29 November 2018
Toasting our 13th birthday with cake and bubbly
All photographs: firstname.lastname@example.org
The network’s 13th birthday party could not have gone better. We toasted the occasion with glasses of Prosecco; I blew out candles on a birthday (carrot) cake, we sang Happy Birthday of course and I was given flowers from Giovanna, a silver Christmas spoon from Clare and eyelash serum from Jacqui (because I admired her lashes at the last lunch!)
The buzzy atmosphere with the sound of 100 women in the room laughing (which they did often) was a blast. We also toasted the round-the-world yachts woman Tracy Edwards who was disappointed not to be at the lunch, but she had a great excuse. Her Maiden documentary had been chosen for the Sundance Film Festival and she was busy with interviews.
A standing ovation for Dame Stella
One of the networkers told me how much she admired Dame Stella’s ‘get on with it’ attitude. The feeling appears to be mutual:
From Dame Stella responding to my thank-you email:
“It was a total pleasure so thank you very much for inviting me. What a charming and inspiring bunch of women you have gathered up; it warms the heart to see and hear them all getting on with their own thing. No moaning Minnies there. Good luck to you all. May the network prosper. And have a lovely Christmas and a great new year.“
Dame Stella’s talk about her experiences in the intelligence service rising to become the first female Director General of MI5 was riveting. Her career was so much out of our experience and the matter-of-fact way she described intriguing events had us all fascinated. The Q and A session extracted interesting observations – such as the cyber war is far more threatening than any conflict on the ground. That there are as many spies around the world than in the Cold War. And on a lighter note, her daughter telling her that Judi Dench playing M had the same hair style and clothes! (Alas though they might have copied her style M and James Bond work for MI6.)
Gina Lazenby has written a blog on Dame Stella's talk:
Thanks to the team who help our lunches run smoothly: Above: With Lady Val and Dame Stella are: Annick Devillard, MD of Rooster PR: Marianne Hartley, MD Hartley & Soul branding experts; Sorcha Rogers MD Sorchara events (she showed us what she can do with levitating balls - below) and Rosemary Smith, business driver;
I presented them with Charbonnel et Walker little handbags which contained high-heeled chocolate shoes. Unforgivably I omitted to give one to Patricia Rayner, MD Image2 photo, our photographer. (Have posted to her.)
We had interesting pitches from internet dating to an engagement after knowing the man for 4 hours to a story about a networker reminiscing on giving Dame Stella a lift to Berlin airport. Then after the lunch we had the workshop …
Gina Lazenby's Women's Gathering workshop divided us into small groups sitting in a cricle (below). We had two minutes each to describe ourselves and what we wanted to change in our lives. Some netrworkers had never met before and in a short time, found both commonality and some interesting attitudes. When we all got together at the end we unanimously decided women's gatherings were useful in empowering women to take more control. They opened our eyes to the way we could build a circle of trust within our community.
Gina has added a fuller explanation
- “What a blast! What a rockingly good lunch. What fantastic women. How incredible to hear Stella Rimington speak and answer questions so candidly. I will return and would like to bring one or two others with me if I may?” (Yes if they are senior execs, entrepreneurs or business owners)
- “What a truly memorable lunch ! I loved every minute of it - thank you so much for including me. Hope you are putting your feet up and feeling very proud of what you have achieved. I was so impressed by Dame Stella Rimington - what an inspiring woman”
- “I already have meetings arranged with a couple of wonderful women I met yesterday.”
- "Honestly, it was the best event I have been to on many levels but Stella was so brilliant. What a life, and what a woman!"
- “What a fabulous event - a collection of amazing women and WHAT a wonderful speaker! Thank you so much for your straightforward honesty and graciousness - I can’t tell you how encouraging I find it - and just for being real.”
- “Thank you for a lovely lunch and incredible speaker.”
- “How much fun was that? I had a great time at your lunch and met some amazing people! Thank you so much.”
- “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women’. Madeleine Albright. You have to love a network which uses this as their motto. I attended the amazing 13th anniversary lunch hosted by Lady Val Corbett. We were all captivated by the inspiring keynote from Dame Stella Rimington. I also really enjoyed the workshop from Gina Lazenby. If you are looking for a supportive and no-fluff network of collaborative and engaged women, check out the next event on February 28th.”
- “A brilliant event, fantastic company and an outstanding speaker in Dame Stella Rimington.”
- “Thank you lady Val for a wonderful inspiring lunch - the speakers, food, customer service & attendees were amazing - happy 13th birthday”
- “Once again an excellent executive ladies networking lunch. New contacts made. Great to hear Dame Stella Rimington talk about her journey. Very inspiring.”
- “Thank you to Lady Val for another amazing Network lunch. Dame Stella Rimington was utterly fascinating. Yet again met some fantastic women and thoroughly enjoyed their company. Looking forward to the next event in February”
27 September 2018
Kate Robertson Co-founder One Young World
You could have heard a pin drop while Kate Robertson, our keynote speaker, was talking. Co-founder of One Young World, she spoke about making the world a better place through emerging young leaders. Every year One Young World invites future leaders from 195 countries to collaborate, connect and listen to inspirational opinion-formers like, Archbishop Tutu, Bill Clinton and CEO‘s of international companies. Last year they met in Bogota, Columbia, this year The Hague, Holland and next year London. Have a look at this video which brought tears to my eyes:
Roz Morris our workshop facilitator demonstrated how business videos could be improved which advice which had us talking into our phones about our business. We could then see what needed to be done to make a video showing performer and business in a better light. Roz is MD of TV News London and has helped hundreds to up their game to make them look and sound professional.
Having a post-lunch laugh
Lady Val with Kate Robertson and workshop facilitator Roz Morris
Workshop in action
- "What an amazing network! I have made some fantastic contacts and cannot wait for November’s meet up."
- "I met so many positive people and felt totally inspired by Kate Robertson’s talk and I took some really handy hints away from Roz. Both made me feel I wanted to up my own game"
- "Thank you for gathering in a room so much feminine talent! We just finished and I can’t wait for the next lunch"
- "Yet another fabulous Network lunch. The speaker and workshop facilitator were as awesome, inspirational and as fantastic as they always are. You are the epitome of a gracious inspirational hostess and your super support team are always welcoming to new ladies and returners alike. It was wonderful connecting with old friends and making new connections. A room full of amazing talented and beautiful ladies. Already looking forward to the next lunch in November."
- "What you have created is unique and special. You successfully champion women’s achievements in a way that inspires other women, rather than makes them feel threatened by the incredible talents of the women around them. I am always in awe of the tremendous achievements of the women at your lunches, but it never makes me feel awkward or out of my depth- it simply reinforces the notion that we are all capable of achieving outstanding things. It motivates me to keep plugging away. This is in no small part due to your warmth, humour and welcoming nature. A tribe takes its cue from its leader."
- "An honour to be part of your network Lady Val. I feel fortunate to be literally surrounded by such a high calibre of feminine talent. See you in November."
- "An amazingly inspirational speaker - hard to believe that Kate Robertson, co-founder of One Young World had just flown in from NYC! - and a workshop led by Roz Morris full of practical tips! We are all going to look and sound so good on camera!"
- "Thank you for giving us all an opportunity to collaborate and support each other. I loved it and look forward to the next meeting. With love from one woman to another who is trying to create a better world."
- "Excellent speaker and enriching conversation. Will certainly go again. Join us if you want to meet people who #makeadifference"
- "Delighted to have attended your supportive, diverse, warm, vibrant network lunch with inspirational speakers & workshop leaders"
- "Another inspiring talk, another fantastic workshop. I come away from these lunches upbeat and positive - motivated, caring and intelligent women from diverse backgrounds, at different stages of life. We rock!"
- "I was delighted with Lady Val's lunch and will certainly return. Such a group of vibrant and talented ladies in one room together with an insightful presentation from Kate Robertson, founder of One Young World."
14 June 2018
Amazing speaker and a great role model
Our speaker, Claire Enders, Enders Analysis has never spoken about her personal life concentrating obviously on the business when she regularly appears on TV and radio. But I wanted to know how she got from there to here - top of the tree in her field with over 200 blue chip companies as clients. So (I think fairly reluctantly) she agreed. And told us a fascinating story about her childhood, her father whose main aim was the education of his children, her identical twin sister who works in the business and her and Claire's rather chequered relationship life. Networkers found her talk fascinating and who knows maybe it was even cathartic for her.
The workshop by actor Annie Farr was a blast. She had us learning the skills of good presentation - sitting, standing, talking - while making us laugh at the same time. Annie had to step in at the last minute as Sally Hindmarch was unable to be with us and we are grateful to her for giving of her time and more importantly, of her talent. Her lesson has taken root -- you will notice at the next lunch how I add more pauses to my words!
- "I've made some very good contacts at recent lunches and as a result we have a number of potential collaborations on the cards. It's all very exciting."
- "Thank you so much for yet another fabulous Network lunch, you are a true woman of substance. Claire Enders our guest speaker was truly inspirational. Annie Farr our workshop leader - well, best workshop for me this year. Thank you for a great interactive session. Thank you also to the wonderful. amazing, talented & gorgeous ladies I lunched with, Keep sparkling, you are all fabulous. I always come away feeling so privileged to be part of this amazing network.
- "I was amazed by the elegant venue, the talented speaker (Claire Enders), the guests and the fun and well-structured workshop at the end with Annie Farr, which proved to be very helpful later when I had to sing "The March of the Women" a cappella for an audience in celebration of 100 Years of Women's vote. I would like to pitch at the next event on the 27th of September."
- "I love that you tell jokes! It's great. I'm most likely to be in Berlin on September 27 but I've put 29 November in my calendar."
- "Thank you so much for the networking lunch - it was the first time I'd attended and I think it's a brilliant ideal There was such a range of different people in the room which I would never usually have the opportunity to meet and I had some really useful conversations - and I found Claire's speech fascinating and inspiring."
26 April 2018
Our speaker, the inspirational women's empowerment champion Yvonne Thompson CBE …
…. started her talk with this quote: "Between stimulus and response - in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom." Yvonne thinks we should all have a personal blog with links to the business website which she says brings both recognition and potential business. She gave some fascinating stats : 65% of employees would forgo a pay rise to see their boss fired! There are more Camillas on Boards than any other name; only 77% of leaders were doing a good job. Her message was you cannot lead others unless you lead yourself and this starts in the mind. Which was a good introduction to our workshop.
Impressive workshop facilitators Louise Chester and Tamzin Muir …
… kept networkers totally engaged making copious notes about with mindfulness tips on how to handle stress more effectively. And with compassion and kindness, We had practical lessons plus case histories - the company of the CEO following this advice has had the best quarter's results ever. The important traits are be of service to colleagues and company and compassion - care for yourself. They also gave us the ten minute mindfulness exercise which I am following. If you practice this daily for 4 weeks you will see the difference.
- "I regularly attend a number of networking events, and the lunch yesterday was unquestionably the most fun, with the most interesting cross section of women."
- “Such a joy to attend your lunches - the happy fizz in the room - like champagne bubbles gently sparkling in the flute glass - remains with one long after the event has finished..”
- "Last year I attended your network workshop hosted by Lauren Ahluwalia about LinkedIn and Twitter. We got in touch before the day through the guest list you send out in advance of the lunch and stayed in contact afterwards. You may recall that Lauren was one of only 8 accredited 'She Means Business' Facebook Trainers in the UK in association with Enterprise Nation. When Enterprise Nation were looking to increase the number of trainers for 2018 in order to get a wider reach - Lauren kindly recommended me! So thanks to her (& you) I'm now one of 25 accredited Facebook 'She Means Business' Trainers. This opportunity has increased my confidence and brand awareness and no doubt it will lead to clients in the future. A HUGE thank you to Lady Val's Professional Women's Network for creating this inclusive and supportive network."
- “I thought Tamsin and Louise did a superb workshop and although I struggle a little to get my head around this wellbeing stuff I can admire the work they are doing. Too many bullies at the top so their compassion and kindness project is to be admired. Think their credibility speaks volumes in relation to their success as well.”
- “Thank you again for the most amazing luncheon, speaker and powerful business women around the room. And a special thank you for your encouragement to speak to the Princess. Her contacts will be numerous and having wanted to get back into the Middle East to work with women, Princess Basma was the ideal person for me to have a word with. The outcome is that she is willing to help and would like me to contact her at the end of May. Huge thank you Val.”
- "I was nervous about coming in yesterday, but I left so happy. It was lovely to meet you yesterday; I was in awe of all the lovely ladies there- I left so inspired. So inspired really, that I signed up to half a marathon for October this year. And I hate running!
- “Heartfelt thanks Lady Val, our wonderful speaker Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE, our workshop facilitators Louise Chester & Tamzin and to all the amazing talented beautiful ladies who I networked with today for another fabulous inspirational lunch. Sitting on the train home with a positive glow around me and smiling at my fellow passengers who probably think I am either mentally disturbed or from an alien planet but it’s my mission to spread the positive vibes anyway. I feel truly privileged to be a part of this amazing network.”
- “I was at the lunch on 26th April, 2018; and I still can't stop thinking/ talking about it. Lady Val, I think you are exceptionally amazing. Thank you very much! And all the other amazing ladies I met on the day - wow. I can't wait for the next one!”
- “It was a total joy to be with you all. I can trace so many of my opportunities and friendships back to your lunches, Val. And so it was great to have the opportunity to pay it back and forward this way.” (from Louise Chester, workshop facilitator)
28 February 2018
Vicky Pryce - When life throws you a curveball
I asked Vicky Pryce if, standing in the dock hearing she had to go to prison, had she been angry. She said no, as it was a wasted emotion - I would have been ranting. Her talk was therefore inspirational and the audience was riveted at this positive attitude throughout her prison term - where she slept very well throughout, made friends - some of whom still come to her parties - learned a great deal about herself and about prison reform. She was outspoken about the need for fewer women to be imprisoned - the cost of social services looking after their children far outweighs the cost of prison which costs each of us £40,000 per prisoner per a year - more than public school fees. See part of Vicky’s talk in the video below.
- "It was a stellar event and Vicky's perspective was interesting. I had heard her before, and remember her as much harder-hitting and less forgiving. She was a very different person at the lunch, so perhaps prison has had a positive effect. Thanks again and hope to be there on April 26."
- "As always Val, a wonderful way to meet inspiring, successful people. Great to hear the talk by Vicky Pryce and I bought her book Prisonomics', a book analysing the cost of prison not only to the economy but also to the female 'residents' within prison. Jayne Constantinis also gave us all food for thought with her presentation."
- "Fantastic event. Brilliant talks and inspiring too. My first event but it will be the first of many."
- "Thank you Lady Val, for another great event. Economist Vicky Pryce’s talk was inspirational, to say the least! I was particular moved by the lack of bitterness in her heart - It is something from which we can all learn."
- "You are such a good host - we all enjoyed your funny management course. Keep them coming!"
- "Many thanks for organising such an interesting lunch yesterday. I was pleased to have the opportunity to hear Vicky Pryce and I thought Jayne's workshop was excellent. A great combo for me and also the chance to meet so many really interesting people."
- "Thank you for a great lunch and gathering an inspiring bunch of individuals together. I enjoyed the whole event enormously and it was very well run."
16 November 2017
Our buzzy, sparkling 12th Birthday Lunch!
Networkers toasted our birthday (a few times!) and Tracy Edward's speech was both amusing but above all empowering and inspirational. Feedback by email and on twitter has been lyrical .. just a few comments:
- Inspirational, courageous, witty, with vision, now giving back – what a woman!
- Thank you for a fabulous luncheon today, milady. Such a treat...and pleasure too. Tracy was utterly magnetic !
- just wanted to thank you for a very lovely lunch today. I met some fabulous ladies, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Tracy Edwards, the food was delicious and I thought your jokes were very funny.
- It’s not often that I’m truly inspired by another person or would like to achieve what they have but Tracy Edwards MBE your story, humour & vision really resonated with me.
- It was a real joy to connect with so many like-spirited women and so synchronously, I managed to ‘accidentally’ sit next to someone with whom, from their description, I might not have thought there was any commonality, When we talked, however, it became clear we were totally on the same wavelength and she has asked me to support her - informally - as a sounding board as her exciting innovative business expands. Many grateful thanks for the opportunity of meeting you and all the other inspirational ladies yesterday. Together it is our role to influence positive change in our world.
- Tracy Edwards was a wonderful speaker and certainly ignited the passion, unity and drive for us all and certainly gave me something positive to come away with. As always, I really had fun engaging and being part of this event with such warm, talented and gorgeous women.
In Tracy's own words: " Well the pleasure was all mine. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the lunch, the company and the buzz!! I came back to the office with renewed energy. I do look forward to seeing you all again"
Our next lunch is on February 28 (Browns do maintenance work during January). Speaker is Vicky Pryce a top economist who was sent to prison for 9 weeks for taking her then-husband's speeding points. Topic: what happens when life throws you a curve ball. Booking opens mid-January.
Till then have a relaxing festive season (if you can)
28 September 2017
Amazing speaker and a great role model
From Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith: "I was inspired by your network and all you do and it made me realise I need to do even more! Thank you for asking me and I felt honoured to be there."
- Ruby was a really interesting speaker and Lauren gave some useful tips on using social media.
- Another lovely lunch! I really like that the last two speakers have come from BME backgrounds as it is too easy to forget how bad it still is! And none of us can afford to be complacent.
- It was a pleasure to meet you and thank you for organising such a wonderful event. I learnt so much from the speakers and those I met at and before the lunch.
13 July 2017
The team who help with social networking, lunch co-ordinating and a welcoming band
The team who help with social networking, lunch co-ordinating and a welcoming band
Left to Right: Annick Devillard (French), Lady Val (South African), Sorcha Rogers (Irish); Rosemary Smith (token Brit)
- Annick is MD of The Rooster, Marketing, PR and Communications
- Sorcha of Sorcha Productions, live artistry for events
- Rosemary is a Business Driver extraordinaire