title bar

Creating Positive Footprints....

International Biannual with WIL and Global WIN

At the House of Commons Attlee Suite, the WIL Biannual event was opened by PSC Founder Helene Martin Gee and Thaima Samman founder of WIL; then we heard from Helen Milby of GlobalWIN, welcoming over 100 international businesswomen and men.

The keynote speeches were given by Mary Macleod MP and US Commissioner Julie Brill.

The conference topic was ‘How to determine a company’s true value’. Full outcomes from the high powered discussions are being circulated.

During this amazing day we heard from some fascinating speakers, including: Pierre-Yves Cros, Chief Development Officer Capgemini; Laurence Capron, INSEAD Strategy Professor; Brigitte Dumont, Chief Officer, Group CSR Orange;  Paulina Dejmek-Hack, Cabinet Commissioner at the European Commission.

After an energizing morning of panel debate, we moved to the House of Lords for lunch hosted by Baroness Jenkin. 

This gave us the opportunity to mix with other delegates, gaining insights from the influential businesswomen, thought leaders and high ranking politicians from across the EU and US. 

Then it was back to the House of Commons for the next panel debate and some roundtable discussion on SMEs, brilliantly chaired by multi award-winning entrepreneur Katherine Corich of Sysdoc. 

At 4pm the event was eloquently closed by PSC Senate Chairman Jill Pay, before delegates were given guided tours of the Palace of Westminster.

Women's Talent Pool & Skype Reception

Women in leadership (WIL) held its Biannual meeting at Westminster in partnership with Pink Shoe Club and Washington’s Global WIN. Over two packed days in London, we joined with international delegates from across the EU and USA.

On Thursday afternoon the conference began with a great session on the ‘Women’s Talent Pool’ in House of Lords Committee Room 1. After a warm welcome from Baroness Howells of St David’s, we heard from WTP creator Elena Bonfiglioli, Senior Director Health EMEA, Microsoft. 

The inspiring speakers included Julie Brill, US Federal Trade Commissioner and prominent Author Avivah Wittenberg Cox. Then the first WTP cohort, having completed their year on the programme, reported on their experiences and welcomed the second intake for the 2014 Talent Pool.

Thanks to Global WIN, an evening reception was then held at Skype’s London HQ. Delegates were joined by business leaders including many Pink Shoe members.

With a keynote speech from Joanna Shields, CEO of Tech City.

Tessa Sanderson Reception

Pink Shoe Club supported its Patron Tessa Sanderson White CBE at a lunch reception for her Foundation. Held by permission of the Lord Speaker at the River Room, House of Lords the event was hosted by Baroness Howells, the charity’s Patron. 

Guests included Diane Abbott MP and Tessa's husband Densign White, along with leading sports people and young athletes from the Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy.

WIP Global Forum in Brussels

Pink Shoe Founder Helene Martin Gee attended the Women in Parliaments (WIP) Global Forum Annual Summit at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The event is attended by women from Parliaments around the world, with over 100 nations represented.

The aim was to advance the participation of women in Parliament and to address global challenges by using the collective strength and ability of women Parliamentarians. 

After a packed day of debate in the main chamber there was a stunning Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony at the Royal Museum of Art & History, supported by EY. Following the welcome, there was a keynote speech from Vivian Reding, VP of the European Commission, then Awards were presented for winners in 'Political Empowerment' and 'Closing the Gender Gap'. 

Recipients included Portia Simpson-Miller. PM of Jamaica; Donatille Mukabalosa, Speaker from Rwanda; Loren Legarda, Phillipines Senator; Eyglo Haroardottir Minsiter, Iceland.

Shell LiveWIRE Awards

One of the highlights of Global Entrepreneurship Week are the Shell LiveWIRE Awards.

Eight finalists are chosen from the 48 winners of the monthly LiveWIRE ‘Grand Ideas’ awards. Our very own Helene Martin Gee was a judge this year and she and her fellow judges had a hard time choosing from such innovative young entrepreneurs. Finalists showcase their business at the awards ceremony and guests are able to meet the entrepreneurs and hear more about each journey to success.

The energetic and inspiring MC was Saira Khan, who delighted the audience with her own stories of starting her business- including trips to the post office in pajamas!

Helene gave the audience a glimpse into the process of judging, and the inspiration the judges took from each finalist - they are selecting an entrepreneur not judging the business. 

The 2013 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year is Jerome Hagan, aged 24, founder of RevisionApp which has had over 1million downloads and launched just one year ago.

For the first time ever the judges requested a special Innovation Award, which Shell UK Chairman Ed Daniels presented to Arthur Kay, founder of bio-bean, which uses coffee grounds to create green bio-fuel.  

Clearly all the Finalists are winners and no doubt we'll be hearing a lot more from these awesome entrepreneurs!

interprise:13 GEW High Impact Award for 4th year!

A packed House of Lords room was the scene for the 7th annual ‘interprise’ event to Inspire Entrepreneurs to Take a Step Forward! In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Discussions followed the same format as stage I, held in Manchester in June. Delegates included business people of all ages and sectors, along with students from Woodside High in Haringey.

Earl of Erroll-Merlin-Chairman of the All-Party Group on Entrepreneurship, opened the event with a welcome for our keynote speaker, Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills & Enterprise.

The Minister displayed real understanding of all the many issues surrounding entrepreneurs and small business owners. At a time of record levels of UK business creation, he stressed the importance of perseverance and giving it a go ‘the real failure is not to try at all’. 

Matthew promised to listen to all the ideas delegates suggest, as he is keen for Government to continue its support for SMEs and reinforced the willingness to improve opportunities for those wishing to start a business.

Anne Marie Morris MP, Government’s South West Business Ambassador and Founder/Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Micro Business spoke briefly before dashing off to vote!

Helene Martin Gee and Jill Pay set the scene for the evening and questions were announced as delegates broke into discussion groups.

The Groups were chaired by Alison Loveday, Managing Partner of Berg in Manchester; 

Diane Shawe, CEO and Founder of the Academy of Vocational and Professional Training.

Matt Smith Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurs and co-founder & former policy director of NACUE; 

And Jenny Wardle, co-founder of sparkling wine boutique retailer Grays & Feather.

There was a real buzz in the room as discussions got underway. 

Once ideas were agreed for each group they were put to the dynamic Panel chaired by Sue Lawton, with Liesl Smith of the Federation of Small Businesses; Alex Mitchell, Founder of Young Brits and chairman, G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance; and Helene Martin Gee. Discussion then followed with more ideas being added and suggestions incorporated from the panel.

The final interprise Ideas included:

Embed enterprise in curriculum at age 7

Create a portal to link entrepreneurs of all ages to share skills & experience

Commission more positive media and TV  how about a ‘Strictly Come Business’ programme with helpful feedback for start-ups from experienced entrepreneurs

After a vote, the best idea was agreed as: Create open door regional peer2peer networks of SMEs to invest (cash/time/resources) in local start-ups

These ideas will be added to the outcomes from Manchester then presented to the Minister for consideration. 

PSC is thrilled to have been awarded GEW High Impact Award for the 4th year running!

PSC Women in Public Life Programme Launches

As part of its partnership with Parliament Week, Pink Shoe Club kicked off the Week with a ‘Women in Public Life’ luncheon at the House of Commons to launch its innovative Shadowing Scheme.  Conversation covered a variety of topics from exciting upcoming projects to empowering stories from club members. 

PSC founder Helene Martin Gee shared an overview of the ‘Take a Walk in My Shoes’ project she has created. 

Alongside the shadowing scheme, Una McBride has devised a video series. PSC is commissioning short films featuring women role models, all of whom will be interviewed by broadcaster Susan Bookbinder.

Focusing on its aim to promote hands-on experience alongside successful women, including Sarah Anderson CBE; Kate Barker CBE; Claire Ighodaro CBE; Anne Watts CBE; Sandi Rhys Jones OBE. These high profile role models will be shadowed by board-ready career women. The shadowing experience will be supported by professional workshops and other key activities.

Ling Tyler-Bennett went on to explain that the recruitment process includes a fair, open and objective assessment that takes into account both technical abilities and behavioural characteristics.  Having completed its feasibility study and planning stage but PSC is recruiting its pilot cohort of 5-6 candidates ready to begin the programme in January.

Vanda Green explained this is part of Pink Shoe’s commitment to supporting ‘lifelong development of women’. She further outlined the training, which includes four workshop sessions involving panel discussions and relevant talks such as the ‘Seven Principles of Public Life.’  Vanda emphasised PSC's high expectations and suggested applicants should only apply if they are poised to further their careers and potential through the programme.

Sharing personal insight, Jill Pay said that part of the responsibility of holding a public appointment is always giving back.  Also essential is to come to terms with the fact that you are in the public eye.  She then brought out what was a recurring theme during the luncheon: Women in public life must believe in themselves, because being in a public role implies that others have already placed their trust in you.

Guests, all women in senior roles, then heard from the indefatigable Sandi Rhys Jones, who shared her extensive experience as a board director in private, public and third sector organizations. Sandi had some excellent tips and said visibility is key when seeking that first role. She pointed out that the lovely room in which we were lunching had many august portraits from history – no one of them a woman. Sandi welcomed the PSC initiatives as she believes it will challenge ingrained behaviours of power holders.

Stella O'Brien from the Cabinet Office expressed Government’s keen intention for more women to take up public appointments. Her insights into the process were both interesting and enlightening as she explained the different areas of public appointments. As a first action, Stella provided ‘Public Appointments’ Information packs for guests to take.

Jill Pay then led roundtable debate in which members shared personal experiences specific to their area of expertise.  This showcased the wide range of PSC professionals and the empowerment of women in public life. Discussions overall highlighted self-belief and confidence, to take advantage of support that is offered and most importantly: never give up!

Parliament Week Launch

At the House of Commons we heard from many Parliamentary supporters of Parliament Week, which is on track to deliver the biggest and best selection of events ever in 2013. 

As a Partner in both the Women & Democracy and Business & Enterprise categories, Pink Shoe Club has a number of events lined up for Parliament Week, both in the week itself which starts on November 15th, and during December.

We were welcomed by the Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza who stressed the importance of engaging with as many people as possible. 

Lady D’Souza said that welcoming young people into Parliament is one of the most enjoyable parts of her role. 

Then Mr Speaker addressed the crowd, enthusiastically praising this year’s topic of Women and Democracy. Mary Macleod MP spoke warmly of how glad she was to see so many partners present and that she looked forward to an exciting week. We were especially delighted to hear this as Mary will open our own international conference in December!

There was then an opportunity to mingle and meet other Partners, as well as time to enjoy a sumptuous array of homemade cakes!

Enterprise Forum with Enterprise Research Centre

The latest Enterprise Forum roundtable was held at the House of Lords in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship and the Enterprise Research Centre. 'Turning fast growth into a habit – policy and finance reports'.

Delegates were welcomed by APPGE Chairman the Earl of Erroll.

Professor Stephen Roper and Professor Mark Hart then presented their research fndings and started discussion on one of the ERC ideas - a National Growth College. 

Sue Lawton then led the interactive and absorbing debate with many interesting points raised by delegates, especially Lorely Burt MP, and Anne Marie Morris MP who asked how this would impact on micro business. A full report is to be published by the APPGE.

At the reception afterwards the discussions and networking continued. 

Pink Shoe Ladies who Lunch

After the success of Pink Shoe's summer lunch programme, the intimate Founder’s lunches are proving very popular so will continue throughout the season. With numbers kept at no more than 8-10, all guests are able to get to know each other in the smaller group. 

Recently we spent a lovely Friday lunch sharing tasting platters at the Adjournment in the House of Commons with a great mix of long standing ambassadors and some fabulous potential new members.

Pink Shoe Foundation Inaugural Meeting

The first meeting of the proposed Pink Shoe Foundation was held at Westminster. The charity will aim to encourage and support the lifelong development of women via a range of activities.

The first three Trustees are all founder members of the Club. Vanda Green, Úna McBride and Ling Tyler-Bennett, along with PSC founder Helene Martin Gee and Senate Chairman Jill Pay, have identified the first project to help fulfil the club's maxim of 'Creating Positive Footprints'.

PSF kicks off with a role model reinforcement project: ‘Take a Walk in My Shoes’This is the Pink Shoe Shadowing Scheme for Women in Public life. It will involve a practical shadowing experience, with women wishing to contribute to public life shadowing those already in such a role, especially Ministerial Public Appointments. The shadowing is then supported by a series of workshops providing training and development for participants. The scheme will be launched at the House of Commons in November as part of PSF’s partnership with Parliament Week.

Splendours of the Commonwealth Fashion Show

Pink Shoe Club members were thrilled to be invited to launch London Fashion Week at the MayFair Hotel with Splendours of the Commonwealth Fashion Show in aid of the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund.

The event was brilliantly organized by Judith Fisher and Sue Lawton and the clothes were stunning!.

PSC Patron Tessa Sanderson White CBE was guest of honour along with Baroness Boothroyd, Ade Adepitan and Baroness Flather amongst others.

The evening started with a wow when we received a rousing traditional Maori welcome! 

Fashion was from hugely talented young Commonwealth designers Shipra Malhotra, Ekta Solanki, Duchess, Kitty Ferriera,  Tina Lobondi, Sika, Sunita Mukhi and the grande finale from Jenny Packham. 

All shown with great panache by an array of models from throughout the Commonwealth and compered by Russel Amerasekera. 

The evening was a huge success with a party atmosphere and super service from the hotel team. 

As we enjoyed the Champagne guests perused the silent auction with a range of art works contributed by many of the schools in the programme.  

We heard first hand just how important is the work of CCLEF. It sponsors bright girls to give them equal opportunities for secondary education in their own countries. So far over 3000 girls, have been helped and currently 397 girls across 25 Commonwealth countries are being supported. 

Pink Shoe Summer Soirée

The Summer Soirée was held at the House of Commons by kind invitation of Loraine Midda, PSC founder member and Officer of the House. 

The event was hosted by Helene Martin Gee and Jill Pay, with a wonderful group of Pink Shoe members and friends. 

Special welcome was given to Guest of Honour HH Princess Shahnaz Husain, as well as greeting many old friends plus some new faces whom we shall hope to see again. 

A balmy summer evening was enlivened by guests attired in their glamorous summer clothes to enjoy prosecco, Kent pear juice and a lavish buffet of seasonal goodies.

We were treated to an enthralling talk from House of Commons Librarian Melanie Unwin and Archivist Mari Takayanagi on sufragette Emily Wilding Davison whose centenary was in June.

Melanie outlined the suffragette movement itself and the many activities that suffragettes undertook to fight for the right to vote. 

We learned about the different areas of Parliament linked with these valiant suffragettes and were each given a useful map to plot these for ourselves. 

Mari then gave us an insight into just how much was done in this cause, with some amusing anecdotes such as hiding in a Parliamentary broom cupboard for the night of the official Census, to the horrific treatment of the women in prison when being force fed. 

Guests were able to view displays of historic documents, and had the option of taking a tour of Parliament afterwards to visit all the places mentioned.

The party then continued far later than planned, with guests captivated by fabulous food and fizz along with the great company of other members and friends.

Helene thanked the excellent speakers Melanie and Mari, and all the lovely guests, especially Princess Shahnaz who most generously gave each guest a special gift bag of her wonderful Auyervedic beauty products to take home.

We are delighted to announce that Princess Shahnaz will be sharing tips of her inspirational success. HH has agreed to give a special talk on her hugely successful international business exclusively to Pink Shoe members this autumn. 

Commonwealth Business Council Debrief

Helene Martin Gee and Jill Pay represented Pink Shoe Club along with Sue Lawton, Global Advisor to WEConnect International, at a Debriefing on the Women’s Affairs Ministerial Meeting, following the Women in Business roundtable at the Commonwealth’s 10th Women’s Affairs Ministerial Meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh this June.

The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) and the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE) are working together to create a roadmap for women’s economic empowerment which will be put to the Commonwealth summit meeting in Sri Lanka this November. 

The 3 key areas of focus, are i). women on boards and  executive positions; ii). women in trade and procurement; iii). women’s access to finance and skills.

A report has been published by the highly respected Dr Shaheena Janjuha-Jivraj of Henley Business School. 

Speakers included Nicky Morgan MP; Parliamentarian Rushanara Ali, and Arif Zaman, Adviser, South Asia and Corporate Governance and Chair of Commonwealth Businesswomen (CBW).

It was wholeheartedly agreed that women's economic empowerment is firmly on the
Commonwealth Ministerial agenda for the first time. 

As Nicky Morgan said ‘empowering women is a highly effective method of tackling deprivation and encouraging a strong economy’.

The Commonwealth theme for 2013 is Opportunity through Enterprise: unlocking potential with innovation and excellence. See: