It is appropriate that in the same week as International Women’s Day, that What’s On 4 Ltd held their Mum and Working Awards hosted by Natwest at the impressive 250 Bishopsgate premises.
This was the first year that Key Women in Business was involved in the event as Media Partner and it was a privilege to attend what was a wholly positive and uplifting event.
The day started with 60+ small business owners speed networking – it’s amazing how much information and how quickly you can talk when you put your mind to it and when you only have 30 seconds to get across what exactly it is that you do! It became apparent very early on that all of those present were there to maximise and welcomed the opportunity to seek advice and support from fellow business owners. This was evidenced further by the focus given to the ‘academy sessions’ where speakers shared key tips on business start up, having been first treated to a motivational talk from KWIB’s very own Susannah Schofield OBE, who stressed that we are all able to learn new skills by moving out of our comfort zone and to focus on how we can all learn new behaviours.
Rebecca Robertson from Evolution Financial Planning spoke passionately about the need for women business owners to stop undervaluing themselves and that the first step to financial freedom comes from recognising that it is okay to pay yourself more. As Rebecca said, if you don’t pay yourself your true worth, then your business is nothing more than a hobby and not a business at all.
One key piece of advice from Emma Austin, Accountant, was that whilst there are a lot of people offering support to business start ups, that it was important to get the right advice from the right person. It seems so obvious but often the obvious can overlooked in the excitement of starting up a new business – why would you take the advice of your neighbour’s friend over a fully qualified professional on something so important as to setting up your accounts system just because they used to work in an accounts department in a large office?!
Hot topic was definitely blogging and the use of social media and it was encouraging that so many start-ups have their finger on the pulse and are embracing technology and the digital space as a cost effective way of helping to establish a brand presence.
After a delicious lunch where the networking opportunities continued, attendee numbers swelled as this year’s award nominees arrived ready for the afternoon’s ceremony and if the morning wasn’t inspirational enough, then the afternoon left everyone feeling like women could conquer the world by dinner time!
TV Presenter Lucy Piper kept the show on the road and it was great that the presenters of each award gave some background as to their own stories – there were audible gasps of horror when NatWest’s Julie Baker, Head of Financial Inclusion and Enterprise recounted how she had been passed over for promotion on several occasions because she was a woman – how times have moved on, thank goodness!
Likewise Sam Willoughby shared how she had been driven to set up What’s On 4 and, in turn Mumandworking.co.uk, when her request for flexible working as a result of having a baby with her then boss fell on deaf ears and she felt compelled to resign. There was such indignation and a real sense of hurt even 14 years later when Sam spoke about her journey that it’s no surprise that Sam has gone on to be such a powerhouse of success in her business ventures since that short-sighted rejection.
Whatever the reason for starting up a business, be it a marriage breakup, family illness, bereavement, wanting a new challenge, balancing work and family life, the absolute common purpose that transcended everything in the room was the total commitment every nominee and award winner had given to making their business succeed. It was also wonderful to see that you CAN achieve a work/life balance – this event was proof!
A full list of the nominees and winners:
Business Parent of the Year – Sponsored by Natwest
Awarded to the parent running a limited company and who is a shining example of how running a business alongside a family (or other significant commitment) can work:
North and Central
Katie Clunn – Jiggy Wrigglers Franchise Ltd
Rebecca Riley – Kalma Baby
Anna Neville – Kidslingo Ltd – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Angela Sterling – Lingotot – WINNER
Rachel Fay – Little Learners
Louise Nicholson- Little Superstars
Katie Harrison – Picture News
Stacey Whittaker- Stacey Whittaker Makeup Artist/Pouts & Pinups – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Jenni Dunman – Daisy First Aid – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Lucy Shrimpton – Forever Inspired Ltd
Abigail Morakinyo – Health in Check
Vicki Psarias – Honestmum Limited
Andy Peasey – Ruggerbugs – WINNER
Camille Pierson – The Float Spa
Felicity Field – UKh2o, UK Design-Build-Live and DBL Glazing – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Self-Employed Parent of the Year – Sponsored by Daisy First Aid
Awarded to self-employed parent whose business is going places
Andrea Sexton – Andrea Sexton PR – WINNER
Bhavini Lakhani – B81 Designs – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Emma Launchbury – bras4mums
Dee Modric – Gingham Kids Nanny Agency
Rebecca Levitt – Moo Music Burton On Trent
Catherine Byrne – Tumble Tots Gloucester
Amanda Reeve – Bugs n Bones
Tessa Shearer – House Of Wonderland – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Jade Hicks – Jade Hicks Photography and Film
Lucie Campbell – Jumping Jacks
Rachel Bradshaw – Little Voices Preston
Christina Taylor-Chisholm – Popolo Ceramico – WINNER
Zoe Keeping – Bournemouth BraLady
Grace Followheart – DramEd
Elif Kose – Elif Kose Boutique – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Kelly Ann Grant – Independent Scentsy Consultant
Erin Thomas Wong – Making Mumpreneurs
Amanda Hartley – The Little Story Telling Company – WINNER
Becky MacLean – Kidslingo BeckyM
Most Inspiring Business Parent – Sponsored by ClassBiz
Awarded to the parent running a flexible business who has truly struggled against adversity and many challenges and still triumphed against the odds.
Lauren Shepherd – babyballet Biggleswade & Bedford – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Stacey Cann – Daisy First Aid Redhill & Guildford – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Pollyanna Hale – Fit Mum Formula
Mimi Saha – Hartbeeps East London
Hayley Azzopardi – Sensory Time – WINNER
Madeleine Cordukes – Slinga Fitness
Karen Lee – The Sensitive Foodie Kitchen
Start-up Business of the Yea Sponsored by Diddi Dance
For any business trading for 3 years or less (launched after November 2014) & whose founder is a parent operating within a family-friendly, flexible model.
Best Direct-Sales Independent Representative Sponsored by Claritadigital.com
Open to any direct sales representative who can show proven success in terms of business growth/revenues, as well as being an inspiration to other sellers or team members through their flexible working model.
Claire King Health and Nutrition Coach – Tropic Skincare
Nia Wharry – Neals Yard Remedies
Sarah Fletcher – NYR Organic Independent Consultant – WINNER
Kate Spicer Sparkle – Younique – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Flexible Business of the Year Sponsored by Mitchy Titch
A successful business or operation actively promoting exceptionally family-friendly and flexible working for their male and female employees.
Flexible Employee/Team Member of the Year Sponsored by What’s On 4
For companies, colleagues, staff and associates to nominate an individual who clearly demonstrates how flexible terms can bring out the best in individuals for the benefit of their employers, families and customers.
Donna Greenwood – babyballet® Franchising Ltd
Michelle Ellis – British Gymnastics – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Emma Buckley – Guidant Group – WINNER
Sylvia Taylor – IMEX Group
Kirsty Rayner – Sensory Time
Isobel Bickley – Rhythm Time – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Franchisee/Licensee of the Year Sponsored by Morton Michel
For companies, colleagues, staff and associates to nominate a franchisee/licensee who clearly demonstrates how a flexible franchise can bring out the best in individuals – for the benefit of the business as well as families and customers
Charlotte Foxley – diddi dance North Essex & South Suffolk – WINNER
Elaine Bielby – Music with Mummy
Wendy Lambie – Water Babies Scotland Central
Tracey Evison – Tots Play Chesterfield – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Nicky Davin – Helen O’Grady Drama Academy – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Sarah Fielder – Hartbeeps Thurrock, Upminster and Hornchurch
Best International Flexible Business Sponsored by Potato Print
For any UK-based business exporting or operating overseas operating with a family-friendly, flexible working model. As sponsored by Potato Print
Best use of technology or innovation within a family-friendly business Sponsored by Babyballet
Awarded to the business/charity/company or operation utilising technology or new innovations to facilitate flexible working – either for themselves or their teams (or both) APPS, multi-functional websites, online communication systems etc.
Best Charity Offering Flexible Working
Awarded to a Charity/CIC or non for profit offering home based work, teleworking or other flexible employment. As sponsored by Children’s Activities Association
Voted for categories
Franchisor/Licensor of the Year Sponsored by Blackcurrant Babies
Awarded to the franchisor or licensor who actively promotes exceptionally family-friendly and flexible working policies to its franchisees or licensees
Working Parent Blogger of the Year Sponsored by Hartbeeps
For flexible bloggers commenting on both parenting and working with inspiring topical content for fellow parents managing the juggle
Best Supporting Network/Service/Product/Individual to Flexible Working Sponsored by Miglio
For a group, person, product or service which facilitates and supports flexible working