title bar

Creating Positive Footprints....

BoardAble Programme Spring 2018

The first session of the Spring BoardAble programme took place in Westminster with a very strong cohort. Delegates were challenged with an intense session and all proved more than capable of succeeeding, ably delivering the required outcomes.



















After the seminar delegates were joined by Pink Shoe Ambassadors for well-deserved Aperitivo drinks and networking.


Pink Shoe Senate

Jill Pay, Chairman of the Pink Shoe Senate chaired the first Senate meeting of the year and welcomed two new Senators whom we are sure will make a great contribution to the strategic growth and international outlook of Pink Shoe - Fiona Capstick, Associate Director at EY; and Laura Cordingley (nee Brown) from the Mayor's Office, who is shortly moving to take up the post of CEO at 'Chance to Shine' the MCC charity. 

They were joined by longstanding Senators Sue Lawton MBE, international womens' champion and a valued supporter of Pink Shoe; along with Elizabeth Crowther Hunt chairman of the Westminster Business Council; and Pink Shoe founder Helene Martin Gee.



After a highly productive meeting, in true Pink Shoe style we adjourned for a glass of Champagne.

Annual IWD Lecture at the House of Commons

Pink Shoe Ambassadors attended the annual IWD Lecture at the House of Commons. 


Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst gave an inspiring introduction. 

International development and women’s activist, author and adviser to CARE International, Helen spoke about her new book ‘Deeds not Words’ in which she writes the story of about women’s rights to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage.










Harriet Harman delivered the lecture, entitled ‘A Women's Work' she reflected on her time as a woman in Parliament and how the experience has changed since she was first elected in 1982 – with an increasin numbers of female MPs across all parties. 



Harriet also considered the pros and cons of all-women shortlists and their impact on female participation in politics.

IWD Afternoon Tea


In what has become an annual tradition, Pink Shoe Ambassadors were hosted by Lorely -Baroness Burt - at the House of Lords in honour of International Women's Day 2018. 

Lorely talked to us about her support of Karma Nirvana; founded by Jasvinder Sanghera CBE the charity is doing vital work to support potential victims of forced marriage and honour-based abuse. 

We all bought spoon badges, which signify the very practical step that girls can take to prevent having to get married against their will. See: https://www.karmanirvana.org.uk/




This year's IWD theme of #PressforProgress was the basis of our roundtable conversations as we explored how Pink Shoe is supporting and encouraging women through its wide range of activities and what more we can do in the future. 





NatWest 'Women of Influence' Dinner

Jill Pay and Helene Martin Gee were honoured to join Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise at NatWest, for the first 'Women of Influence' dinner held at Drummonds Bank in the sumptuous Trafalgar Room. 

It was a remarkable evening combining history, splendour and lively conversation over an excellent dinner.







Firstly, guests learned something of the long and renowned history of Drummonds, with its national and international royal customers through the centuries to the present day.

Dinner conversation focused on women in business and covered many topics including mentoring, investment for growth and the importance of networks.

EY Female Entrepreneurs' Dinner


Our founder Helene was delighted once again to be a guest of EY at this fascinating dinner discussion hosted by Jennifer Wytcherley and Joanna Santinon at 1 Lombard Street. 

Guests heard from former EY partner and founder of Endless, Garry Wilson about his fascinating journey to set up what is now a fully fledged private equity house, with almost £1bn of funds under investment having aquired 80 businesses. 


Garry gave a unique vision into what drives him and excellent insight from an investment perspective, along with top tips on how to secure investment for a growing business. Essential knowledge for anyone seeking to scale-up.



Launch of the Vote 100 Project


Helene Martin Gee and Jill Pay represented Pink Shoe at the official celebrations to launch Parliament’s Vote 100 project in Westminster Hall. 

The event was hosted by The Prime Minister (and Pink Shoe Patron!) Theresa May along with Mr Speaker and the Lord Speaker.



We were entertained by two excellent choirs then heard from Jordhi Nullatamby MYP who was awe inspiring with her confident and engaging words – a future leader for sure. 


Theresa May also inspired as she paid tribute to the women before us and the vital role we play today; followed by John Bercow MP then Lord Fowler who each honoured the importance of the occasion.



Many guests paid homage by wearing Suffragette colours and it was wonderful to see so many female Parliamentarians, past and present. 






Congratulatations to Melanie Unwin, Mari Takayanagi and colleagues who created the extraordinary Vote 100 project. 















Vote 100 events are taking place across the country and Pink Shoe will be involved with two EqualiTeas we're holding in June and July.



Vote 100 Aperitivo

At such an historic time with the centenary of the first women getting the vote we held  an extra special Aperitivo with our Ambassadors and guests. 

Aperitivo events are deliberately intimate as members thoroughly enjoy being able to spend a bit more time connecting with each other and sharing ideas. 

















This time it was essential as we visited the broom cupboard in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the House of Commons to see the space that Emily Wilding Davison occupied on Census night 1911.





A small and unprepossessing place, it really is a cupboard! A plaque now commemorates the spot and was put up ‘illegally’ by Tony Benn MP. Emily’s census form gives her postal address as 'Found hiding in crypt of Westminster Hall' with the date of 3/4/1911. We must revisit on the anniversary itself.

Some if us were also able to view the Acts themselves which were on display from the Act Room just for one day.








Economic Blueprint Board Meeting

Team EB met at Westminster to discuss progress and agree priority actions for the first half of 2018. With so much activity in all areas it was an exciting meeting.


Chaired by Jill Pay, key discussion points included a presentation from Jacqueline Winstanley on the Inclusivity Framework she has gifted to EB and which will apply across the entire Blueprint. The stages required to implement the framework were clarified with the board who will take it back to their respective groups. 



Sandy Meadows, Diana Chrouch, Almira Ross and Lola Owolabi reported that progress on the Know & Grow software has been dramatic with a pilot underway in partnership with Middlesex University. It was agreed to plan a soft launch for mid-2018.




Action points were captured by Lynn Turner and full outcomes and updates across the seven workstreams will be shared via a newsletter to be circulated at the end of Q1.





BoardAble Public Appointments Seminar


With its BoardAble programme and seminars Pink Shoe does its bit to encourage more women and under-represented groups to consider a Ministerial Public Appointment. 

The latest Seminar was well attended and a great session led by Helene Martin Gee and Vanda Green.





First, Katharine Purser Head of the Centre for Public Appointments at the Cabinet Office outlined the wide range of appointments available and shared with delegates the application process from start to finish and how the final decision is made by the Minsiter from a shortlist of ‘appointable candidates’. 

Katharine also encouraged delegates to sign up for the regular Public Appointments Newsletter which outlines latest roles.



We then heard from BoardAble Patron Sarah Anderson CBE, who has wide experience of chairing Appointments Panels. Sarah advised us of the vital importance of the supporting statement and summarised the points to cover. 

Giving an insight into the difference between the private and public sectors, Sarah advised delegates to persevere with applications; perhaps to start with roles such as School Governor and to think about the NHS who have a range of regional posts.





After Q&A Vanda Green led an interactive session with delegates who then enjoyed refreshments and networking to round off the event.






The next step is the full BoardAble programme which begins in March. Delegates were welcomed to apply for the course, which mirrors the application process of a Public Appointment. The programme is aimed at senior women and diverse candidates. It includes professional seminars and a unique one-to-one shadowing experience with a public appointee.

A well-deserved MBE for Loraine Midda

From the fashion business to becoming a successful entrepreneur with her own IT training company, to the House of Lords computer office and heading up members' services for the Parliamentary digital service; Loraine Midda has never done things by halves and the MBE awarded to Loraine in the Queen’s Birthday Honours reflects this.



Honoured for her contribution to IT, Loraine was also recognised for many years supporting and fundraising for Haven House Children’s Hospice. See: https://www.havenhouse.org.uk/

We’re delighted to add our sincere congratulations to Pink Shoe Ambassador Loraine, whom many members also know from being a wonderful host at some of our events.


Here is Loraine with Prince William at Buckingham Palace receiving her honour. 
And with some of the guests at her celebration party.





Karen Mattison on Flexible Working

It was a full house at the latest EY Women's Network event hosted by the inspiring Joanna Santinon as we heard from Karren Mattison MBE, co founder of Timewise, along with Andy Clewer of EY.




Rather than talking about part-time, calling this flexible working is more accurate and appealing explained Karen. 

With 650,000 flexible workers at all levels of career this is a trend that is growing strong right up to board level. 






And flexible working certainly isn't just for women as Andy Clewer was happy to tell us, extolling the benefits of his own part time career at EY.


For many roles flexible working is the future and the Timewise Power Part Time List of 50 inspiring part time leaders, from across industry, the public and third sectors perfectly demonstrates this.