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Creating Positive Footprints....

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.


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.

Women in Music

The second of our Pink Shoe Forum ‘Women In…’ series focused on the music industry. A report in January 2018 found women are still vastly under-represented in music. 

The USC Annaberg Inclusion Initiative revealed that from 600 songs analysed only 22% were by female artists and even fewer - 12% - had female song writing credits. Worse, in the group studied, male producers outnumbered female producers by 49 to 1.

The aim of the event was to identify strategies that will create pathways for women to develop their skills, raise their profiles as role models and secure greater parity in the music industry.

Our host Baroness Jenkin opened the roundtable with an inspiring welcome and commented that issues of greater female participation were found in all sectors. Anne Jenkin set up Women2Win with Theresa May to address that imbalance in politics. The picture is now far better with Parliament being better balanced than ever but there is still a long way to go.

Helene Martin Gee thanked Lady Jenkin and welcomed our illustrious speakers, women from all areas of the industry. Before the discussion began we heard ‘Queen’ by Elle Exxe which inspired us all - an amazing track with an all-female team, the video highlighting diverse women from across the world and from every culture and sector.

Elle gave us some valuable insights and an honest account of her time in the business and passion for encouraging and supporting more women. We then shared ideas and observations from other important women from throughout the world of music, including Sammy Andrews, Lara Baker, Helen Bousfield, Angie Greaves, Alex Kerr-Wilson and Yvonne Thompson CBE.

The debate was expertly chaired by Sue Lawton MBE and we gained a wide range of knowledge about the sector and some encouraging initiatives from delegates including Sharon Walpole, Marion Fleetwood and Vanessa Reed.

A comprehensive report on the event and its outcomes will be made available by emailing info@pinkshoeclub.com

The Women in Music report will form part of the Pink Shoe ‘Women in the Economy’ White Paper to be published in 2019 when the current series of discussions is complete. All findings from the Pink Shoe Forum are being combined to create a definitive cross-sector report on the current position and future opportunities for women in leadership.

NB: The overall aim of these PS Forum events is to share ideas from those in the sector – male and female - about how women can build their capacity to engage more effectively. The Forum explores ideas that influence, support and encourage that development both within each sector and across the UK economy. 

Women in Construction

Senior women and men from across the construction and built environment sector met for the Pink Shoe Forum at the House of Lords, to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by women in the sector. The ERSC white paper found that the sector accounts for 30 per cent of male self-employment, but just 3 per cent of female self-employment.

Hosted by the Earl of Erroll along with Pink Shoe Founder Helene Martin Gee, our excellent speakers were Sandi Rhys Jones OBE, a pioneering advocate for women in the sector; amongst many roles Sandi leads the national mentoring scheme for the Association of Women in Property. Romy Rawlings, UK Business Development Director at Vestre, a Chartered Landscape Architect and author with 25 years’ industry experience. And Rob Boughton Group Managing Director of the Thakeham Group.

Sandi Rhys Jones is a trailblazer in the industry who leads and contributes to many other initiatives successfully driving forward opportunity for women. As a mentor herself, she highlighted the importance of role models and increasing visibility of women in the sector; urging women themselves to step up - for example by entering awards and raising our own profile by speaking at events and taking credit for our ideas.

Rob Boughton endorsed this and also focused on practical measures firms can take, outlining his firm’s activities and outreach to schools which is proving popular. Romy gave a great presentation, considering some of the potential pitfalls as well as sharing her positive experiences as a leading landscape architect.

We also heard from project management expert Jade Onashoga about Project 13; a new initiative from the Institution of Civil Engineers encouraging construction and infrastructure organisations to adopt a more entrepreneurial approach and work together an enterprise with their respective delivery partners.
Then customer relations and people development expert Brian Simpson - who had the idea for Pink Shoe to focus on this sector - outlined the importance of training and the exciting opportunities available. Diana Chrouch spoke further on the breadth of available opportunities and how the event linked to the work of the UK Economic blueprint for Women.
The debate was superbly chaired by Jill Pay, former Serjeant at Arms and chairman of the Pink Shoe Senate.
Lots of excellent ideas were shared by our speakers and delegates, ranging from working with parents so that school students gain a more accurate picture of the exciting range of jobs in construction, to highlight the range of options from professional to more practical roles; to creating a ‘Dress-Up Friday’ so people can see construction is not just about scruffy builders on site.

Its clear the opportunities are there – and with skills shortages in the sector its common sense to encourage more women into construction

For a copy of the post-event briefing and/or to request a place at future events please email info@pinkshoeclub.com

The Women in Construction report will form part of the Pink Shoe ‘Women in the Economy’ White Paper to be published in 2019 when the current series of discussions is complete. All findings from the Pink Shoe Forum are being combined to create a definitive cross-sector report on the current position and future opportunities for women in leadership.

Women in Business Roundtable with the Turkish Business Minister

First Women

The highly talented Anita Corbin created a stunning exhibition at the RCA of her 100 First Women Portraits to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage taking place in 2018.

Of course the First Woman in almost 600 years to become Parliament's Serjeant at Arms was featured with our very own Jill Pay, now Chairman of the Pink Shoe Senate and leading the vital work to create the first Economic Blueprint for Women across the UK.

Following the launch and Private View this inspiring exhibition was open throughout August and a special 'In Conversation' evening was held with Jill and some of the other female pioneers.

The portraits are now on tour with Anita. Find out more here: https://1stwomenuk.co.uk/

Voice & Vote Private View and Summer Reception

This year the summer soiree took on a new dimension as we joined with Vote100 to celebrate and enjoy the extraordinary new exhibition in Westminster Hall. 

Voice and Vote: A Woman's Place in Parliament has been created to commemorate the centenary of the first women gaining the vote. 

We first heard from Mari Takayanagi and Melanie Unwin, who not only had the brilliant idea but also succeeded in delivering on their vision.
Alongside this amazing celebration we collected messages from guests to add to the Pink Shoe Time Capsule.

We began with top notch iced tea and cakes for a super-sized EqualiTea.

Then of course we enjoyed a superb buffet, accompanied by plenty of pink fizz and sparkling elderflower.

International Symposium

At the House of Lords we heard from some extraordinary speakers sharing ideas and experiences on international diplomacy and protocol in Islam. 
Lord Ahmed warmly welcomed guests then we heard from Shah Morris who  opened proceedings with a short film about the vital work of NAAM around the world. 

Roger Harrison spoke engagingly of his own vision and introduced Yvonne Ridley, who gave an inspirational insight into her time as a captive and how she has used the experience to the good, focusing on the importance of women's rights around the world.    

Karena Kyne then stretched our perspectives and finally we enjoyed a fascinating talk from David Dum​ke about his time as adviser to Obama.

After the roundtable we had an excellent afternoon tea, with plenty of time to network and continue the discussion.

Summer Lunch

An annual treat for Pink Shoe is to enjoy summer lunch on the terrace and this year was no exception. Our final buffet took place on splendidly sunny day and Sheila did an amazing job of organising us all. The food and service were as exceptional as ever and we were literally spoiled for choice. 

It was great to share conversation with longstanding ambassadors and new members too. The perfect way to end the week and celebrate the 'end of term'.

Chatham House International Policy Forum

Once again the Chatham House annual policy forum on Gender was held in Whitehall. It brought together global leaders and key influencers to engage with the work of the W20 and consider key policy ideas for next year’s G20 Summit.

The overarching theme was No Going Back: Making Gender Equality Happen.

Practical outcomes were sought and a range of international speakers and highly talented panels explored deliverable solutions. Topics under discussion included Closing the Gender Gap; Women in Public Life; Commonwealth developments; and from the World Bank, Women, Business and the Law.

EqualiTea Democracy Afternoon Tea

The Earl of Erroll hosted the first of our Democracy Afternoon Teas at the House of Lords. The event was part of the excitng EqualiTeas initiative to #ShareDebateCelebrate across the UK the 100th anniversary of the first women getting the vote.

Hong Kong Business Students

As part of the outreach work of the Pink Sky Foundation, leadership director Vanda Green and Pink Shoe founder Helene Martin Gee hosted a meeting with students from Hong Kong. The group is in the UK to spend 2-months as interns with London-based SMEs. 

Organised by Grace Lee, students learned about British work customs and practices as well as hearing from an international intern about his own experiences of working in London. The group then enjoyed a short tour of the Palace of Westminster.

International Forum with China Women's Delegation

Pink Shoe was honoured to host a high level delegation of female business leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and officials from China for a discussion and exchange of business opportunities.

WinTrade 2018 Gala Awards

At the Westminster Plaza glamorous guests gathered for the highlight of WinTrade Week at the Gala Dinner & Awards hosted by the fabulous Yvonne Thompson CBE.