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Creating Positive Footprints....

Winter Soirée

Our final event of the year is always one of the most popular as Pink Shoe senators, ambassadors, members and friends gather for the Winter Soirée. This year was no exception!

We were delighted to be joined by Baroness Jenkin. Anne is co-founder of Women2Win along with our Patron, Prime Minister Theresa May, and is passionate about involving more women in politics.

At the event we honoured Baroness Howells, who retires from the House of Lords after many years. Ros is a real trailblazer and has been active in engaging and inspiring young people from all backgrounds. 

Pink Shoe founder Helene Martin Gee presented a gift, and Lady Howells spoke eloquently about her journey to becoming a Baroness - although she did say that as a young woman Hollywood had more appeal! 

The movie world's loss is our gain and Ros will be much missed in the House.

NatWest everywoman Awards

Helene Martin Gee and Jill Pay were thrilled to be invited to the prestigious NatWest everywoman Awards at the Dorchester as guests of NatWest. 

This glittering occasion has been recognising successful female entrepreneurs for 16 years. 

It began with a Taittinger Rosé reception before guests were seated in the packed ballroom for a lovely 3-course lunch. 

We were able to meet many of the shortlisted candidates, all of whom were worthy of an award so the judges clearly had a tough job selecting the final winners. 

For the full list of recipients go toNatWest everywoman 2018 Awards Winners

Pink Shoe Christmas Luncheons

This year due to demand we held two wonderful Christmas luncheons on Monday and Friday in our fabulous private room overlooking the river. It was universally agreed that the more intimate setting was a big success so we'll be repeating this during 2019.

Ambassadors, members and guests enjoyed fizz on arrival followed by an updated turkey lunch or delicious wild mushroom ragout, followed by traditional pudding or poached pears. 

On both days, conversation was animated throughout and the food, service, setting and company was  superb. 

Huge congratulations and thanks to chefs, waiters and staff for looking after

WIL Brussels Breakfast Debate on Gender Diversity

Helene Martin Gee joined our friends at WIL - European Women in Leadership - for a breakfast debate at the European Parliament supported by Procot & Gamble, to discuss gender balance.

The panel of senior women leaders was chaired by WIL President Thaima Samman; with panel members Renate Nikolay, Head of Cabinet to Commissioner Jourova; Ourania Ekaterinari, CEO, Hellenic Corporation; Isabella Lenarduzzi, Founder of JUMP; Caroline Thomaes, Benelux Country Leader, Proctor & Gamble.

Delegates heard about exciting initiatives from P&G and considered a range of different practices in countries across Europe, how effectiveness is measured and where more action is required. 

For a full report from WIL on the event please see: Gender Diversity Debate Report

#FQ5 at The Shard

For the fifth year, Pink Shoe held its International Forum for female founders and business owners. In partnership with the Enterprise Research Centre and Addidi at the Warwick Business School in The Shard. 

With the focus this year on technology, 100 delegates from across the world of business met to discuss how to encourage more women to scale their businesses.

Professor Stephen Roper and Helene Martin Gee welcomed guests then handed over to our Forum Chairman Julie Baker. 

We enjoyed the first keynote from Thaima Samman, President of our sister network European Women in Leadership, in conversation with Dr Maggie Semple OBE, herself an entrepreneur and senior public appointee.

Following this we had a great presentation from Stephen Roper on 'The State of Small Business Britain' with insights on enterprise and SMEs across the UK. The morning continued with a conversation between Anna Sofat, founder of Addidi and Sarah Matthew, serial entrepreneur and investor who recently set up Vibrant.

Finally, Leadership Director Vanda Green spoke with two BoardAble alumnae Loraine Midda MBE and Tracey Bleakley, CEO of Hospice UK, on their experiences of the programme and how it is helping with their Board and NED roles.

Julie Baker brilliantly summed up a packed morning before we adjourned for a networking lunch. 

In the first afternoon session Jill Pay updated delegates on progress for the UK Economic Blueprint and Rebecca Hill gave an insight into work with University of East London on creating a data repository, and some innovative research into the female enterprise ecosystem.

Then two lively tech presentations from Sarah Rench of EY, along with her robot! And a fascinating insight to Blockchain strategy from Dell's Nkiru Uwaje. Ellen Donnolly of The Bakery, London shared the inside track on gaining investment, what investors are looking for, how to prep for the pitch and get investment-ready.

Delegates were randomly allocated to 8 discussion groups to come up with a big idea for the Economic Blueprint White Paper to be published in partnership with NatWest in 2019.

Fiona Capstick and Cheryl Martin of EY led discussions on how technology can be used by and for SMEs; with Nkiru Uwaje debating technology too but with a specific focus on Blockchain. 

Rebecca Hill's group discussed female-friendly support; Cheryl Gourlay and her delegates considered the Treasury Review and how to boost female enterprise; Lan O'Connor chaired a discussion on Procurement; Ellen Donnolly's group focused on making an entrepreneur more investable; while Lola Owolabi's discussion focused on balancing social and economic impact of business.

Each group shared its outcomes with all the delegates and we were blown away by so many creative and new ideas! An ace panel chaired by Sarah Pennells with Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE, Anna Sofat, Stephen Roper and Sarah Rench gave feedback to each group.

Findings will be published in the 2019 White Paper. Meanwhile, a report on #FQ5 ideas and outcomes is available from info@pinkshoeclub.com 

Remembering Women at War

To mark the centenary of the end of the first World War, Pink Shoe members gathered to remember women at war. 

Dr Mari Takayanagi completely enthralled us with a fascinating talk telling the stories of women in Parliament during the war.

European Women's Lobby Debate

Helene Martin Gee represented Pink Shoe for a debate hosted by Angelika Mlinar MEP and organised by the European Women’s Lobby and PwC. Looking Backwards - Moving forwards: Women on Company Boards’ 

Looking back to the European Parliament 2013 ‘Women on Boards Directive’ the event considered what has been achieved and how to move forward in the future; discussing what type of policies are needed to ensure that women’s representation in leadership and management at the highest levels to drive businesses across Europe.

The European Commission proposal was intended to address under representation from women on company boards with the aim that a minimum of 40% of non-executive members on company boards should be filled by women by 2020 in the private sector and by 2018 in public-sector companies.

With the approaching end of the current European mandate and almost five years since the European Parliament vote, the expert panel assessed what has been achieved.

We heard that progress varies considerably across the EU, with some countries introducing legislative measures while others have self-regulated women’s representation in companies. For example, in the UK there has been good progress without the legislation of quotas, with the input of the 30% Club.

Raising the Roof at St George's Hall

Pink Shoe Founder Helene Martin Gee joined Ambassador Jacqueline Winstanley to debate and discuss 'Opening up creative Spaces' with an impressive panel at St George's Hall, Liverpool.

Telegraph Women Mean Business Live

An amazing day at the Telegraph ‘Women Mean Business’ Live with excellent panels discussing how to encourage and support more women to start-up and scale-up businesses. 
Of course for Pink Shoe the highlight was a fireside chat between our very own Jill Pay with Julie Baker, the inspiring Head of Enterprise, Business Banking at NatWest.

Global WIN Visit to London

It was a pleasure to meet US and London-based colleagues from GlobalWIN at the Royal Ocean Racing Club in St. James’s. Over from Washington to participate in the innovative RBS ‘Growing Inclusive Leadership in Tech’ conference.

X-Forces 5th Anniversary at London Stock Exchange

The Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham CH and the fabulous Ren Kapur hosted an extraordinary day of celebrations at the London Stock Exchange. 

In celebration of 5 years of X-Forces working with former service personnel to provide practical help on starting a business. It was truly inspiring to hear so many stories of success.

Addidi Celebration

It was definitely the party of the year at the Ladies Smoking Room of the St Pancras Hotel when we joined Addidi to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

Founder Anna Sofat warmly welcomed guests and gave an insight into the success of Addidi and its beautifully different way of doing business. 

Addidi has made extraordinary progress encouraging more women to invest as business angels and also to successfully manage their wealth.

It was also an opportunity to unveil the smart new web site and corporate identity for Addidi as the Voice of Women's Wealth. A well deserved and accurate description. 

This was made clear by the inspiring stories from Addidi angels and clients, who shared business and life experiences about their own success. 

One thing they each had in common was an amazing passion for what they are doing; something that is very much evidenced by Anna and Janardan Sofat and of course by Addidi itself.


Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst

EB Roadshow Cardiff

Created by Pink Shoe and generously supported by NatWest, the UK Economic Blueprint for Women Roadshow held its first event at the Welsh National Assembly. 

Hosted by Joyce Watson AM , Assembly Member for Mid & West Wales.

A stellar line-up of female entrepreneurs and business leaders from across Wales gathered to discuss key questions on how to encourage and support more women to scale-up their business.  

Pink Shoe founder Helene Martin Gee welcomed delegates and introduced Kevin Morgan of NatWest Cymru, who spoke about the many opportunities for women in business and the wide variety of successful female-led businesses the bank works with.
Helene then gave a brief resumé of Pink Shoe, how and why she set up the network 11 years ago, how it has grown and the exciting range of activities it provides.
Then Jill Pay, chairman of the Pink Shoe Senate outlined the vital work of the UK Economic Blueprint, the key working areas of access to finance, markets, data and training. 

Jill explained that UK EB is collaborating with many different partners, such as work on a data repository in partnership with two universities.
Delegates were divided into 7 different groups, each chaired by a leading businesswoman and with a different question to discuss with the aim of agreeing a key idea to take forward.
Once ideas were agreed and shared there was useful feedback from delegates and a panel including Cheryl Gourlay, Susan Greenwood, Jill Pay and Helene Martin Gee.

With special thanks to Rosie Williamson who was a super star organiser and to Christine Atkinson, Liz Maher, Alys Carlton, Lee Sharma, Charley Hagger, Catrin Pascoe, Katy Chamberlain and Helen Walby.

Outcomes from the discussions will contribute to a White Paper to be published in 2019.

BoardAble Seminar

There were outstanding contributions at the autumn BoardAble seminar for Public Appointments, NED and Board roles. 

Firstly David Holmes from the Cabinet Office Centre for Public Appointments outlined the great variety of appointments available, what they entail and how to go about applying for the roles. David explained that over 600 appointments were made last year across a wide range of public bodies; candidates with solid commercial experience have a lot to offer the public sector.                                

Sarah Anderson CBE, who has extensive expertise chairing Appointments Panels to recruit the chairs of public bodies, advised that for a first board experience think locally - a role such as school governor or charity trustee is an ideal starting point. Even for those with more board experience its sensible to start with a public sector board role rather than aim to jump straight in as chairman. Sarah suggested delegates assess transferable skills and see where they match the role; clearly outlining this in the supporting statement - focusing on achievements is key.

Yvonne Thompson CBE then outlined her own personal experiences, most recently on the Honours Committee, explaining about the rigorous process that takes place.Yvonne shared with us the enormous rewards from taking on a public appointment and advised delegates not to underestimate the ime involved!
Maggie Semple OBE took delegates through a personal 6-point check list of helpful advice and the essentials of preparing for both the board appointment itself and for board meetings once in the role. Maggie's key message was to ensure we all live up to our own personal standards as reputation is everything.

Finally, programme director Vanda Green took everyone through a short exercise as delegates considered their own skill sets, sharing ideas on how to map a path to board level and into public life.

Delegates then spent time networking with each other at an informal Aperitivo.