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Celebrating and advancing women entrepreneurs


Yesterday we celebrated the eleventh annual NatWest everywoman Awards at the stunning Dorchester. A date that is firmly etched into many people’s minds as ‘the true start to Christmas’ this annual event is a celebration of the incredible female entrepreneurs whose passion, tenacity and talent is propelling them to success. This year was to be no exception. 

NatWest everywoman Awards winners 2013 

Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers really summed up the mood when she addressed the audience "Young women need strong role models in business” – it’s Awards like this that create these role models. And talking of role models, I was delighted to see Kelly Hoppen MBE receive the prestigious everywoman Ambassador Award – for a successful woman whose achievements and high profile are inspiring more young women to excel. Kelly epitomises this and is a real champion for British entrepreneurs. She encouraged the 300+ audience to ‘step outside the box’ – to think about what you can do to make your business better. As she says ‘if you love what you do...anything is achievable.'

The Spirit of everywoman Award went to Commander Ellie Ablett – this Award honours a woman whose determination, commitment and dedication has changed the landscape for women in business in the UK.  Ellie founded the Naval Servicewomen’s Network and is one of just 30 women to hold the rank of Commander in the Royal Navy, where she is currently leading the Logistics Department on board HMS Bulwark.  Just brilliant.

With the room buzzing, it was onto the main Awards presentation – with Awards compere for the day - Mary Nightingale, one of ITV’s best known reporters. From an online petfood business, a company specialising in roofing and cladding, a chocolate manufacturer, a company providing apps for people with disabilities to a comic book publisher for educating children - to name but a few, the 2013 winners were nothing short of exceptional.

It was then on to the final Award – the NatWest everywoman Award - recognising a woman who has overcome significant challenges to achieve outstanding business success. Our worthy winner for 2013 was Tracy Mort, aged 39, from Manchester who set up affordable luxury beauty business Grace Cole following redundancy. Since then she has grown it to a £10m business, having faced both professional hurdles and personal tragedy. Her true entrepreneurial spirit, passion and courage are incredible and her work ethic and bold determination to not give in when the going gets tough is truly inspiring.  

What struck me most about this year’s Awards (along with awe for these women) was how we often hear rather depressing statistics about women entrepreneurs and how few and far between they are. For me, these Awards really show how the tide is turning, with more and more women seeing setting up their businesses as a viable option. And with RBS research identifying that during the economic downturn we have seen an increase of 300,000 more women choosing self-employment there is little wonder that we received at record number of nominations in 2013!

I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to next year’s Awards already, I know there are yet more women entrepreneurs whose successes should, and will be, celebrated.


Women in advanced manufacturing and engineering fuel their ambition


“What fuels my career is my ambition” – Charlotte Tingley

Last Thursday saw everywoman host the inaugural everywoman in Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Leadership Academy – designed to inspire, motivate and connect women in the sector. Hosted at key partner the Royal Academy of Engineering’s stunning offices and with key partner GE, the Academy gave delegates the opportunity to hear from incredibly successful women in the sector as well as gain practical tips and tools to help support their
career development.everywoman in Advanced Manufacturing

Opening the Academy, everywoman co-founders Karen Gill
MBE and Max Benson MBE highlighted the stats I think we are all too aware of - women represent only 21%* of the total number of people working in Science, Engineering, Manufacturing and Technology industries. We need to make sure women are encouraged to join the industry and that we also retain those women who are already within it. That’s where advice and inspiration from women who have experienced stepping out of their comfort zone, taking risks, and propelling their careers forward, is absolutely essential.

Keynote speaker Jenny Body OBE, FRAeS  President of the Royal Aeronautical Society certainly knows about stepping out of her comfort zone. As the first female president of the Royal Aeronautical Society Jenny is one of the most experienced and successful female aeronautical engineers in Britain today. But how did she get where she is today in what is traditionally an industry where women are underrepresented?

Jenny shared with us her early love of maths and physics, and how her headmistress reacted at the time when she submitted her university application to do an engineering course – it was felt this was not a ‘nice job for a nice girl’. This didn’t deter Jenny who went on to do an undergraduate apprenticeship British Aerospace (now Airbus), the world’s leading commercial aircraft manufacturer.  As she describes, she hated the first day, the noise, being the only girl in an all male dominated environment – but by the second day she loved it – relishing the excitement of working in a team creating something so incredible.

Jenny stressed the need for technical expertise, that in order to understand Jenny Body OBEand lead teams
of engineers – having that ‘rucksack of experience’ is all-important. Having held increasing senior positions and leading large teams through her career Jenny firmly believes that ‘if you want to become an senior executive you need to be seen as one’ – sound advice. As she says ‘if you get offered an opportunity, take it – be known as someone who will say yes’. How we act can really influence how people see us and Jenny really brought this home. Visibility is key in any organisation, you have to get your name known, as she says ‘Promotion is less about who you know and more about who knows you'.

Driving your own career was a key theme throughout the day and Jenny imparted her thoughts on this stating ‘you and only you can decide if the job is right for you’. Stressing the importance of making your own career decisions, she also urged the audience to consider work life balance carefully. Her final advice was ‘I urge you all to be resilient and ambitious in your career choices' – fantastic advice from a woman whose tenacity and talent has made her the success that she is today.

It was then on to the lively panel debate – with fantastic participants at all stages of their careers. Moderated by Nuala Reid, EPC Planning and Project Services Leader, of GE Oil & Gas – Subsea Systems the panel allowed for plenty of time for the audience to ask key questions of the panelists. The theme of driving you own career and taking control continued, with Nuala’s top tip: ‘if you can’t tell me what you want, I can’t help you’ – sound advice.

Dr Nike Folayan, Systems Integration Consultant at Parsons Brinkerhoff shared her early love for finding out ‘how things work’ – a passion that was always inherent in her. A firm advocate and believer in the opportunities that exist for women she believes that women’s logic and understanding of processes are ideal for careers within manufacturing and engineering.

Sue Rogers, Global Project Organisation Planning Executive has worked within GE for 18 years and held a number of positions in GE Aviation, GE Healthcare and now GE Oil & Gas. So what has enabled her to move between these very different areas? Sue advised us to think about what we would learn functionally, strategically and from an industry perspective when taking on new roles. Moving between different areas is always a challenge at first and Sue's top tip to do this successfully was ‘build your reputation early on and ask questions’.

Michelle Vincent, General Manager, Unmanned Systems, of Cobham Mission Equipment has held a variety of positions throughout the company and shared with us how taking high risk roles was actually for her a turning point, and how she had turned around projects that were initially unsuccessful. The key she believes is ensuring that roles and projects that you take on will help to extend your network.

The importance of networking was echoed by Charlotte Tingley, Manufacturing Team Leader, of BAE Systems, who explained how important it has been to her career, enabling her to meet people in a similar situation, giving her greater confidence. And what about mentors, how important is it for women to have support of this nature? Nike has personally got much more her relationship with her mentor and explained that a mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be within the sector, but having someone to bounce ideas off and talk through any issues is invaluable.

The panel concluded with some great questions from an audience buzzing with ideas. Are women inherently more fearful in terms of career progression? And what can we do about this in terms of turning this around? Michelle Vincent advises ‘be analytical, stand back and think about your strengths not just weaknesses’.

But what we need of course is diversity and the thought leadership that comes from both women and men – as Nuala states ‘it’s diversity that makes the team succeed’.  What can we do to encourage more women into engineering? Sue Rogers believes that engagement from the very top and passion for diversity is what makes things happen. As she states ‘if we aren’t opening our eyes wide to the whole workforce, we are missing out’. It doesn’t matter how senior women are, as Nuala says ‘we all have something we can do’ in spreading the word.

Following lunch and some time to meet new contacts, it was on to the practical part of the day with the afternoon masterclasses.  ‘Perfecting your elevator pitch’ really taught us how to sell ourselves in the short time (around 30 seconds) that it takes to make a first impression. Whatever the situation – a networking event; meeting a client, a chance meeting with the CEO!, summing up what we do in an intriguing and unique way  makes people want to find out more. This isn’t something that necessarily comes easily to us but I know we all came out of the session with a much improved version, ready to try it out on people we meet.

The ‘Leadership and Career progression planning’ session with Nicky Moffat CBE  - who until December 2012 was the most senior serving officer in the British Army showed us how to really identify the attributes of a great leader, and focus on where we excel and where we need development.  She also showed us how be clear on where we want to be and to make a plan as to how to get there. Again, vocalising what we want is key, as she says ‘If you have an ambition, let people know’.

The day came to a close with a motivational session from Penny Mallory:  ‘World class Thinking, World Class behaviour’ which injected amazing energy into the end of the day. Penny got us all thinking about what being world class really means, and how actually, we all have the potential to achieve this. She encouraged the audience to peek above their comfort level from time to time… and see what happens!

All in all, a fabulous day with incredibly driven, talented women who I am quite sure will continue to fuel their ambitions. As Penny told us "open your minds today to the possibility of bigger things". I think the day inspired us all to do just that.



Are you a role model for women in technology?


Today we celebrate Ada Lovelace day – recognising the woman who is widely held to have been the first computer programmer.  The inspiration for this day came from psychologist Penelope Lockwood, who stated "Outstanding women can function as inspirational examples of success”. We couldn't agree more.  

FDM everywoman in Technology Awards

Research conducted by everywoman and Alexander Mann Solutions last year – Focus on the pipeline – identified that STEM has the highest number (80%) of female middle managers who want to progress their careers.  The flipside to this is that women currently hold less than one in five of all technology positions*.  It is certainly promising that women in STEM are ambitious, but work needs to be done to encourage more women into the sector.  

How can we ensure that inspirational women in STEM will follow in Ada’s footsteps?

Things have progressed and we see many more women thriving in technology careers – but more can and should be done...not just to attract but also to retain women in technology careers. 

One issue was touched on at a roundtable debate at the FDM everywoman in Technology Awards back in March which was attended by senior leaders and influencers in global technology organisations and the issue of returning to work after a break was discussed.  The consensus was that technology as a sector can be especially difficult to get back in to following a career break and the senior leaders agreed to continue to address this issue.  

everywoman research has identified four top elements that women need to have in place with to further their careers: mentoring, work-life balance, skills development and, importantly, access to role models.   

The FDM everywoman in Technology Awards help to solve the ‘access to role models’ element as they were created precisely to celebrate the most inspiring women in technology who are role models for other women in the industry, whether as founders of start-ups, leaders within global corporate organisations, or young high-fliers who are the IT stars of the future. 

Winners of these awards are the women driving innovation, pioneering new practices and fuelling the economy.  They encourage and inspire women already in the talent pipeline that it is possible to break down barriers and succeed, and are ideal role models for girls and women considering whether the technology industry is for them. These are the future Ada Lovelaces. 

Is this you, or someone you know? Can you help inspire and encourage other women?  

Our previous winners and finalists certainly do this.  Take Taylor McGhee as an example, cisco webwinner of the 2013 Rising Star of the Year Award.  Taylor joined the IBM Apprenticeship Scheme in 2011 at the age of 17, instead of taking the university route.  Award judges commented that Taylor’s boundless enthusiasm and phenomenal talent make her stand out above her years and she is a real ambassador for the industry.  

Role models can inspire at all levels – from entry level to director level, they all have their part to play. Why not play your part and nominate a woman you know, or even yourself today?  

Nominations are accepted until 18 November. If you or someone you know has been there, done it, and come out the other side as a success, get nominating – it is free to enter. With categories for rising stars, leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs – including a new start up founder of the year category – there is something for everyone.  

*e-skills, the UK Skills Council for Business and Information Technology

Women in technology - driving your ambition


Be visibly fabulous”

A fantastic piece of advice from Caroline Taylor, Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Citizenship, of IBM UK & Ireland – one of the many that really stuck with me at yesterday’s everywoman in Technology Leadership Academy  mg 0384 (2)with key partner IBM. Held at IBM Southbank, this was the second annual sell-out event of 2013, and what a great day it was.

Kicking off the day with their customary energy and clear passion for inspiring women, Karen and Max, co-founders of everywoman urged the audience to really make the most of this day to focus on themselves and to ‘let people know what you are great at’. Perhaps not something that comes naturally to us always, but throughout the day it was really apparent to me just how vital this is.

Jacqueline Davey, VP Sales & Transformation Server & Technology Group, Europe of IBM was first up with a lively and engaging keynote address. She started her career as a temporary secretary at IBM whilst on a gap year. Having studied English and History at university, Jacqueline soon realised that she loved the buzz and energy of the environment at IBM. She was initially surprised when someone suggested that she join the company as a permanent employee – coming from a non-technical background she never expected to thrive as she did.

I personally got a lot from Jacqueline’s insight and honest description of her career path. Her lessons learnt resonated with everyone ‘Take a risk and believe when people say you can do something’. Her incredible success really demonstrates how important this is.

‘Articulate what you want’ also really struck a chord. No manager has ESP! In order to succeed and progress we need to say what we want and where we want to be to really drive our own careers. Being visible is also key – being great at what you do sometimes isn’t enough – you need to be seen as being great as well – so when that next promotion comes up, you are front of mind. Jacqueline also shared her belief in being clear on priorities and boundaries, to successfully integrate work and life. 

Her final advice focused on how important it is to have a plan – something that isn’t always easy – but is so valuable. Do you have any skills gaps? Make a plan to plug these gaps and get the skills that you need. She also advised using networks to good effect – in the job you currently have but also the role you had before, and the one you aspire to. Equally important is to find out what you are known for - ‘Find out what you are passionate about and write it down!’.

Next up was the lively panel debate moderated by Caroline Taylor of IBM UK & Ireland, who reaffirmed the message of ‘Define who you are, dont let others define you’. Taking risks was again a theme that really shone through, as Eleni Antoniadou, Co-Founder at Transplants without Donors pointed out, it’s always worth believing you can make it - it’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and it not happen than to not be prepared and an opportunity to arise. Tamara Heber-Percy, Co-Founder and CTO, of Mr & Mrs Smith echoed this with her belief ‘embrace change and drive forward with confidence’.

Another theme that the panel discussed was that of flexibility – a hugely important factor in anyone’s career. Diana Kennedy, Head of Strategy and Architecture, Enterprise Systems, at BP expressed the importance of flexibility to her – to set boundaries for work and life and to stick to these. Successfully juggling family life and a highly senior role at BP, Diana really shows what can be achieved with determination and a plan. As she says ‘have a vision and believe you will make it’. Fantastic advice.

The panel closed with panellists sharing what advice they wished they had  mg 0387 (2)

been given early in their careers. Lucy Dimes, Former Chief Executive Officer, UK & Ireland, of Alcatel Lucent is a strong believer in having a vision: ‘Force yourself to live consciously... Take time to reflect and think about what you want’.

The panel closed with Caroline’s advice ‘It’s ok to trust your instinct’ – great advice and something I really took away from this discussion.

Following some valuable time to network and lunch, it was time to kick off with the afternoon masterclasses – interactive and practical skills development sessions. ‘Perfecting your elevator pitch’ really taught us how to sell ourselves in the short time (around 30 seconds) that it takes to make a first impression. Whatever the situation – a networking event; meeting a client, a chance meeting with the CEO!, summing up what we do in an intriguing and unique way  makes people want to find out more. Getting it right takes time but I know we all came out of the session with a much improved version, ready to try it out on people we meet.

The ‘Business of being creative’ session focused on how we can feed our creativity and how ultimately this can increase productivity. We came away with very real and achievable ideas on generating a more creative environment.

The day closed with Sally Kettle’s motivational session ‘No hope on the boat’. The first woman to row the Atlantic Ocean twice from East to West, Sally shared with us her experiences of spending six months at sea and the mental endurance needed to do so. Not unlike the world of business, Sally’s amusing and honest account of her adventures captured many key themes such as leadership, great teamwork and small acts of kindness to get us through the day. Oh, and a shark incident..!

All in all a great day with some brilliant speakers and fantastic interaction from all attendees who seem extremely determined to ‘take charge of their path to success'.  I think we all came away motivated and believing we can really fulfil our ambitions.

Work at something you are good at and love what you do’ was sound advice from Diana, really reaffirming how if you have passion for what you do, and are determined, success will follow.









Celebrating female talent and diversity in retail


“Innovative, tenacious, entrepreneurial. Women who are supportive of others and who lead by example’.

Last night I attended the inaugural Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassadors Ceremony and was wowed (and slightly humbled!) by the incredible achievements of some truly amazing women. These words,  spoken by Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers, for me really epitomise the women awarded Ambassador status. From fashion to food, homewares to the entertainment business – these women show the qualities that you need to succeed within the sector.

What struck me was how incredibly positive the atmosphere was in the room. Yes, the stats about the percentage of women at the top in retail can be bleak (despite the fact that 60% of retail employees are women, there is not enough female senior management.). However what came across was that with talent and determination, this trend can, and is being reversed.

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With the stunning setting at the Hilton Waldorf as the backdrop we had the pleasure of meeting both the ambassadors as well as some well known faces. Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE kicked off the evening with the keynote address that left us all smiling. She shared with us how she has grown up with the mantra from her parents that she can do anything – despite being paralysed at age seven. For someone who ‘never set out to be a role model’ her achievements which include a  Paralympics Medal tally of 11 gold, 4 silvers and 1 bronze – speak for themselves. A true role model for all women, whatever the sector, Tanni’s belief in ‘being the best you can and keep believing you're doing the right thing’ struck a chord with everyone. As she says ‘Don’t be afraid to try, we can make that difference’.

Following some fantastic entertainment from all female electric string quartet – Blayz, it was on to the unveiling of the 2013 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassadors. Introducing the first three ambassadors was author, designer and the newest ‘Dragon’ on Dragon’s Den – Kelly Hoppen MBE. Having had incredible success throughout her career, Kelly’s message was simple and credits much of her success to ‘jumping out of bed every day and loving what I do’. She urged the audience to ‘be unbelievably courageous' and ‘be passionate about what you do, be focused and inspirational’. As she put it ‘it’s not a man’s world, it’s our world’. Fabulous.

Our Ambassadors throughout the evening certainly brought the meaning of these words to life: ‘inspirational’; ‘passionate’ and ‘resilient’ being just a few of the adjectives to describe these role models, words which were echoed by the wonderful Amanda Wakeley OBE, fashion designer and winner of the 2012 everywoman Ambassador Award in the NatWest everywoman Awards who we welcomed to the stage to introduce the next few ambassadors. As she put it ‘Passion ignites inspiration’.

The ceremony was brought to an end with the unveiling of the Retail Ambassador of the Year 2013- Judith Batchelar, Director of Brand at Sainsbury’s. Accepting the accolade, Judith echoed the sentiment of Kelly earlier in the evening, stating that her success comes from doing a job she loves. Her advice for those women coming up through the ranks ‘be authentic, be yourself... be honest’.

The Spescavers everywoman in Retail Ambassadors for 2013 are all women who have done something extraordinary. Their backgrounds may be very different, and they range from women just a few years into a career to those that have been in retail for decades yet they all demonstrate the qualities that are needed to be a true success. 

Our aim for this programme was to give a comprehensive snapshot of what success looks like at all ages and stages of a career in retail, and across all divisions of the industry. Looking at our Ambassadors I know this has been achieved. Role models are not a set, defined type of person, with X years of experience, and it’s important that we remember this. Role Models have the ability to make a positive impact on those who see them from a distance; the young girl on work experience, the customer considering returning to work after a career break.  Role Models cast a long shadow.

Wendy Hallett MBE, founder of Hallett Retail and 2011 NatWest everywoman Award winner summed it up perfectly ‘Any woman, at any level can inspire’.

I can’t wait to hear more from these women and how they in turn are inspiring others.


Women in transport & logistics accelerate their career progression


Yesterday everywoman hosted the third annual everywoman in Transport & Logistics Leadership Academy – a day of networking, insight and inspiration. 

Karen Gill MBE and Maxine Benson MBE kicked off the day – urging the audietlacdemyresize3 0nce to take control of their careers and to use the day to help ‘unlock your own unique and amazing potential’.

It was then on to Carole Woodhead, CEO of Hermes who gave a fabulous keynote address. Carole is a true example of a woman who
has taken control of her career – to great effect. Sharing with the audience the highs (and some lows!) of her incredible career, we
got a fantastic sense of an authentic, credible and inspirational woman. Carole's insight and advice into being a leader includes: ‘show personality and what you are thinking – this is part of being a leader’.

Her ‘go get’ mentality was apparent from a young age – starting out managing a team in customer services at just 21 years old. A daunting task – one which she overcame by interacting naturally and gradually gaining buy in and support from her colleagues.

Carole shared some of her insight and experiences with the audience – she is a firm believer in stretching your comfort zone. Whatever you would rather not do, that’s the aspect you need to focus on. But she also advised us to be proud of our achievements: ‘to listen to the people around you and appreciate what you have done’. While luck always has a small part to play in our careers I think Carole’s belief in ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’ really rings true.

Next it was on to the panel session – a chance to hear from women within the sector and for the audience to pose some questions around how our panellists had accelerated their own careers. Jacqui Gavaghan, Performance Director at Reading Transport and Woman of the Year at the 2013 FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards made a huge change in her career – transferring her financial services skills to the transport sector. Not an easy task but as she says ‘it’s all about people’ – softer skills are essential as well. Her advice to those starting out: “Challenge, ask questions and don’t accept the status quo”.

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How to handle a crisis is an all important skill in any sector. Gail Jordan, General Manager of Asda Logistics Services highlighted that having trust in your team is
vital – but overall ‘know what is important for you and be kind to yourself’. One piece of advice that Gail also shared was the ‘choose your attitude’ – how you react to a situation really can affect its outcome. Simple but incredibly important and this really stuck with me.

We all face roadblocks in our career and getting past them is what counts. Danielle Kozlowska, Project Manager of Tesco Stores is a firm believer in focusing on the outcome and having a plan. When it comes to stepping up her advice is ‘Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen... you’ll often find it’s not that bad’.  Advice that I am sure we can all take onboard.

All in all a fantastic panel moderated by the engaging and lively Julie Maddocks, Head of Media Relations, Freight Transport Association.

Following lunchtime and the chance to get to know other attendees it was time for the afternoon masterclasses. ‘Promoting yourself’ with Jennifer Holloway really delved down into what makes each of us unique. We’ve all heard the saying that it takes just 11 seconds to form a first impression, but do we think about every aspect of our brand: our tone, body language – even the ring tone on your mobile phone creates an impression! If brand is what people say about us when we are not in the room, getting this right is vital and Jennifer’s session left us all buzzing with ideas and plans.

‘Preparing for tough conversations’ really delved into why we put off the conversations that quite frankly, we would rather not have… and just what the impact of doing this is – personally and on the business as a whole. 'Think about and prepare but don't dwell' on issues was a key message here – encouraging a real sense of perspective and giving an action plan to approach these situations.

The day came to a close with a motivational session from Penny Mallory:  ‘World class Thinking, World Class behaviour’ which injected amazing energy into the end of the day. Penny got us all thinking about what being world class really means, and how actually, we all have the potential to achieve this. She encouraged the audience to peek above their comfort level from time to time… and see what happens!

As Penny says we should all open our minds to the possibility that we can achieve what we want - which I think sums up the day perfectly.





Are you taking control of your career in transport and logistics?


Transport and Logistics

There are two sides to every story and when it comes to the flow of female talent in the transport and logistics pipeline, companies as well as individuals have a part to play.

Attracting women into transport and logistics

In May 2013, we held the second everywoman in transport and logistics roundtable debate with senior industry representatives, with a focus on moving on the gender diversity discussion and how the industry can attract and retain female talent. 

A simple change to the language used in recruitment, away from a male-bias, has seen some good results, but it is clear that the industry needs to capture the attention of young people early on, for example while girls are still at school.  There is a need to illustrate how exciting and rewarding a career in transport and logistics can be - the opportunities are certainly there, we just need to showcase them.

Retaining women in transport and logistics

It is vital for employers to retain female talent to for the benefit of the transport & logistics industry.  But how?  Initiatives such as industry-wide mentoring schemes are being looked at and the industry is working hard to create the right working environments that will encourage women, as well as men, to stay in the industry throughout the different stages of their life.  Is this enough?

Your decision to continue your career path in this industry depends on many factors and seeing other women progress and excel is key.  But you yourself also have a part to play - what are you doing to further your career in transport & logistics?  How are you taking control of your personal development to ensure you forge the career you want and deserve?

What can you do to further your career?

While the industry recognises that work still needs to be done to encourage and retain female talent, you yourself need to drive your personal development and career.

everywoman provides you with a suite of tools and opportunities to have the career inTransport and Logistics Academytransport and logistics that you love and deserve.  For example, the everywoman in Transport & Logistics Leadership Academy (Tuesday 10 September) is a whole day for you to focus attention on you.  The day is designed to motivate and encourage future female leaders and leave you eager to take your career to the next level.  You will spend the day with other women who are as determined as you to progress, and hear from the many speakers about the success they have achieved and how they have got to where they are today.

Remember: you can achieve what you want in transport and logistics, just be proactive and believe in yourself.

Please share your experiences about what attracted you to a career in transport and logistics.  What do you love about the industry? Have you faced any challenges on the way? We'd love to hear your comments so do share them with us...

How can we inspire more female entrepreneurs?


NatWest everywoman Award Winners.

To run a business needs grit, determination and commitment with perhaps a little bit of magic dust thrown in – passion, luck, self-belief, etc. I never cease to be impressed by the range of successful businesses run by women and how determined they are to succeed.

We have not long celebrated the 10th anniversary of the NatWest everywoman Awards which were established to recognise and award the achievements of Britain’s growing community of female business owners.  The special supplement created by the Financial Mail on Sunday last year reminded me of the passion, vision and enthusiasm of this country’s female entrepreneurs. This supplement featured previous winners - with a staggering array of businesses! These amazing women also have vastly different journeys that have got them to the point they are at today. What really stood out to me was that all these women persevered, they never gave up.

Over the last decade, the winning businesses ranged from campervan holidays to cardboard coffins, a vet offering weight-watching for overweight dogs to insurance for vintage motorbikes. The backgrounds of the women behind the businesses ranged from selling their home to raise start-up funding, coming back from receivership caused by a director embezzling £½million to reviving or starting a business after a husband’s death. As Awards patron, Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers, says: “Women are taking center stage. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do and, as the business landscape changes, the roles and aspirations of women are also adapting”.

What about you?

There are 620,000 majority women-owned businesses* in the UK, generating around £130 million in turnover. There have never been more female-run businesses in the UK and the NatWest everywoman Awards really contribute to getting the incredible stories of our winners and finalists out, and in turn helping other female entrepreneurs to learn from their experiences.

Just one example of the innovation and passion that these women share is 2012 Iris Award  winner Jess Butcher of Blippar. Blippar is a revolutionary visual discovery and augmented reality platform technology for smartphones. The ‘app’ enables users to engage with brands creatively, allowing them to blipp’ (having created the verb ‘to blip’)and instantly unlock real-world signage, ads, products and even buildings to experience innovative content directly on their phone.

Jess puts her success down to her less structured career path, which she initially thought Jess Butcher 2012 Iris Award winnermay hold her back. While many of her peers are MBA-educated, stereotypical ‘high achievers’, Jess’s personal entrepreneurialism, passion and non-conventional approach has resulted in a creative and innovative business like no other. This mobile phone application has gone more than viral, millions of people have used this fantastic app on their phone, and with the company going global – there seems to be no stopping Jess.

The Iris Award is awarded to the most inspirational and successful female entrepreneur who runs a technology business that makes a difference, provides real solutions in the world today and, ultimately, is instrumental in building a smarter planet. For all categories visit

Is 2013 your chance to shine?

You don't need to be running the biggest, most high profile business with a turnover in the billions to enter the NatWest everywoman Awards. These awards recognise the achievements of woman at every stage and size of business and exist to showcase what women can and do achieve. The deadline is rapidly approaching but you still have time to submit your entry, or one for someone you feel deserves to be recognised.

Entries close on Monday 15 July. Nominate at

Women entrepreneurs - getting the recognition you deserve



Past everywoman Award winners

Cast your mind back to the early days of your business when you won your first client / made your first sale, had your first glowing testimonial …  Can you remember the fantastic feeling? That feeling of knowing that all the hard work was worth it. Winning an award for the quality of your work is just as great a feeling. Winning an award for the business you have built up and sometimes lost sleep worrying about, is simply the best feeling.

Running your own business can be isolating and lonely at times with very few people to turn to for sanity checks or just to let you know if you are doing the right thing. Winning an award, or being a finalist, is confirmation that you are doing a great job.

The NatWest everywoman Awards recognise the achievements of women at every stage of business, not necessarily the biggest or longest standing, and showcase what women can and do achieve. There are enormous benefits to winning an award, both to you and your business.  I hear time and time again from our winners what their award means to them:

“Winning the NatWest everywoman Athena Award and being recognised as an inspirational business woman is an enormous honour”
     Julie Deane, The Cambridge Satchel Company
 “I think this award has, for the first time, made me stop and take stock  of what I have achieved, my perception of myself and the people who have   supported me on that journey..."
Liz Doogan-Hobbs MBE, Liz Hobbs Group

Even the process of completing the nomination form has benefits. You learn a lot from gathering the information you need to enter, as you look at your successes in a different way to how you do on a day-to-day basis.  For example, is your vision for the business on track?  Looking down on your business in this way easily enables you to see any changes you may need to make.

Personal benefits of winning an award

•    Is a badge of honour that you have done fantastic work
•    Increases your confidence in your abilities
•    Encourages you to go on and do bigger and better things

Business benefits of winning an award

•    Benchmarks your performance against the best
•    Increases your company profile through media coverage
•    Enhances credibility when pitching for new business

We know you are out there

With the number of people setting up their own business increasing by 367,000 since the start of the downturn in 2008 and 17% of business owners being women (*) we know there are a lot of businesswomen who should enter the NatWest everywoman Awards.

Enter the awards today for your chance to be recognised for your and your business’ success. Nominations close 8 July so don't miss out - nominate today.

* RBS Group: “Women in Enterprise – a different perspective”

Women in technology are taking charge of their path to success


Yesterday everywoman hosted the second everywoman in Technology Leadership Academy – held at the state of the art conference area at Cisco’s officleadershipes in Feltham. From the very start of the day the entire place was buzzing with energy and ideas. Having taken a day out of their busy schedules, these women were all clearly engaged and determined to truly take charge of their path to success.

The day opened with an address from everywoman founders Karen Gill MBE and Maxine  Benson MBE who urged the audience to really take the opportunity to network with others from outside of their own companies, and to ‘be inspired by each other’.

A fabulous keynote address by Anka Wittenberg, Global Diversity and Inclusion Officer, SAP kick started the day. Anka gave some incredible insight into how SAP has really embodied the concept of diversity driving innovation. With a workforce spanning 188 countries and a diverse client base, SAP simply has to reflect its customer base in order to be successful.  What was especially interesting was how as she says, employee engagement is directly linked to having gender balanced teams – making it even more of a business imperative. She also highlighted some of the fantastic work that SAP are doing with autistic children.

Celebrating diversity on all levels is key, as she said; "We have to think differently and rethink limiting beliefs" – women shouldn’t feel they have to behave like men to advance in their careers. Her personal story was also fascinating, from starting a business at the age of just 21, to having three children while fitting in studying at university, to her current role responsible for the development and implementation of SAP’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy globally.

Following on from this was a great panel with some lively debate and once again sound advice and experience from inspirational women. Heather Dunlop-Jones, Chief Technology Officer, IBM  stressed the need to focus on what we are good at – don’t discount ‘softer skills’ as they can really stand you in good stead. All agree that a good mentor was invaluable – someone who can really inspire and help with difficult decisions. As Jennifer Sheridan, CEO and Founder of Togeva explained however it is vital to get on well with your mentor, there has to be a synergy of ideas and outlook in order for it to work.

What are we truly known for? The panel touched on this issue which I personally found really interesting. As Jacqueline de Rojas, Vice President & General Manager UK & Ireland, CA Technologies put it, you have to “Decide what you want to be famous for”.  Spending time on yourself is essential in order to find direction.

Perhaps the most insightful piece however was when discussing what road blocks faced these successful women in the past – with a simple answer from Heather, backed by many of the others – that the biggest road block was them themselves – something I am sure am sure many of us can identify with. All in all, a great panel moderated by the engaging and lively Delyth Harris of Cisco.

Delyth Harris - Panel Moderator

Head of Solution Acceleration Partner Organisation, UK & Ireland, Cisco

- See more at:

Delyth Harris - Panel Moderator

Head of Solution Acceleration Partner Organisation, UK & Ireland, Cisco

- See more at:

Delyth Harris - Panel Moderator

Head of Solution Acceleration Partner Organisation, UK & Ireland, Cisco

- See more at:

Delyth Harris - Panel Moderator

Head of Solution Acceleration Partner Organisation, UK & Ireland, Cisco

- See more at:

Following lunchtime and fantastic networking it was time for the attendees to do some work themselves with the afternoon masterclasses. “Preparing for tough conversations” really delved into why we put off the conversations that quite frankly, we would rather not have… and just what the impact of doing this is – personally and on the business as a whole. “Think about but don't dwell” on issues was a key message here – encouraging a real sense of perspective.

Strategic Thinking for the female leader  stressed how simplicity is key and that effective leadership is all about vision. If we take the time to raise our heads and explore we can achieve so much more and what’s more, “Never ever make a decision under stress. Take a moment”.

The day came to a close with a motivational session from Penny Mallory:  “World class Thinking, World Class behaviour" which injected amazing energy into the end of the day. Penny got us all thinking about what being world class really means, and how actually, we all have the potential to be world class. She encouraged the audience to peek about their comfort level from time to time… and see what happens!

Attendees finished the day raring to go and with a real sense of purpose, which was fantastic to see. As our panellist Poonam Joshi, Head of Ad Operations, Gumtree  said “Women can achieve what they want in technology, they just need to believe”.

I think that sums it up perfectly.  

The next everywoman in Technology Leadership Academy will take place at IBM Southbank on 1 October. 

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