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    An event aimed at improving understanding of financial accounts and statements see more

    Financial Literacy in the Boardroom - 3 December 2018

    In collaboration with PWC and Women on Boards, CWN members were invited to attend an evening event at PWC’s’ offices in More Place, London as part of their focus on supporting the advancement of women in the boardroom.

    The event was targeted at current and aspiring board members who don’t have a financial background who wish to improve their understanding of financial accounts and their ability to read and analyse financial statements

    Dasa Brynjolffssen, PWC Director from the Accounting Consulting Services team, took us through a fast-paced tour of key elements of a set of company accounts with Women on Boards chairing the event and sharing insight and guidance through the event and during the Q&A.

    Dasa delivered a practical and engaging session, providing a much appreciated safe space for all to ask questions openly and learn from each other.

    Themes discussed during the evening included various responsibilities from a financial and non-financial perspective of being both a Non-Executive Director as a well as a main Board Director

    Various types of board roles were considered, and discussions took place on how they differ from sector to sector and how this impact on understanding the financial accounts.

    Conversations continued over drinks and canapes, where guests from PWC, Women on Boards and PWC enjoyed networking and sharing experiences.

    CWN plans to develop further events during 2019 on the theme of ‘Board Readiness’.

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    Committee member Geraldine Gallacher reflects on our recent reverse mentoring workshop see more

    Reflections on Reverse Mentoring

    Events Strategy Committee member Geraldine Gallacher reflects on our recent reverse mentoring workshop.

    CWN advises and supports Fractio Vitri (FV), a cross-sector network for early stage career women. We hold a few joint annual events and this year we tried out Reverse Mentoring, hosted by the law firm Howard Kennedy. Given our relative ages and experience, we make the ideal composition for such an event. 

    We were delighted to be hosted by the law firm Howard Kennedy and their Head of People Irena Molloy started off the event by telling us about their own soon-to-be launched reverse mentoring programme.

    We then paired up, one FV and one CWN member and had 15 mins each to share experiences. To get things off to a quick start we had worked out some questions in advance from each network as follows: 


    CWN questions:

    1. What would you find inspiring in a female leader?

    2. If there was one thing you could change about senior leaders’ approach to developing your generation what would it be?

    3. In what ways do you feel technology helps and hinders you?

    4. What is your biggest concern now about the world of work?

    5. How do you feel about remote working versus being in the office?


    FV questions:

    1. What could we do to influence leaders who are resistant to change?

    2. The phrase "too old for change" is often bandied around. How can the junior workforce influence change in leaders/the more senior workforce when there is a resistance to change? 

    3. What do you think you can learn from the junior workforce? What knowledge do you think they have which can be transferred to a more senior workforce? 

    4. The junior workforce is more focused on the work "experience". How do you think the workplace is changing and what changes do you welcome? For example, flexible working or working remotely. 

    5. Technology and the ways of working are fast evolving. How do you think technology assists in the workplace? 

    6. Being honest and giving feedback to the senior workforce can often be difficult. How do you embrace such feedback? 


    It seemed however that no specific suggestions were needed as the conversations seemed to flow well and it was hard to break them up before starting Round 2. This time, we swapped around to allow people the opportunity to meet someone different. Again, if the volume level was anything to go by these conversations proved equally absorbing. We were pleased that there was a hand-bell, otherwise we might have gone on indefinitely…

    We concluded the formal part of the event by grouping the CWN members and the FV members together to discuss our learnings in the respective groups, with the idea to share these later with our cohort.  

    From the CWN perspective, what surprised us was that the FV members found it hard to approach older women in their companies and so the Reverse Mentoring format provided an ideal forum for doing this. They felt comfortable asking questions they might not usually like to ask such as “What regrets do you have and what sacrifices do you feel you have made to achieve where you’ve got to in your career?”

    The CWN members found it hard to think of regrets but they did wish they had had their Gen Y counterparts’ more balanced approach to life earlier. Learning that the FV members had multiple goals, with career being just one of them, offered us a valuable prospective on what “ambitious” means for the younger generation. 

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    Reflections on CWN event where Monica Parker discuss the nature of our changing workplace see more

    Changing Workplaces

    In collaboration Derwent, CWN members and guests were invited to attend an evening event at 25 Saville Row in London, one of Derwent’s showcase properties, to hear Monica Parker, founder of HATCH Analytics, discuss the nature of our changing workplaces.

    After a wonderful introduction to Derwent and CWN from Emily Prideaux, Head of Leasing, Monica Parker took the audience on a journey with a dynamic, engaging and entertaining talk addressing big topics including the future human skillset encompassing presence, unlearning, aha moments and, a new term for many of us in the audience, meraki.

    And what about disruptors like automation, globalisation & portfolio work? Monica encouraged the audience to embrace the positive in these – citing examples of facial recognition used to reunite orphans with their parents in India and the first flower, a beautiful zinnia, grown in space, to make her point.

    Turning our attention to the key contributors to an engaged workforce, Monica shared her perspective on cause, control, contemplation & community as essential aspects of the workplace.

    We also explored the way in which we develop new skills.  On this topic, Monica asked us to consider Kurt Lewin’s change model stages of thawing, reframing and refreezing – still compelling and relevant. Monica also shared research on neuroplasticity and learning with a wonderful video of one person’s attempt to ride the “backwards bicycle” as an adult compared to his young son’s. 

    Conversations continued over drinks and canapes where guests from Derwent and CWN were able to speak with Monica Parker, network and share experiences.

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    Finding meaning in the world of work see more

    Masterclass with King's Business School: Purposeful Leadership and Meaningful Work - With Professor Katie Bailey

    Hosted by King's Business School, over 120 CWN and King’s alumnae came together at their new premises in the beautiful Bush House on Aldwych to learn more about finding meaning at work.  

    Professor Katie Bailey explored the future world of work where the aim is no longer merely financial performance but instead we are now in a world where the so-called triple bottom line of people, purpose and profit becomes reality. She drew on recent cutting edge research into purposeful and ethical leadership and meaningful work and asked what businesses would look like in this new world order, exploring the barriers and enablers of successfully creating and sustaining an ethical workplace.

    Katie is a thought leader on meaningful work, employee engagement and strategic HRM. She is the author of over 180 articles, papers, books and reports, including 60 peer-reviewed   journal articles on the topics.

    Following the presentation, all the guests enjoyed a networking reception over drinks and canapes, meeting CWN members as well as the guests from King's. This is the first event in  which we have partnered with King's Business School and we hope it may be the first of many!

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    Using the power of your voice to lead with confidence, resilience and impact see more

    One Voice: Masterclass with RADA in Business


    Yes, you can sing!

    Can you sing? Most of us will say ‘no’ to that question.

    This Masterclass, One Voice, held on 19th September, taught us that it is possible for anyone to sing, and how powerful and energising it is when done as a group.

    This was the third evening event that CWN organised in partnership with RADA in Business. After focusing on posture and presence in earlier sessions, we now experimented with another essential leadership tool: our voices.

    In a lively session of an hour and a half, RADA's Vocal coach and renowned West End musical director, the incomparable and fearless Tom Wakeley encouraged, cajoled and orchestrated some fifty attendees into performing as a choir - for the final performance when everything came together.

    Find your unique voice

    Tom began the evening by helping us better understand that often under-utilised leadership tool: our voices. On our feet within minutes, Tom started off with practical breathing and vocal exercises. There was no time to be self-conscious as our attention was cleverly directed to feeling what was going on within our bodies with each breath as we sustain sound.

    Referring to Kristin Linklaters’ book ‘Freeing your natural voice’, Tom explained how we each have a natural resonance and a unique voice that is most effectively used when linked with our emotions. Also, any tension in the body will affect the quality of your voice.

    What if we replace “I can’t” by “How can I?”

    We moved right into the action when Tom introduced the lyrics of the song we were about to perform: ‘The Rhythm of Life’ from the hit musical ‘Sweet Charity’. The attendees did not have any time to have second thoughts, it was time to use those voices!

    Tom organised the singers into groups, giving them roles, guiding their voices and encouraging them ‘to do something out of their comfort zone’. It was indeed a Masterclass in fostering a growth and change mindset.

    Stumbling over words, losing and finding text, laughing out loud, we learned about pitch and volume, tune and harmony, choreography and movement. We savoured our success when things came together for the final performance.

    The power of the human voice

    This masterclass was a reminder of the power of the human voice. It also showed what rewards await when you push your boundaries.

    The buzz at the networking drinks afterwards reflected the sense of achievement and the energy and joy that came from performing as ‘One Voice’.  

    The evening was a powerful testimony to how we can work on our confidence and learn to express ourselves while supporting others.


    This piece was inspired by a blog written by one of our attendees at this event, member Beverly Landais, who has captured the essence of the evening so beautifully. Thanks Beverly! 

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    C-suite panel discussion – tips from top leaders see more

    Leading Through Uncertainty with Resilience and Impact

    In partnership with the Fractio Vitri network and hosted by Dow Jones, CWN put on an event for both senior leaders and for more junior women in order to learn from each other through the sharing of experiences both from personal and personal perspectives.

    The event took the form of a panel discussion with speakers being Sally Todd of Northill Capital, Clare Hafner of Fintrax, Naomi Bowman of Berkeley Research Group, Charlotte Vitty of the British Transport Police and Carla Stent, Director of MCS Advisory Ltd.

    Table discussions followed after the panel event when guests continued the conversations over drinks and canapes.

    Themes explored included the challenges and opportunities of leading in uncertain times, the qualities required of a good leader of both teams and of oneself, leadership and gender and  life lessons  from both personal and professional perspective relating to leading through uncertainty with resilience and impact

    Top tips from the panelists included the following:

    • “Outsource what you can in order to improve balance in your life”
    • “Perfect is the enemy of good”.
    • “Get to know that brings out the best and worst in yourself and work with  that”
    • “Stop comparing yourself to others and just be ‘best’ you can be”
    • “You can’t fight every battle so choose them carefully”
    • “Choose roles that enable you to be recognized whilst also being  fulfilling”
    • “Do work you enjoy as you if not, it will all become hard  and overwhelming”

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    Exploring experiences that matter – learning from Tumultuous Times with Jeneva Patterson see more

    Exploring experiences that matter – learning from Tumultuous Times

    Tonight’s event aimed to give our members an opportunity to find out about learning through tumultuous times. What better way to learn than to share and reflect with other CWN members expertly facilitated by our terrific speaker Jeneva Patterson, EMEA Lead for organisational leadership at the Center for Creative Leadership. Jeneva created a warm, intimate and safe space for members to reflect and share on a few momentous occasions. We were invited to ponder our Wonder Woman moments. Members shared times where they had overcome adversity and proved to themselves they could do something they hadn’t realised they could. Jeneva explained the fusion between powerful emotion and long term memory and highlighted the value of on the job learning which accounts for 70% of all work learning. Apparently only 10% of work learning happens on a course. Emotion provokes learning and evokes memory. 

    We were next asked to consider an event which turned upside down our previous understanding of the world. Again we experienced the power of reflection and sharing for real learning as some people appreciated how a certain turn of events had indeed changed the course of their lives. Adversity brings with it opportunity.

    We picked up a great question to pose to help foster team bonding. Ask them “What experience would you like to share with us that was integral to making you the leader you are today?”

    Having come along to find out about agile learning, Jeneva reassured us we had just spent the evening doing exactly that. New people, new location, new ideas - precisely the components that stimulate new neural pathways. And she reminded us that learning can cause dis-comfort, dis-equilibrium even dis-ease as our brains strive to get back to equilibrium but this very up-set is the sign that we are both learning and unlearning. We are resetting our brains in an upward trajectory.

    Aside from the great insights I gleaned from tonight’s event I felt I had actually “met” many more people as the whole experience was very interactive. Great combination of learning and networking. And the canapés were great especially the chocolate mousse.

    Geraldine Gallacher

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    Stephanie Flanders, Bloomberg News, spoke on the economic & political pressures facing the UK. see more

    The New Economy: Beyond Brexit

    In collaboration with Nomura’s WIN Network, CWN members were invited to attend a lunch at Nomura’s offices on the Thames in the heart of the city as a part of City Women Network’s series of events celebrating International Women’s Day.

    Stephanie Flanders, the senior executive editor for economics at Bloomberg News and head of Bloomberg Economics, gave an exciting talk on the future of the economy and key economic drivers and themes to watch for in the coming year.

    Before a full house, Stephanie guided us through the economic and political pressures currently weighing on the UK economy, both foreign and domestic. She addressed what she views as key themes affecting Britain and her takeaways from Davos this year, discussing everything from the relatively slow productivity growth in UK economy and the long period of sustained global economic growth to the impact of globalisation on European firms and how economists must bridge the gap between economics and politics.

    Stephanie also shared her experiences as an economist and a journalist, revealing some of the key challenges that economists face and the value of male allies and champions in our struggle for gender diversity.

    Conversations continued over drinks and lunch, where guests from CWN and Nomura’s WIN network enjoyed networking and spirited discussions.

    Martha Beith


    Please find a video of the talk here.

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    In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do see more

    Overcoming Challenges with Kate Philp

    Kate Philp, formerly Major in the British Army, now keynote speaker and leadership consultant, shared with us her take on CWN’s development theme: ‘Leading through uncertainty with confidence, resilience and impact’.

    Intertwined with a very personal and deeply moving account of her army career, her three tours of duty in Iran and Afghanistan cut short by a life-threatening injury and her 2013 ‘Walking with the wounded’ trek to Antarctica as part of the UK team, Kate shared with the audience these gems on leadership, teamwork and resilience:

    • Leadership implies answering the question of how prepared you are to deal with the (inevitable) contingencies. As the saying goes in the military: “No plan survives the first contact with the enemy.”
    • Leadership means knowing your people, really knowing them. It means valuing differences and focusing on what each team member can do, not what he or she can’t do.
    • Trust matters most. To Kate, confidence is more superficial and can be faked. Trust, however, goes much deeper and is based on your values as guiding principles.
    • Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, or put otherwise: explore your discomfort zone to expand your comfort zone. This allow you to build a memory bank of tough times to learn from when challenged.
    • When you are confronted with a challenge, impose some sort of structure and focus on what you can control. Find opportunity in difficulty.
    • Celebrate your successes. We all too often forget to Press the Pause button. Yes, do reflect on what could have been done differently but don’t skip the celebration: ‘you did it’!
    • You improve your resilience by actively redefining what success means to you.  What constitutes failure if viewed in a certain way, can become success if seen differently.
    • Reaching out for help is not a weakness. Maintain perspective: what is really worth worrying about?

    And for those of us tempted by the Arctic challenge:

    • Joining an Arctic expedition is a great, albeit drastic, way to become fit. You will burn some 7-8k calories to do the daily distance and keep warm at minus 35 to 45 degrees Celsius. That is much more than the 5-6k calories you can possibly eat under such extreme circumstances. (Any volunteers?)

    Kate concluded her speech with this wonderful quote from Theodore Roosevelt, calling for action rather than inertia in the face of uncertainty: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

    For more on this exceptional evening, see also CWN member Beverly Landais’ blog on the evening: ‘The Power of Trust’. Her blog captures the spirit of this motivational evening beautifully - thank you, Beverly!  .

    We also give special thanks to the Royal Bank of Canada, one of our corporate sponsors, for hosting this great event.

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    CWN Winter Drinks 2019 at 67 Pall Mall see more

    CWN Winter Drinks 2019 at 67 Pall Mall

    CWN members started 2019 in style on 23 January at 67 Pall Mall by making new connections and learning about wine at the same time. Grant Ashton, Founder & CEO, hosted this CWN event in their magnificent Grade II venue. Grant set up this fabulous members’ club in 2015 and described it as ‘not a gentleman’s stuffy club, this is a club for social people who enjoy wine and want to know more about wine.’ He also added that at least 30% of their members are female and he was keen to increase the gender diversity ratio. With over 4,000 bottles of wine and currently the largest wine list by the glass, it certainly is an appealing possibility.

    As a network which brings together successful women, we were delighted that a female sommelier introduced the wines available to taste. She had selected them as they all had ‘emerging’ aspects, such as a British couple that started producing wines and regions that had only recently started growing grapes. Interestingly, the red wine from Greece proved extremely popular.

    Then we were charmed by Sarah Kemp, the former Managing Director of Decanter, who shared some amusing anecdotes as she briefed us on how wine has changed over the last forty years. She believes we are in a golden age of wine as we’ve never had better wine made with the most incredible selection from all around the world.

    Sarah started with the role of Oddbins bringing Australian wines to the UK and went on to tell us how a wine tasting competition with French judges, in Paris, organised by a young British wine merchant called Stephen Spurrier, started an explosion in Californian wines. She revealed how she set up the Decanter Wine Competition which became the world’s largest wine competition (now with over 17,000 wines judged by 250 judges) and we revelled in hearing how last year an English wine producer called Ridgeview beat all the established French champagne houses, to win the best sparkling wine award. Finally, we heard about the rise of Chinese wines, triggered by an unknown wine producer west of Beijing winning the best Bordeaux Blend Category.

    All in all, the evening was a wonderful excuse to meet old and new CWN members and to toast the new year in style.

    Ana Pacheco

    See photo gallery

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    CWN guests enjoy a night of shopping, socialising and small business inspiration at The Fold see more

    An Evening at The Fold with Founder and CEO, Polly McMaster

    In partnership  with the Fold, a chic clothing brand for professional women,  CWN and Fold held an evening VIP event at the Fold’s flagship store in Cadogan Place, Knightsbridge London, for CWN Members and their guests.

    Polly McMaster, CEO and Founder, shared her career journey to date with 40 guests and took part in a Q&A discussion alongside Sally Todd, CWN President, inviting questions from the guests.

    We learned about the challenges and opportunities that setting up and managing the Fold has brought to Polly and her team and also about the success the Fold now enjoys as it grows.

    The much admired community of Fold Women was discussed during the session  as exemplary in the way Polly and her team are championing and showcasing the careers of many of their customers, women with lifestyles and unique stories who continue to inspire others. For more information on the Fold Woman see

    Polly was passionate about the importance of seeing the bigger picture regarding business development and networking and in being patient in that process and in not underestimating the importance of hard work and ‘keeping going’. 

    Experiences were shared at the event about the imperative of understanding finances and of how important that is to the growth of any business.

    Networking, shopping and more conversation continued  over canapes and drinks after Polly’s and Sally’s session. Many enjoyed the opportunity to try on and purchase the new autumn/winter collection in a relaxed and fun environment.

    We hope to offer more events like this over the coming year.


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    Digital Transformation, Disruption, the Gig Economy and what it means to you see more

    Warwick Business School Masterclass on the Future of Work

    The third CWN/Warwick Business School Masterclass on the Future of Work took place on the 26th June at The Shard.  There was a great turnout with over 50 CWN and FV members attending the lively session and Professor Pinar Ozcan’s presentation was extremely well received.

    The event showcased a preview of Pinar’s research on the Sharing Economy.  The findings of her study are now in the public domain and can be found here.

    Pinar is one of Warwick’s world-class faculty members and teaches across a number of programmes for senior executives including the top-ranked Executive MBA and The Warwick Executive Diplomas.

    To learn more about Warwick’s London campus and how the School is working with organisations from across the globe, please contact Sarah Hansen at Warwick Business School by email  or phone 02476 574319.

    For further information about Warwick Business School, please click hereCWN and FV members are entitled to a 15% discount off course fees for Executive-level programmes.

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    The Psychology of Failure with Fiona Murden see more

    The Psychology of Failure

    As part of our series of events on the theme of Leading through uncertainty with confidence, resilience and impact Fiona Murden, chartered psychologist and author, gave a fascinating morning talk on why we are set up to fear failure and how to overcome that in order to be more successful as a leader of ourselves and our teams.

    At an event hosted by Nomura at their impressive offices in the heart of the city, Fiona led a talk for both men and women focussing on the following three areas:

    • Why we fear failure
    • How the brain responds to fear
    • What to do to minimize the impact on performance

    Take-aways were shared on:

    • How to personally re-frame our mindset regarding failure
    • How to improve EQ as a means of addressing failures and setbacks
    • How cognitive re-framing can better understand underlying brain mechanisms to overcome fear of failure
    • How, as a leader, we best use these insights to create an optimum team environment

    After Fiona’s talk and some interactive sessions, a very lively Q&A session took place followed by networking and book-signing by Fiona of her new book, ‘Defining You’.


    We hope to put on future events related to this topic building on the popularity of this subject and its relevance in today’s world of work.

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    ANZ Bank hosted a high-profile mix-gender panel discussion a wide range of current topics see more

    It was standing-room only for CWN’s What About The Men? event hosted by ANZ Bank on 25th April. The distinguished panel featured ANZ’s CEO for the UK and Europe Diana Brightmore-Armour, Citibank’s CFO for EMEA Frank Mannion, Journalist and broadcaster Martin Daubney and paternity coach and paternity leave campaigner Tom Beardshaw. Harriet Minter, the renowned broadcaster and journalist, skilfully moderated, armed with the breadth of knowledge on the subject of diversity and the generous helping of her trademark sense of humour.

    The conversation started with “Why we should worry about the men?”, to which Martin gave his candid opinion on the lack of government policy to protect men’s mental health.  He followed on to talk about paternity rights, and Tom expressed strong views on the reasons for the failure of the shared parental leave to take off properly. The debate then focused on the overpowering problem of the absence of women at the top with Diana giving a frank overview of underlying corporate policies that lead to this. She talked about biased recruitment practices and other examples of the unconscious bias which still stubbornly remain in place. It was fascinating to hear Frank speaking about his rich experience as the top manager in a large bank, about the change of his personal attitude over the years and about the push that is required to make gender diversity at the top level a reality. He conceded that in many businesses men are still promoted over women.

    It lead to Martin advocating the proverbial carrot over stick in men standing up for women’s progression in business, whilst Tom brought in his perspective as a single dad to talk about men taking more proactive role at home and therefore freeing the women some extra time to focus on their career. Frank emphasised the role of the leader in encouraging the balanced approach to work and the audience were visibly won over by his candid and witty delivery. Diana added that there is often the tendency to try to fit women into the existing picture of leadership and this is unproductive. The lively, often humorous yet earnest debate lead to a myriad of question from both men and women in the audience, and ended on the high note with Martin suggesting that “men should become part of the solution, not part of the problem”.

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    Hilary Scarlett's insights into neuroscience see more

    Leading Through Uncertain Times - Insights from Neuroscience

    A great event in a great location. Hilary Scarlett treated us to a really fascinating insight into recent findings in neuroscience and the implications of this for organisations. After a clear and compelling description of the basics about the brain we learned some new insights such as;

    • Your brain may only weigh 2% of your body weight but it uses 20% of your energy. The impact of negative stresses such as a difficult relationship at work can use up nearly all of that energy.
    • Brains are attuned to threat and so you need to think about how you position tough feedback in performance management situations.
    • Brains like autonomy and like being given a choice. This has significance for a command and control management style.
    • Brains don’t like unpredictability and crave certainty.

    Hilary gave us a great model for using neuroscience in a practical way. It’s the mnemonic SPACES.

    Self esteem, Purpose, Autonomy, Certainty, Equity and Social Connection. These are all the things that brains love and worth considering when you are looking to motivate others. But remember, everyone is different and some will resonate more with different individuals and at different stages of their life.

    The event was certainly “heightened” by taking place at the top of the BT Tower and the icing on the cake was when it revolved at the end of Hilary’s presentation!