On the 9th of March, Jessica Huie MBE and I hosted our annual Passion into Pounds event (inspiring women in business) in collaboration with The British Library to mark International Women’s Day. What a night it was! With a full-house and a killer panel, the energy was simply electric!
From L-R Jessica Huie MBE, Alison Jones, Natasha Courtenay-Smith, me and Jo Morell.
Jessica and I were joined one the night by a pioneering panel of women including Jo Morell, co-founder of The Pool and former MD of Bauer Publishing, Natasha Courtenay-Smith, journalist and author of The Million Pound Blog book and publishing guru, Alison Jones, whom unflinchingly shared their journeys to success informing and inspiring an auditorium of women and men, as well as thousands online and abroad with the event trending on Twitter . The night was recorded as well as being broadcast live to entrepreneurs across business centres in 8 African countries too as part of a partnership with The British Council.
What growth for an intimate workshop which started its life in collaboration with Stylist Magazine back in November 2015 as part of their Relaunch Your Lunch campaign, encouraging women to consider a career-change, in their lunch break.
Jessica shared her entrepreneurial journey, setting up Colorblind Cards, the first card range representing ethnic minorities to launching her PR company Jessica Huie Public Relations.
Sharing my own story from former filmmaker and TV Director to overcoming a traumatic birth and launching Honest Mum which led to my career as a full time blogger and vlogger, the purpose of the night was to help women feel confident to pivot, to embrace their creativity and tech in all its democratic and fulfilling glory.
Each expert spoke unflinchingly about overcoming adversity, finding their voice, growing in confidence, trusting their gut and discovering their tribe. Talk about girl power!
The panel shared how to make your passion into pounds and work on your own terms. Drawing on the women’s proven experience of taking ideas from concept to market, we pin pointed how and when to make the leap from employee to working for yourself, as well as how to leverage the digital space for business success.
Centre above, sees my friend, award winning blogger Swanny of Swanny.me in the audience and below brilliant women I’ve met thanks to blogging, my mates Joana Mateus of Mind the Mummy blog on the mike and Lucy Griffiths beside her.
Over the three hours, we covered how to master blogging and social media, build an authentic personal brand, write a book and get it published, secure clients and stand out in a crowded market.
As you can see, it was a lot of fun!
..And the audience was captivated.
There were questions from the floor and a Swap Shop style skillset auction where attendees would state what they were looking for in terms of business support and what they could offer someone in return so eg. ‘I need a website built and in return I can offer PR support’. It was a great way to pair future collaborators together and has worked incredibly well in previous years, too.
You will be able watch the session in full and also highlights from the night when the videos are live (I’ll return to embed them here) and I’ve included some of the event in my weekly vlog at the end of the post.
Jennifer Howse , co-founder of BritMums with Alison Jones
Here are some wonderful testimonials from the night which touched us:
‘Excellent event. There was something really special about women being the space and discussing business.’
‘Absolutely wonderful. What a great panel, and all so vibrant!’
‘Very inspirational and a real eye-opener. Could be the beginning of something great’.
‘Fantastic event with a good balance of practical advice and personal experience. Honest, inspirational and informative’.
‘A fabulous event. Insightful, generous and inspiring’.
Thank you to everyone who came and for all the support online too!
I’m going to rewind now, to share the wrap-around to the event as my time in London was such a joy and I wanted to combine my day and night in one post.
Cue flashback sequence…
Arriving from Leeds, my first stop was a light lunch with my literary agent Robyn Drury at my favourite French bistro: Aubaine Marylebone just off Marylebone High Street where, incidentally but poignantly, upstairs, Jessica and I had hosted our first Passion into Pounds workshop together.
Nestled on the corner of Moxton Street, the area fittingly always reminds me of backstreet bistros I love, in Cannes.
The sun even came out Southern France style for us too, which was a welcome surprise.
Arriving early, I sipped sparkling water with a slice of lemon as the sun kissed my cheeks before Robyn and I feasted on a hot tuna salad Nicoise and guinea fowl!
Fresh, delicious and always authentic French cuisine, Aubaine serves up traditional fare with a twist in the most enchanting of restaurant settings making it the perfect spot to catch up, relax and enjoy a glass of Prosecco, in too of course.
Robyn plumped for a piece of pistachio cake for desserts too.
Rushing due to being a little late from all of the fun stuff above at our ‘eating’, I hopped into a black cab and dashed over the Rosewood Hotel so my pal Jason Collier, hairstylist extraordinaire, could work his magic on my mane.
JC carefully added more highlights around my face, whilst my girl Lela London got a seriously gorgeous bouncy blow-dry in time for the British Library event.
Before we knew it, we were sat in the grand auditorium in the IP Business Centre at the British Library with the panel in full swing, a five camera set-up shooting us and a hundred-strong audience.
Thank you to Lela for kindly grabbing some of the footage of Jess and I in my weekly vlog below.
After the 3 hour workshop and the drinks reception (which featured hugs with a lot of remarkable women) we left bouncing on air, energised and utterly inspired, heading for our final stop: The Dorsett, Shepherd’s Bush for more wine (hic), room service and some sweet, sweet sleep.
Lela had stayed there just the week before and had kindly introduced me to the PR, arranging a sleepover for us for the night and it was the perfect girlie stay!
An 8-storey hotel situated in what was originally The Pavilion in a Grade II listed building overlooks Shepherd’s Bush Green and is not far from Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, where my eldest son, Oliver, was born.
A boutique-style hotel, the Dorsett exudes old school Hollywood glamour with it’s art deco styling, Audrey Hepburn prints, and chaise longues at every turn. Gorgeous. We awoke to baskets of buttery croissants, exotic fresh fruit salad and a fried English breakfast each, delivered with a smile to our room, which we greedily ate most of, before I’d had time to take pictures.
It was that good.
As was our stay.
Thank you to The Dorsett and thank you to my darling London for never disappointing!
Watch the promo from the night: