Sonia Brown MBE - BME Women in Business Forum, City Hall
On a mid-week evening after a long day of work the prospect of a long commute to sit in a room with strangers to be talked at is often the last thing on your mind however there is something about this forum that justifies the sacrifice. Part of that for me is the location, the 10 minute stroll it takes to get from London Bridge Station to City Hall if walked along the river offers up a feast of sights when arriving but the magic truly happens when leaving the forum as you are met with a city lit up alluding to tales of day that has been eventful.
The speakers for this forum included Baroness Verma of Leicestershire, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development with the panel made up of:
Claudine Reid MBE, Managing Director, PJ Group
Anne Wainwright, Franchisee MacDonald’s
Keely Deininger, Managing Director, Angel's Face
Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise, NatWest
Tim Rivett, Mentoring Manager, BBA
and a surprise visit from Boris Johnson
All equally passionate about their businesses, the panel offered up some great advice and motivation. The highlights for me however were Claudine Reid and Keely Deiningers talks.
Claudine Reid spoke of not being afraid to take your skill set and applying it to alternative industries to create new streams of income and how she was able to position herself as an authority in the field of SE irrespective of whatever market she was tapping into by remaining authentic to herself. She used a very fitting analogy of the phone and the camera and how these two seemingly unrelated things have been merged to create something which in today's society we can't live without.
Keely spoke of being driven by her passion to do what she loved to do which was to design and how while she didn't have the necessary skills sets or even a plan for her business she had a vision of what she wanted and simply worked hard at doing what she loved until she became successful. She stressed the importance of seizing every opportunity as and when it arose and that connecting with the right people and developing the right team would make all the difference to your business. When speaking on acquiring and building the right staff she cleverly said if in your team you have a round circle in a square peg politely help them to fit in somewhere else.
This was an evening truly well spent, I'm looking forward to attending the next one.