Telegraph’s Women Mean Business Conference; from Seagull Management, through Fashion to Funding.
On Tuesday, I had a return visit to The Telegraph’s Women Mean Business Conference having had a blast, been inspired and done a healthy dose of networking last year. Here goes with my top 10 takeouts and quotes from this stellar event;
1. The calibre of the speakers was world-class and the topics relevant and varied. There was, as is almost inevitable at such events, a touch of ‘group therapy’ about the event in places, however, for me, the overriding sentiment was of levity and a forward-looking, action-oriented positivity. When the audience was asked how many entrepreneurs there were amongst us, about 50% of the hands went up. Take that UK economy!
2. “America is too big, it needs editing,” observed the articulate and witty Tina Brown, “In many ways its easier to be successful as a business women in the US but it’s interesting that we’ve had two female PMs here in the UK and the US has yet to have one.”
3. “Our education system doesn’t teach entrepreneurialism. So entrepreneurs out there, go inspire and teach your kids!” said the pneumatic ‘hurricane Holly’ Ticker MBE co-founder Notonthehighstreet.com.
4. Holly was very quotable, “Every day that you’re not working towards your dream, is a waste. Life live with purpose but know your limits. What are you not prepared to risk?” Reminds me of another favourite motto of mine, ‘If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.’
5. Final quote from Holly, “VCs back in 2008 told us to leave the building, that ‘their wives’ did the shopping.” More fool them.
6. Ministerial address from the Rt Honourable Liz Truss, Minister for Women & Equalities, “Openness and transparency are our friend. New freedoms and flexibility in the workplace are good for female leaders and women entrepreneurs.” Good that she addressed the event but there was such a noticeable difference between the tone, passion and delivery of many of the trail-blazing leaders and entrepreneurs and, a serving politician.
7. That said, I thought the Rt Honourable Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, came across as very human and relatable. “The tide is slowly changing in terms of childcare and the division of labour in the home. I see more kids running round the chamber for example. Its up to men of my generation to lead the way.”
9. Guy Tolhurst, CEO Indagate Group Ltd, “I used to be very guilty of seagull management. I’d swoop in, crap on my team then leave.”
8. Samantha Cameron, founder Cefinn Studio, “As PMs wife there’s very little you’re actually obliged to do. I worked throughout the No.10 years even after our son died. It meant I got out of the Wesminster bubble.”
10. Finally, whilst I acknowledge there’s a way to go yet, I wanted to call-out the diversity in the room. I’d wager that there were more men there than last year and they were comfortable and visibly engaged, there was a degree of ethnic diversity, and, a really enriching mix of generations represented.
Is there an early bird discount available for next year??