International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. With so many events taking place this month related to IWD, this year feels like a true celebration of wonderful ladies and a real call to action for gender parity.
Many women inspire me on a daily basis and I think there are so many amazing role models out there making changes to benefit everyone and delivering an impact in their chosen field. In celebration of today, I want to highlight five women who inspire me.
1. I met Clare Talbot-Jones, Business Development Director at Talbot Jones, only a couple of years ago through Forward Ladies. Since then I have spent lots of time with Clare as we are part of two business groups who meet regularly. Clare offers sensible and balanced advice and proudly models her values on a daily basis. I was on a train ride with Clare last summer coming back from London where we had attended a Dent Global event and we brainstormed ideas all the way home – one of which turned into Clare’s latest venture – Guide and Protect – coming soon! Clare has grown so much as a woman in business since I have known her and this week has lived the businesswoman’s dream with inclusion in a top 100 female entrepreneur list, an invite to the House of Lords and then spending yesterday at 10 Downing Street having tea with the PM!
2. Carrie Green is the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association which I am a member of. FEA is an online platform which provides excellent resources and training to female entrepreneurs, as well as a very supportive global community. I was lucky enough to attend the first FEA business retreat in Palma in September 2017 which allowed me to spend time with Carrie and 18 other inspiring business ladies from around the world, many of whom I speak to regularly. That trip was a key turning point for me and SRS and the growth we’ve seen since then has been staggering.
3. Simone Roche is founder of the fabulous Northern Power Women, an organisation I have a huge love for. If you haven’t met Simone, you should! She is a ball of Scouse energy with an immense zest for everything she does. Simone is also very persuasive, evidenced by me spending two days last month volunteering to support Northern Power Futures in Newcastle, when I had only signed up to be part of the speed mentoring session! Simone was awarded an MBE last year for her services to gender equality – how cool is that?
4. I’ve always admired Michelle Mone. She is a lady who has done exceptionally well in business during often challenging personal times - growing up in a rough area of Glasgow, losing an exceptional amount of weight and a messy divorce. Her grit, ambition and determination grew Ultimo into a huge success and since then has pivoted successfully trying her hand at new ventures such as politics and her new business and lifestyle app Connect 2 Michelle Mone. In my early days at SRS, I lost faith a little and tweeted Michelle for some advice not expecting a response. I still have a screenshot of her reply on my vision board – “Its normal. Don’t give up, go back to the business plan” – which was motivating and very accurate.
5. My daughter Jessica is seven (going on 16) years old and inspires me daily. Whether its impressing me with her super reading or educating me about the styles of painting famous painters are known for, her enthusiasm for life is infectious. She has that refreshing lack of self-consciousness that sadly is only seen in young children. She breaks wind regularly and dances like no-one is watching. Whilst I don’t plan to take on her pumping habits, a regular boogie around the kitchen together on a Friday night is liberating and part of our weekly ritual.
Happy International Women’s Day 2019 - Sophie Milliken, MD Smart Resourcing Solutions