.

The class itself was engaging and absorbing, which is exactly what we've come to expect from Dinah Bennett OBE, a ‘pracademic’ and co-founder of ICE, the International Consultancy for Entrepreneurship & Enterprise.

Huge thanks to all at Berg and especially Beverly Reilly.

Out and about in London and Liverpool

Pink Shoe members get invited to all sorts of fabulous events and places. 

Of late amongst these lovely invitations we’ve been lucky to be at the unveiling of the statue to Kitty Wilkinson.

Pink Shoe Summer Diary

Pink Shoe Club takes a well-deserved rest from events during August, with just a couple of intimate member-only happenings. But when we're not on holiday somewhere amazing, we still find time to pop along to a couple of special parties hosted by our friends.

Summer Garden Party

Huge thanks to Julia & Peter Bowles for their marvellous summer garden party in stunning Stanley Gardens in Notting Hill, in aid of Save the Children and organised by Julia and her family.

The weather was kind to us as we wandered through the beautiful trees and flowers, supped pink Champagne and enjoyed lots of nibbles and scrummy mini fairy cakes made by the talented and lovely Hetty.

The evening was a success all around as £1000 was raised for the charity, so thank you also to PSC members for your generous donations, which contributed to this total.


An interesting evening was hosted by UPS and WPO at BAFTA in Piccadilly, as Helene Martin Gee was invited by uber entrepreneur Deb Leary, founder of Forensic Pathways and President of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs.

After a fascinating insight into logistics for London 2012 from Cindy Miller, MD of UPS UK, we heard a detailed presentation on the history and aims of the WPO from founder Marsha Firestone, and insights from various London chapter members; then each of us introduced ourselves to the group.

Deb was as welcoming and lively as ever, and there were lots of wonderful business women present. After formalities there was time to mingle over Pol Roger and canapés in the stunning BAFA rooms, meeting new people and catching up with contacts, as well as enjoying the displays featuring different aspects of the Olympics.

Pink Shoes on the Terrace

In wonderful summer sunshine Pink Shoe members were hosted by Jill Pay and Helene Martin Gee on the terrace of the House of Lords for our annual Pimms luncheon.

Members swapped summer holiday tales and plans, and we all talked excitedly about the memorable London 2012 which exceeded all expectations.

PSC Patron Tessa Sanderson covered the whole games for Jamaican TV and promises to tell us more, and we can’t wait to hear from member Vanda Green who is a volunteer at the Paralympics.

Helene announced some of the Club’s exciting plans for the autumn, as well as the formation of the Pink Shoe Senate which is to be chaired by Jill Pay, thus strengthening the group’s ongoing strategy and of course its links to Parliament. Helene also called for final nominations for the Pink Shoe Icon Awards, as the closing date is fast approaching.

Members were joined by the latest Pink Protege, Annabelle Miles, a recent Politics graduate who will be supporting PSC as an Intern alongside her work with St Mungo’s charity.

Over lunch we shared lots of business ideas and opportunities, enjoying animated conversation and a lovely afternoon watching the riverboats go by.

Many thanks to Edyta, Anna, the chefs and terrace team for a super lunch and for looking after us so well.

Pink Shoe Summer Reception at the House of Commons

We were delighted to be hosted by Anne Marie Morris MP, for a relaxing summer reception

Entrepreneurs, professionals, international business people and politicians mingled on a splendid summer evening. Anne Marie gave a warm welcome to guests and said how important it was to see so many successful women and men networking to help drive business forward.

Helene Martin Gee thanked the MP for so charmingly hosting the event - especially as she had injured her arm in a disagreement with a photocopier!

She praised Anne Marie's vital work in supporting and promoting UK enterprise, especially SMEs and micro businesses.

Helene thanked everyone for attending and was especially glad to see such a great mix of longstanding friends and those attending a first event.

She gave a special welcome to new members Antonella Ragona and Sandra Roycroft-Davis, and much praise to Sheila and Olivia for all their hard work.

As ever at Pink Shoe events we were very well catered for, with a stupendous seasonal buffet perfectly accompanied by Pimms and Prosecco, as well as local elderflower and Kentish apple juice.
A well-deserved round of applause went to Vida & Mustapha for serving us the lovely food & drinks.

Another highly congenial evening was enjoyed by all - a fitting end to the busy summer season before heading off for the holidays.

Images by Olivia St-Clair Bloomfield.

Pink Shoe Club Hosts Oman Delegation

A private tour of the Palace of Westminster was arranged for a distinguished group of delegates from Oman, including the First Minister from the Embassy of Oman in London. On behalf of Diane Shawe, who accompanied the group.
Before meeting with Anne Marie Morris MP, Helene Martin Gee, former Serjeant at Arms Jill Pay, and Pink Shoe members, delegates enjoyed a visit to both Chambers, including hearing the Shadow Foreign Secretary in a debate in the House of Commons.

They also paid a visit to the Royal Gallery, then to the Peers Guest's Gallery of the House of Lords, and went on to join guests in the Jubilee Room. 

Pink Shoe joins Addidi for Inspiration Awards

Pink Shoe members were thrilled to be invited by Anna & Janardan Sofat to join Addidi for their Inspiration Awards at Home House. This is definitely one of the highlights of the summer season, as Addidi hosts this glittering annual event where inspiring women of today celebrate women achievers from history.
Firstly we heard from Anna about Addidi – her ground-breaking wealth management company, especially focused on women, and about angel investment opportunities and the Addidi Pioneers.
On to the award itself, the focus this year was on women entrepreneurs. We heard five enthusiastic presentations on whom we should vote for. All the entrepreneurs from history were women who had made an impact on fashion, not just from the design perspective but also with financial success, as fashion is and has for many years been a key contributor to the economy.

Julia Grinham, co-founder of the fabulous Upper Street Shoes, opened the event and championed Margaret Cameron, a milliner designer & corset maker –to prove her point Julia wore a super sexy corset!

Then Fashion Designer Angele Delanghe was marvellously brought to life by her champion Courtney Blackman, Founder & MD, of Forward PR and MD of The Industry.
Our third presentation was about Anna Maria Garthwaite Designer, of Spitalfields Silks and championed by Fiona Cruickshank OBE, Director at SCM Pharma. We loved hearing about Anna Maria!

And finally we heard from Sarah McVittie, Co-founder of Dressipi, who spoke eloquently about Fashion Designer Lady Duff Gordon, Lucy Christiana.

As the evening drew to a close after five fabulous presentations from-and for- five fabulous women we wanted to vote for them all! However we were delighted to hear that the final winner was Margaret Cameron, thanks to Julia Grinham.  We also thought that Anna and Addidi should have an award for creating such a splendid event!

interprise:2012 at the Museum of Liverpool

The Museum of Liverpool proved a stunning venue for Stage I of Pink Shoe Club's annual enterprise debate in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship.

Delegates comprising business leaders, academics and SMEs from across the North West, were joined by students from Alsop High & Broughton Hall, as well as members of the Schools Parliament.

With fabulous waterside views and a light and airy space, it was a brilliant place to Pop-Up! Starting with a buffet lunch and a mouthwatering array of sandwiches, we were very well looked after by events manager Jackie and her colleagues, as delegates arrived and mingled before the debate itself.

Then to the more formal proceedings, as event chairman Jill Pay introduced the powerful panel of Nikki Hesford, Jeanette Kehoe-Perkinson & Stu Anderson.

Our keynote speaker Steve Rotheram MP gave a lively welcome and praised Liverpool’s entrepreneurs past and present, drawing attention to the history of Liverpool and its links with business people, and now the many opportunities going forwards in this modern city.

Each panellist was then asked by Jill to suggest their ‘top tip’ for success in enterprise – Stu Anderson advised emerging entrepreneurs to enter awards (not just Shell LiveWIRE!) this is a great way of raising your profile, making lots of good connections and getting expert feedback on your business – you’ll also increase your confidence and although you may not win you can learn a lot from failure!

Jeanette Kehore-Perkinson stressed how important it is to be true to ourselves in business, and how much we all gain from collaborative working, as pooling ideas and resources benefits everyone - reminding us of the quote ‘never look down on someone unless it’s to give them a hand up’.

Nikki Hesford was clear that whilst it’s great to listen to ideas and take advice from experts, it’s your business and in the end it’s up to you - you have to have faith in yourself and follow your own path!

Delegates then broke into 5 discussion groups, each led by a leading businesswoman – Alison Loveday, Diane Shawe, Sara McKee, Susan Greenwood & Vanda Green. All groups came up with lots of great ideas. Once each group had chosen its BIG idea, we recovened to debate the suggestions under the deft chairmanship of Jill Pay.

Ideas ranged from establishing an enterprise hub, holding everything start-ups need to know in one accessible place;  the suggestion that entrepreneurship needs to be part of the curriculum; that deferring university and getting started earlier in business should be encouraged; and that the wisdom of older people could be better utilized with skills being shared or bartered between young and old.

Una McBride announced the results of the vote for best BIG idea, and the clear winner was the suggestion that enterprise education be embedded into the curriculum from primary school onwards. This and all the other great ideas will now go direct to Ministers & Parliamentarians via the APPGE.

Helene Martin Gee thanked each of the panel and the delegates for all their ideas and energy. She thanked the amazing Museum of Liverpool for its generous sponsorship, especially Janet Dugdale, Julie Ehlan and her team, thanks also went to Jackie, to Brian, and to MSP Sound for sponsoring the sound equipment.

We then dispersed for more networking and some fab pink fizz, and several delegates enjoyed a special tour of the museum with the charming Sophia.

Congratulations on a brilliant day to Una McBride, driving force behind the whole event! A massive thank you to Chris Martin for greeting delegates and organising us all, along with Gabby, Megan & Natasha, plus thanks to our wonderful student scribes.

Stage II takes place at the Houses of Parliament on Monday November 12th during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

A Royal View for the River Pageant

To continue the Jubilee weekend celebrations, Pink Shoe members had a spectacular view of the remarkable river pageant.

With the essentials of English sparkling wine, smoked
salmon and strawberries we watched the spectacle unfold

Luckily we were sheltered from the rain and were able to enjoy this historic moment in our usual style.

Diamond Jubilee Tea Extravaganza

To launch the amazing Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, Pink Shoe Club held an afternoon tea at the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace of the House of Lords.

Guests were asked to dress as for a ‘royal garden party’ and they certainly didn’t disappoint! An array of wonderful outfits in every shade and style were topped with cocktail hats and fascinators.

For those arriving without a hat, a very special handmade jubilee mini fascinator was available thanks to Pink Shoe’s clever Ling Tyler-Bennett.

Patriotic lapel badges were presented by Ling to the gentlemen guests too.

Each guest was announced by the House of Lords toastmaster, then enjoyed Pimms in the Cholmondeley Room as networking got underway. Moving to the terrace, everyone admired the room which was decorated with bunting and flags. We then enjoyed a traditional tea, laid out with union flags as for a street party!

Helene welcomed guests and let us know that two of the flags were from her husband Lyndon’s family – and if they appeared a little careworn it was because they’d been used for Victoria’s Jubilee!

Networking continued on the terrace itself, with great views of the river and bunting flying in the breeze.

Angelo and his team then served the sparkling wine and we had the Loyal Toast led by Jill Pay. 

Finally, a stunning end to the celebrations with a song from Chloe McLaughlan – at 14 years old, Chloe took the occasion in her stride and sang beautifully, despite her music disappearing due to technical issues with the House sound system. We were then treated to Rule Britannia from international soprano Rachael Russell, with everyone joining in for the National Anthem!

Many guests then had a very special private tour of the Houses of Parliament from Jill Pay, including her previous residence when Serjeant at Arms! Finally, celebrations carried on for guests at Roux, Parliament Square who made us most welcome.

Business Mentoring Master Class

Dinah Bennett OBE, Co-founder of the International Centre for Enterprise & Entrepreneurship (ICE), produced an exhilarating interactive seminar for us on business mentoring. An elite group of entrepreneurs and business leaders honed their mentoring skills and signed up to support new and emerging businesses via the ‘Get Mentoring’ programme.

Around half those present are already mentoring another business owner or entrepreneur. This Master Class took our mentoring skills to the next level and reminded us just why we are prepared to commit the time and expertise to help others in business.
Dinah’s expertise guided all participants and each of us learned a lot. The exercises were highly interactive and fun. They helped delegates gain insight into all the different aspects of mentoring. It was particularly useful to be able to recognise the many and varied benefits for us as Mentors, not just to see how we can help those whom we will mentor.
We were asked whether it was important to be in the same sector as the business women (or men) we mentor. Most of us felt not, that we could bring transferable skills and fresh perspectives to those in another industry. However there are some advantages –this led the group to agree that its often helpful to have more than one Mentor and certainly that different people will being different skills to us at different career or business stages.
Not only was the Master Class brilliant for opening us to new ideas and tips for being a successful mentor, we were also able to explore mentoring circles, which Pink Shoe already facilitates for its members under the guidance of PSC Leadership Director Vanda Green. 'Pink Sky Circles' are open to all members and are run by and for the group participants.

Pink Shoe Club Hosts Serbian Delegation

Pink Shoe Club hosted a highly interactive roundtable with an EU Serbian delegation visiting the UK to study Improved SME Competitiveness and Innovation.

The group included representatives of the EU; the Serbian Ministry of Economy & Regional Development; National Agency for Regional Development; and the Association of Management Consultants of Serbia.

Pink Shoe Club Ambassadors comprising professionals, academics and entrepreneurs joined the discussions to discover ways of collaborative working between our two nations.
It was agreed there were a number of opportunities to work together. Helene Martin Gee outlined the activities of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship and also how the Pink Shoe Club engages in business mentoring.

Delegates from Serbia then explained a new EU-funded mentoring programme which is already proving a success. The scheme links one private sector mentor and one public sector mentor with an emerging business entrepreneur. The mentor is trained and the business assessed so that success can be measured on an ongoing basis.

After an enlightened exchange of ideas and viewpoints many business cards were swapped and it was decided the meeting will be followed up via electronic media.
Then the Earl of Erroll formally welcomed the delegates, who enjoyed a full tour of the Palace of Westminster including a visit to both the Chambers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.