Yesterday we had a fantastic turnout to help celebrate International Women's Day at the Leeds Club. Guests arrived to enjoy a meal and drinks and listen to our two guest speakers for the day. Laura Tenison MBE and Jacqui Miller-Charlton MBE joined us to share their insights about their lives as prominent business women.
Although from totally different sectors of the business world, Laura is managing director of JoJo Maman Bébé a well known maternity and children's wear brand focussing their business on pregnancy to pre-school and Jacqui from an international, but family-run business, specialising in the manufacture of parts for the construction industry, they both shared some common opinions about running successful businesses.
Laura shared what drove her to get out of bed in the morning. She very much feels like she has a duty to the people working for her and this is key to her business. Because of that she has a low staff turnover and offers great benefits (similar to the John Lewis ethos) including a 'bring your dog to work day', a garden in the grounds of the offices for all to tender and opportunities to grow within the business. She clearly focusses her time on the development of her employees rather than recruiting externally and this has paid-off as she explained that the business is currently trying to break into the American market. In amongst all this she also finds the time, and is very passionate about her charitable work. Whether that be building schools and providing ambulances in Mozambique or sending clothes to those in the world who need them most.
Jacqui talked about her life as a women in a very male dominated world and how difficult it had been with some of the scenarios she's faced, but 20+ years on she has definitely trail blazed the path for women and is passionate about encouraging females into the STEM industry. She talked about her international travel and gave her tips to keep it real - being authentic, never to over promise and under deliver and to lead by example.
The Q&A session opened up some interesting questions for the ladies to answer, including the guilt of having children and running very successful businesses, inspiring the next generation within the construction industry and why Laura decided to start a children's brand when she didn't have children.
One things is for sure, these women had a passion for what they do and it showed. They live and breathe business and we found it truly inspiring.
If you still want to get involved in celebrating International Women's Day and are close to London, join us on the 8th March. We have guest speaker Farzana Baduel joining us, she is Founder and Managing Director of Curzon PR, who I'm sure will also share some very interesting insights.