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Be Bold For Change

Friday 10th March the day. The Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square the location for the Angela Mortimer Group’s 9th annual International Women’s Day lunch. Hosted by our co-founder and director Angela Mortimer, the lunch saw 270 guests generate a specifically vibrant atmosphere, and enjoy inspirational speeches from industry leaders from academia, beauty, journalism and business.

Twenty raffle prizes were kindly donated by clients, ranging from a Michael Kors bag, to a wellbeing hamper (worth over £500), to an overnight stay at Stapleford Park. As a result of this we were able to raise over £5,000 for our charity partner Wellbeing of Women.

Wellbeing of Women is a charity with over 50 years of funding and research history, dedicated to improving the health of women and their babies, making a difference to lives today and importantly tomorrow.

Professor Jane Sandall CBE was the first of our inspirational speakers to take to the stage. Recognised as a global leader in midwifery, Professor Sandall also plays a key role working along side Wellbeing of Women determining which areas of research their funding is allocated to. She has dedicated her life’s work to improving the quality of care for women during pregnancy, citing ‘consistent care’ as a matter of fundamental importance.

Women are 24% less likely to experience a pre term baby having been on the receiving end of consistent midwife care. Professor Sandall ended by paying homage to Wellbeing of Women for the enormous difference they make to so many women’s life, commenting that many within the room would already have benefited from the results of their pioneering research and anyone that hadn’t would do at some point in the future.

Professor Sandall was followed by entrepreneur Michelle Feeney who wowed (pardon the pun) the audience with the inspiring details of her career. Starting out by saying she didn’t take herself seriously until she was 30, Michelle spoke of how the experience of delivering her first son in a Law & Order esque NYC hospital gave her the drive to succeed and never be in a position where she couldn’t afford healthcare for her son.

Michelle took a top job with Estee Lauder before being charged with building the MAC brand globally. Having successfully done so she became CEO of St Tropez where she changed the brand perception, from that of being just ‘fake tan’ to a product that enhanced women’s ‘self esteem’, a far more powerful message indeed. Michelle closed by urging the women in attendance to not have too much of a plan but to always believe in themselves!

Cath Kidston MBE was next to take the stage and explained to the attentive audience how she went from having one shop in Holland Park to a globally renowned brand. Cath Kidston is the brand and ‘I’m just one of them’, she exclaimed. Having come from a self professed ‘privileged’ background Cath started her business aged 34 as a ‘glorified down to earth junk shop’. Despite being nervous about her lack of qualifications Cath took strength from the fact she already had 30 years retail experience having set up her first shop in the back garden aged 4.

Continually mentioning her fear of being ‘found out’ Cath has managed to grow her business slowly to over 250 stores worldwide, becoming globally renowned in the process. She finished with a touching story from her gap year, of an elderly gentlemen who mentioned to her that she looked ‘tired from not working’ having been two years away from the business.

Eve Pollard OBE was our final inspirational speaker injecting rapturous humour to proceedings, initially mentioning how worried she was that Melania and Ivanka weren’t sufficiently tending to Michelle’s fruit and veg patch at the White House. Despite the regular laughter Eve managed put across a number of extremely powerful messages. Firstly, we are living in a rapidly changing world and that the women in the room must be prepared to evolve and work hard in order to keep up.

Life is going to be tough over the next few years, especially because of the uncertainty around Brexit, so women need to avoid their ‘inner critics’, be financially cute and on that note not be afraid to ask for more money! Eve ended with stirring words for Wellbeing of Women, stating they were the most important charity for women taking care from the cradle right through to the close.

The Angela Mortimer Group would like to thank all the guests that attended and contributed to making #AMIWD17 such a special and empowering occasion. Also to those that gifted raffle prizes enabling us to raise such a large sum (our largest to date) for Wellbeing of Women. Lastly thanks to our charity partner Wellbeing of Women for their tireless efforts fundraising, researching and executing vital projects that protect the health of women and their babies both in the UK and around the world.

Angela has been speaking this week at a conference in Copenhagen about the advent of Data Technology, Artificial Intelligence and the impact those factors will have on the role of the Executive and Personal Assistant. Angela will be donating her £500 speaker’s fee to the sum the Group raised on 10.03.17.

Ben Ryder-Smith

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