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Creating Positive Footprints....

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.