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Creating positive footprints

Handbag Homage: #OnAir with Denise Barrett

 At our latest #OnAir we shared a passion for handbags thanks to the amazing Denise Barrett, who revealed much about bags, the history of handbags - from Da Vinci to Miuccia Prada - and their psychology.

Denise took us through a journey of fabulous bags and her own personal favourites from the V&A exhibition, which will hopefully reopen after lock down.

Then once we’d seen some of Denise’s exquisite bags, including the stunning butterfly bag below, we each shared stories of favourite bags, their special memories and the occasions on which we enjoyed them.

And of course, the books they’ve inspired – our own Cali Bird and ‘Tales of the Countess’ and leadership tips for women leaders from Lynne Copp, and her go-to book for every successful woman ‘Dancing around the Handbags’

Denise herself has enough material for what would be a beautiful coffee table book, so we’re aiming to seek out potential publishers for her!

For anyone who loves bags, we highly recommend www.handbaghomage.com

First Women Live: Dame Stephanie Shirley

A truly wonderful evening spent at First Women Live, hosted by ace photographer Anita Corbin who created the inspiring First Women series of images of women firsts to commemorate the centenary of women getting the vote.

Each of Anita’s photographs tells the story of an incredible woman, and this month we were in the company of Dame Stephanie Shirley, one of the most inspirational role models we will ever have the privilege and pleasure to meet.

After a marvellous introduction from Anita, Dame Steve kept us captivated as she shared her story, from arriving in Britain aged 5 as a Kindertransport refugee, through her earlier life, and going on to found an IT company which until the sex discrimination act recruited women. Highly successful in business, Dame Shirley is a tireless campaigner and philanthropist supporting autism research in memory of her late son Giles, himself autistic.


The evening went far too quickly, and we all had lots of questions to ask of this amazing role model. So we were delighted to discover we can get a copy of her new book, especially as all income will go to her Foundation: https://www.steveshirley.com/biography/

You can check out Anita's fabulous First Women images here: https://1stwomenuk.co.uk/

The live exhibition is on tour, and will reopen at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter once we're out of lockdown. See: https://1stwomenuk.co.uk/2019/01/15/the-first-women-tour/

Savvitas Special Envoys

We were super excited at this February #OnAir to Award the first ever Savvitas Special Envoys.

Appointed for a term of one year, these amazing women leaders have supported the work of Pink Shoe for many years and are now with Savvitas every step of the way. As we widen opportunity, grow our global reach, and continue to champion the lifelong development of women from all cultures, sectors and backgrounds.

Helene Martin Gee thanked each of the Special Envoys for their contributions and input to our work, and highlighted some of their significant achievements as role models and trail blazers, which has given every one of them an inspiring and successful career in their field. 

We'll be featuring the exciting work and experience of each of these wonderful women at future #OnAir events over the coming year. 

Many congratulations Antonella Ragona, Jacqueline Winstanley, Lynne Copp, Lynn Turner, Rev Lotwina Farodoye, Rebecca Hill, Val McKie, Vena Ramphal.

World Business Women: #WBWCaucus Technology

It was an energising #WBWCaucus with two events during the day to capture as many time zones as possible. At each of the online meetings, ideas were shared on how to make best use of technology from around the world, to build businesses and especially how women can better leverage technology.

Joined by women leaders from around the world, with delegate numbers limited to ensure full interactivity, we connected with global Female Founders and Business Leaders for the 1st #WBWCaucus, following the success of our inaugural World Business Women Day last October.

 President and Founder Helene Martin Gee said, "It’s a privilege to lead Savvitas World Business Women events, to share ideas and create connections across diverse nations, businesses and sectors"


World Business Women Lead Sue Lawton says 'We're creating connections, vital conversations, that support women leaders worldwide'

Thank you to all the women leaders who joined us, sometimes at very early or late hours of the day!

Huge thanks to our fabulous #WBWCaucus partners and supporters, and especially our outstanding Marketing duo @AntonellaRagona @MarketAccents and our excellent international interns, Project Manager Kei Okajima, and Ivrina Nivarosa.

Big thanks to Chairs @Debbie_RCL @AngeliqueM2010 And amazing #SpeedKeynote Speakers @elainegold @juliekapsalis @jillpay @KathySlackEM3 @sarahjmatthew @ShilpaKarkeraa @WASD_news @ishreenbradley @jschawapiwa @runamagnus @WhampaChick

BoardAble: The Boardroom Boost

‘Boardroom Boost’ the latest open BoardAble seminar for senior leaders interested in NED and Public Appointments was a great success. An invited group of 25 talented women leaders, led by Vanda Green and Helene Martin Gee, shared experiences of NED roles, board, and public appointments. 

We heard from Sue Lawton MBE about her extensive international board experience, sharing expertise on boardroom behaviour and how to ‘read’ the various board members; what really happens outside the board meeting itself, and the vital need to balance the board rather than recruiting in one’s own image. Subsequent discussion reinforced the importance of diverse recruitment.

Debate was nimbly chaired by Jill Pay and enhanced by many different experiences and viewpoints from delegates, who represented a range of sectors and industries and included alumnae of the BoardAble programme itself, which will be run again this autumn.

Investing for Recovery: #OnAir with Rodney Hobson

Savvitas had the honour of welcoming #OnAir leading financial journalist and best-selling author Rodney Hobson in which he presented Investing for Recovery.

Rodney first took us back in 2008, and the subprime mortgage crisis; the crisis had repercussions, with the FTSE, and stock markets around the world experiencing a sharp decline. However, as a result of this crisis, a change took place and from the crisis until today we entered a golden age of investing’. According to Rodney, there are similarities between the 2008 crisis and the impact of the coronavirus at present. The FTSE can however cope with these crises.

What do we face now? The author explained that Brexit, Covid, our hope for the vaccine, and the US presidency, could give us an uncertain future. However, markets thrive on uncertainty. It’s what drives the market.

Although most shops had to close, along with restaurants and the hospitality industry, when they reopen people will spend again. This will help recovery. Banks now are stronger; they need to have reserves that enable them to withstand the pressures of a slowdown; and have been encouraged by government not to pay dividends.

So how important are dividends? Dividends are the point of investment. Dividends vary according to the vagaries of the share price; they allow the company to retain the cash needed to finance itself.

Concerning investments: To begin with, it may be wise to invest mainly in larger companies, then turn to smaller companies as one becomes more knowledgeable. Small businesses can be profitable of course, this represents the risks - ‘the bigger risk you take, the more money you may gain, or of course you may lose’.

In summary, ‘Start big and boring!’ always include some tech stocks in your portfolio, Rodney chooses technology companies that do something tangible, and decide the level of risk with which you’re comfortable.

Rodney is author of the best-selling ‘Shares Made Simple’, now reprinted three times, and the ‘Book of Scams. He has also published a successful series of ‘Inspector Paul Amos’ crime novels. See: http://rodneyhobson.co.uk/ @RodneyHobson

                                  Report by Ivrina Nivarosa, Savvitas International Intern Programme

New Year - New Name!

For the first #OnAir of 2021, Jill Pay reviewed the many highlights of 2020. Despite the restrictions of the current circumstances, Pink Shoe rose to the challenge and delivered a wide range of interactive sessions on a diverse variety of topics.

Before lockdown, in January thanks to Warwick Business School and the Enterprise Research Centre, we held our main event of the year. #FQ6, the latest FQ international forum at the Shard focused on Women in Business. With an exciting array of international speakers and delegates to discuss ideas and share opportunities for female founders and business leaders.

In February the BoardAble programme began, which was subsequently able to continue online. Ambassadors and Senators also attended events, including at the House of Lords, at Coutts, and again at the Shard.

However, with the arrival of the Covid, the network adapted. As a result, there have been many successful online discussions. These ‘OnAir’ sessions included talks from member authors, well being, mindfulness, financial management, and leadership, as well as art and fashion. For VEDay we shared family WW2 stories

There was the  very successful launch of the Savvitas NatWest Economic Blueprint White Paper (EB White Paper), which has been circulated to government along with private and third sector organisations. This was possible thanks to NatWest sponsorship. The White Paper and its Executive Summary are available online: https://www.savvitas.com/economic-blueprint

After an update on MP Heroes which will now take place later in 2021, Susan Greenwood, our new Deputy Chairman of the Savvitas Senate, discussed the different membership options as we move into the new brand.

Helene Martin Gee talked about the inaugural World Business Women Day, opened by former Prime Minister Theresa May and Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Group. A highly successful event with businesswomen from over 25 countries around the world attending. To build on this achievement the WBW Caucus was created which will meet on the second Tuesday of every second month, beginning in February.

Helene then outlined the exciting rebrand and reasons behind the new, global identity of Savvitas: 'Savvy Women Leaders with Gravitas' adding that some events such as the Soirees will remain under the Pink Shoe banner; while Savvitas will manage the many different programmes and activities for women leaders of all ages, abilities, cultures, sectors and backgrounds. 

It was also announced that Savvitas will appoint a number of Special Envoys, an honour for those who have contributed to the work of Pink Shoe, now Savvitas, over a number of years.

Report by Ivrina Nivarosa, Savvitas International Intern Programme.