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Good news:I know what to do with my hands when delivering a speech thanks to firecracker of a speaker Esther Stanhope. I also know how to calm my pre-speech nerves and how to engage an audience.

Esther’s talk was entertaining interspersed with real nuggets to make public speaking far less of an ordeal.

My email: My goodness Esther, the room rocked! Feedback has been lyrical especially about armpits! But amid the fun were many tips to make everyone a better speaker. Thank you being brilliant - the room loved you and so did I.

Her email: Please do pass this to all the amazing women (And Jeff of course) : thank you for your kind words. I loved every moment of your lunch. I have a few ideas of how we might be able to raise more money too for your Start-Up Fund to help charities working to reintegrate people from prison.

Esther’s speech is captured by Gina Lazenby, the Network’s rapporteur:

An apology: For some reason I forgot to ask Networkers to move to other tables after the main course. I do this so you meet even more people. However, I know from feedback (some below) that Esther and Jeff Green made us think, laugh, engage and received targetted advice about public speaking and how to become a Non Executive Director. Plus many of you made potentially good contacts and maybe some new friends as well. Which is what this Network is all about.

My email to workshop facilitator Jeff Green: Your session was instructive, constructive and meaty showing clearly what to know, how to do and how to select the company. Many thanks for giving of your time.

Jeff’s email: Lady Val the response has been amazing. Everybody wants me to look at their CV, advise, restructure - and give them tips and help. I am getting through these as fast as I can but hopefully some NED’s will result.

Gina Lazenby, the Network’s rapporteur reports on Jeff’s session:

Networkers saw a video featuring an ex-offender at his research job with a City insurance company which has turned his life around.This is why our lunches donate a percentage from your booking. Now we are starting the Robin Corbett Start-Up Fund to help small charities struggling to continue their important rehabilitation work. If you can help by emailing me potential people/organisations to target for contributions, however small, I would be most grateful.

Some feedback

What a fabulous afternoon! I've been going to networking events for 30 years, and this was truly one of the best - fun, informal, informative and filled with a wonderfully eclectic mix of inspirational, high-calibre professional women.

Your icebreaker "How can I help you and how can you help me?" is a powerful line! Well, I believe you're already helping me as I made some valuable connections yesterday and I've found a networking group that I will prioritise in my diary. Thank you. So I would like to give one day of my time in April to your prison reform charity. This could be running a Stress Management session, a Wellbeing workshop, a session on Confidence and Presentation Skills, or some one-to-one wellbeing sessions for staff. Please let me know.” - Michelle Kay

Excellent lunch – both speakers were amazing. Esther’s talk should help the shrinking violets to stand up and speak, and Jeff gives us all hope to get that elusive first NED role. - Annick Devillard

Can’t thank you enough for organising such an excellent event. Look forward to seeing you soon. - Rani Bains

What a fabulous group of women! Thank you so much for the invitation, really enjoyed it and already have the next one in my diary! - Jules Parke-Robinson

Great lunch as always – an opportunity to meet inspiring women who are all there to help each other. - Meriet Duncan

Esther Stanhope was fabulous. Show those arm pits! - Anandi Francis

Eyes and teeth she said and POSE. - Adela Cebotari

It was a fabulous event! I look forward to attending many more! - Siobhan Stirling

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