• CWN Admin posted an article
    Debbie Wosskow OBE, UK’s most well-known serial entrepreneur and Jocelyn Hillman OBE, Working Chance see more

    CWN Summer Drinks  2017 - ‘Inspiring confidence and realising ambitions’


    Debbie Wosskow OBE, UK’s most well-known serial entrepreneur

    We welcomed Debbie Wosskow OBE as our main guest speaker at the beautiful and historic Chandos house. With lots of self-deprecating humour and self-mockery, she talked us through her business successes. From being brought up in an entrepreneurial family, through how she created home swapping , after watching a boring movie, to the challenges she faced from working with civil servants on research related to the sharing economy. This led her to giving advice on the sharing economy in the UK and to launch her latest business, Allbright, a platform to give support and invest in female-led businesses. One important message she wanted to get across was that cultural change is needed to get more female investors investing in female-led businesses. Currently only 7% of total investors are female.

    She ended her inspirational and energetic talk with one of her main mantra’s the 3G’s, which according to Debbie are all of equal importance to be successful. Graft (putting the hours in), Grace (be gracious and giving back) and Grit (it takes 10 years of chewing glass before being successful).

    Jocelyn Hillman OBE, Working Chance’s  founder

    Our second speaker of the evening was Jocelyn Hillman OBE. CWN has been supporting Working Chance for 18 months and Jocelyn shared with us that we have raised £18.000. Over 760 women have been helped back to employment since the start of the charity with Working Chance working closely together with businesses to get these women back on track. She linked some examples back to Debbie’s speech; that most women could be brilliant entrepreneurs but first need to build a normal life, because financial autonomy will lead to independence.  ‘Women backing women’ was Jocelyn’s mantra for the evening, stating how important networks are for these vulnerable women who have to start from scratch again. We raised future funds for this valuable and important charity during the evening by running a raffle with great prizes.

    The rest of the evening we were able to enjoy the nice surroundings of Chandos House while drinking a nice summer drink such as Pimm’s or Prosecco, which were accompanied by delicious canapés.

  • CWN Admin posted an article
    High Impact Communication by Sophie Clark see more

    High Impact Communication

    On the evening of Tuesday 13th June, we were delighted to have our guest speaker, Sophie Clark from Denison Clark, speak at an event on the subject of “High Impact Communication” in the attractive setting of the Brand Exchange members club near Bank, in the city of London.

    As a communications expert in helping individuals and teams in organisations improve their communication skills, Sophie shared her wisdom and insights on helping people to speak with confidence and speak with impact.

    Sophie delivered a lively seminar where we listened to her insights and observation, woven with the participants doing some individual exercises in the moment. We then worked in pairs so as to enable us to learn from each other whilst networking and getting to know other participants.

    Top tips included the importance of pausing to allow the audience time to digest the information, sharing your career success and using the right language to have real impact.

    Sophie shared her golden rules on eye contact and body language. Sophie’s creative use of video, observing people in the public eye and their various communication styles, helped illustrate her points in a colourful and impactful way – role modelling and providing practical take-aways for all in the audience.

    After a lively Q&A session, conversation continued over drinks and canapes between guests until well after closing time .

  • Article
    An article by Dr Celia de Anca see more

    The Gender Tension Gap


    Women at work must identify and address inherited motivational barriers that prevent them from realising their true leadership potential, argues Dr Celia de Anca.

    One might wonder why the UK’s 20% gender pay gap among senior executives has not narrowed after two decades. While ‘external’ barriers, such as the lack of childcare support, social pressures and restrictive laws explain much of the difference, there is also a wide range of ‘internal’ barriers such as self-confidence, passive expectations of pay and promotion, and guilt over time spent away from children to consider.

    These deeply embedded motivational barriers, many of which have been passed down for generations, are at odds with the modern aspirations of women. The resulting internal tensions they create prevent women from realising their true leadership potential, according Dr Celia de Anca, IE professor of Global Diversity, and Director of IE’s Centre for Diversity. In conversation with the FT’s employment correspondent Sarah O’Connor, at a recent Financial Times | IE Corporate Learning Alliance event held in partnership with City Women Network, Dr de Anca discussed initial research findings of an ongoing three-year research project

    This gender tension gap (GTG) model measures five dimensions of professional women’s lives: success, career journey, leadership, competencies, and reputation and identity. Three key observations emerge:

    • that the gap between traditional and emerging gender expectations may be easy to identify;
    • but tensions created between present and aspirational gender expectations are not easily recognised; and
    • that there is a wide diversity of those aspirational models.

    The GTG is not correlated with economic development. The World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap index ranks Iceland first, having the narrowest GTG, with Nicaragua ranked 10th, the UK 20th, and the US 45th. Rather, GTG is historically and culturally rooted, notes Dr de Anca. The early division of gender roles dates back to the agricultural revolution and evolved into enlightenment concepts of citizenship based around a male centred household. These norms were only seriously challenged in the 20th century. ‘How unpleasant it is to be locked out’ reflected writer Virginia Woolf on male-dominated institutions, before adding that ‘it is worse perhaps to be locked in.’

    “Failure to recognise the tensions arising from traditional and future expectations carries consequences.”

    The failure to recognise the tensions arising from these incongruous traditional and future expectations have always carried consequences—whether it’s the disappearance of women in music after composition became more ‘mathematical’ (or masculine) in the 18th century, or more recently the loss of women in the video games industry, Dr de Anca says. But how does this happen?

    Consider, for example, the female response to work-place stress such as having a difficult boss. Most men would soldier on or seek another job. But many women seriously consider leaving work altogether to focus on home life. This is not to suggest that men (especially those from poorer or minority backgrounds) do not struggle with inherited cultural norms of their own, particularly to be the family breadwinner. Yet when it comes to career, they tend to retain a ‘linear’ perception of success (e.g. to be manager by age 30, director at 40 etc.) while women tend to be linear in their view of domestic success (i.e. first child by 30, family complete by 36 etc.). The question is whether this attitude represents an authentic choice or a cultural holdover?


    Equality through authenticity

    Women’s career challenge therefore lies in Kafka’s reference to ‘living in the present’ which requires women come to terms with the past while simultaneously preparing to fight for the future, Dr de Anca says. Women may have inherited a normative model from their parents and grandparents. But in challenging these expectations they can establish a multiplicity of future models, including those that place individuality above gender. Moreover, typical internal barriers may change over time as women adopt less conventional family lifestyles or perhaps choose not to have children. It may even be that rebellious daughters reject their mothers’ quest for workplace equality, and decide to work part time or be stay-at-home mothers.

    The path to equality may not run smooth. But determining authentic motivations (in men as well as women) through the gender tension gap model will help women better define what they are struggling against.


    Action points for women in leadership positions

    Reflect on whether the cultural assumptions that underlie your working behaviour are indeed normal, or merely reflect inherited expectations that you may or may not wish to accept. Then you are in a stronger position to decide whether to accept these tensions or how to reduce them.

    Consider national differences. Just as women face different external barriers in different countries, we should not assume that internal barriers are the same everywhere.

    Get digital support. The GTG’s digital tool will be able to help female executives identify unconscious biases between their traditional and emerging perceptions and guide their responses.

  • Article
    CWN and RADA join forces see more

    Mentoring workshop with RADA


    On 22nd November CWN and RADA joined forces to host an evening built around the topic of mentoring.

    This highly engaging and practical workshop was run by one of RADA in Business’ experienced coaches, Sheelagh McNamara. She led us through 90 minutes of highly interactive exercises to help each one of us build our skills, both as mentors and mentees.

    We learned about the power of exuding energy and how important it is in both roles, to stand out from the crowd. We practiced breathing techniques, how to adopt a confident stance and how to “think the voice forward” for clearer articulation.

    We covered a lot of ground and came away with ways to tell our stories using an easy-to-follow structure, more skilled at getting that crucial first impression right, and more confident about communicating inspiringly. We had a fascinating discussion on setting the tone for a valuable communication by being credible yet approachable – something both parties of the mentoring relationship will find useful.

    There was no shortage of questions as the workshop was drawing to a close, and as we walked out of RADA’s historical studios – inspired and hungry to learn more – some wine and delicious canapes proved very welcome.

  • Article
    CWN takes part in British 10K London Run see more

    CWN takes part in British 10K London Run


    CWN once again took part in the annual British 10K London Run around Westminster on Sunday 11 July 2016 on behalf of our Charity of the Year, Working Chance. A team of five CWN runners, amongst a turnout of around 17,000 participants, completed the race, supported along the way by the CWN Charity Committee.

    Working Chance, CWN’s member-nominated charity for 2016, helps female ex-offenders to find meaningful work and aims to break down the barriers they face in their pursuit of employment by changing attitudes amongst employers.

    The CWN team aims to raise £4,000 as a result of this initiative to go towards our fundraising efforts on behalf of Working Chance in 2016.

  • Article
    Jocelyn Hillman founder of Working Chance awarded OBE see more

    Jocelyn Hillman founder of Working Chance awarded OBE


    Jocelyn Hillman, founder and chief executive of Working Chance, CWN’s Charity of the Year for 2016, was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016. Jocelyn was recognised for services to the rehabilitation of women ex-offenders.

    After running employability workshops in HMP Holloway, she was determined that the untapped potential of the women she met be recognised. In 2007, she founded Working Chance, a specialist recruitment consultancy for women ex-offenders, to help them get quality, paid work and become financially autonomous. 

    The charity is now based in a busy office in north London. There, a skilled team of recruitment consultants, 40% of whom are ex-offenders themselves, help women get work and employers to break down barriers to diversity. 

    Since 2007, Working Chance has helped place more than 1000 women into jobs so that they can become role models to their children and communities. Jocelyn Hillman said: “This is not only an honour, it is recognition of the hard work of all the staff at Working Chance, the talented women who have found jobs through us, and the many far-sighted employers for whom they now work. Helping women with convictions get jobs enables them to move across the social divide from lives of exclusion to lives of contribution.”

    Nicki Fisher from Pret A Manger said: “We always know when one of the women we are interviewing is a Working Chance candidate, as they are well prepared and very professional. We are looking for future leaders and the women coming to us from Working Chance have the talent and skills to succeed.” 

    Michelle (not her real name), a Working Chance candidate said: “Working Chance has transformed my life and my children’s lives. Now that I’ve got a job, I can support my family properly and pay my own way. I’ll always be grateful.”

  • Article
    Explore working across cultures by discussing both the theory and real-life examples see more

    Working across Cultures with Allyson Stewart-Allen – hosted by Nomura


    On Wednesday 3rd February Nomura International hosted both CWN members and members of their own Women’s network for an interactive session moderated by Allyson Stewart-Allen, an internationally recognised marketing and executive education expert.

    The aim of the workshop was to explore working across cultures by discussing both the theory and real-life examples. Allyson was joined by panelists representing three of CWN’s corporate members:

    Kristin Wolfe – SABMiller
    Maurice Benisty – GE Capital
    Aya Kawamoto – Nomura


    The Theory: 3 Models for working across cultures

    Allyson took the audience through 3 models which can be used to improve performance in working across cultures: Thunderbird, Richard Lewis, and TMA. These models provided the audience with an insight into how people from different cultures may perceive risk, make decisions, approach hierarchy, and how best to navigate direct or indirect approaches for success.

    For example Allyson talked through how in certain cultures a business topic can be approached and discussed from multiple angles rather than in a linear way. Some cultures will prefer to focus on the theory as opposed to the facts, and some cultures will focus on the foreground information rather than wanting to understand the background in depth.

    Allyson warned of falling into the trap of expecting our own way to be the “right” way. Rather we should be prepared to “drive on their side of the road”, adapting our style to their culture in order to create lasting global relationships and impact.


    Panel’s experience

    Each panel member shared amusing anecdotes on when cultures can clash, local sayings can backfire, and conference calls can create mayhem when different members of a global team come together.

    The panel also discussed how performing research beforehand will unfortunately only get you so far, and time needs to be spent investing in the relationships to understand others’ perspective, and adapting your style to theirs in order to build trust. Once you have built trust, you will able to move forward in your professional relationship more effectively.


    The audience’s experience

    After a period of discussion on the individual tables, several members of the audience made their own observations and asked for advice navigating different cultures and also the sub-cultures including gender, religion, race. There was strong agreement that individual personalities also needed to be taken into consideration.

    Allyson shared her experience that the key is to guage the atmosphere in the room, be aware of people’s backgrounds and frame of reference, and wherever possible to research the cultural background.


    Putting theory into practice – advice from the panel

    The session closed with the panel members giving their own advice for effectively working across cultures. The main themes were to keep in mind the other person’s frame of reference throughout all communications, and most importantly take the time to invest in relationships.

    The panel were in agreement about how much organisations benefit from a diverse and inclusive working environment, and how important it is for success to achieve a balance across all cultures. Once again, ‘tone from the top’ was seen as vital.

  • Article
    CWN supports newly established women’s network see more

    CWN supports newly established women’s network


    CWN is to advise and support a new cross-sector independent network for early stage career women working, or considering working in the City.


    Fractio Vitri – Breaking the Glass Ceiling

    Fractio Victri (FV) ‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling’ aims to provide women with a supportive community to connect and engage with other like-minded women in a non-competitive environment, particularly key for international citizens and new graduates and women embarking on the first stages of a career in the City.


    Fuelling the pipeline of female talent

    FV has been founded by four motivated and ambitious women intent on fuelling and sustaining the pipeline of female talent across a range of industries. FV co-Founders Keily Blair, Claudia Buffini, Harriet Sassoon and Sophie Sinclair-Kemp will form the FV’s steering committee. The steering committee is a mix of undergraduate students, early-stage and established career professionals.

    “Our committee is passionate about creating a community that is aware of the importance of leadership, ambition and self-development which we believe can ultimately help address gender imbalance on corporate boards and harness a new generation of females to lead businesses.

    “We are confident that FV will appeal to the generation that businesses are so keen to attract, interact with and employ,” said Keily Blair, Co-Chair, FV.


    Supporting early-stage career decisions and choices
    “CWN is excited to advise and support FV. We all want to see the pipeline of talented women expand and build on the momentum already advancing the business case for greater diversity.

    “FV will welcome graduates and soon-to-be graduates – as well as those already progressing on their career paths – providing a supportive and engaging platform for women making decisions about their chosen or desired careers,” said Sally Todd, Board member, CWN.


    The launch
    FV will host its launch event on Tuesday 27 October, an evening of speed networking, sponsored by Morrison Foerster. The speed networking session will be hosted by CWN Board members Brenda Trenowden, Sally Todd, Sandy Lucas, Donna Halkyard and Ann Iveson who together form CWN’s FV advisory committee.

    For further information:

  • Article
    Securing the future success of senior businesswomen see more

    Securing the future success of senior businesswomen


    CWN President Emeritus Brenda Trenowden interviewed by the Financial Times

    Brenda Trenowden, President Emeritus of CWN, in her role as the new head of The 30% Club is focusing that group’s energy on making sure there are more suitably qualified female candidates for the top jobs of the future.


    Fuelling the pipeline

    In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Brenda acknowledged the success of The 30% Club and of the Davies Review in significantly increasing the number of FTSE 100 Board roles filled by women to 25%, but emphasised the need for continued action by companies on improving the pipeline of female talent.


    Focus on ‘mezzanine’ level of women executives

    New voluntary targets are to be set by the Davies Review, and by The 30% Club, before the end of this year which will focus on increasing the number of females in executive management positions – those at the crucial ‘mezzanine’ or Board-ready level.


    Greater diversity means better business performance

    It is now rare for a Board to fail to recognise the business case for greater diversity in the workplace, says Brenda, and that the concerted push for greater diversity is going to produce better performing businesses.

  • Article
    CWN members take the stage at RADA see more

    Stepping into the spotlight - CWN members take the stage at RADA


    On the 9th September, CWN members were invited to strike a power pose, find their voice and experience a small taster of RADA in Business’s skills development programme: Executive Presence for Women.

    Led by RADA senior tutor Lisa Akesson, the audience were able to experience on a practical level how the course supports senior women in business to hold their space and make an impact.


    Performing with confidence

    92% of women recently surveyed expressed lack of confidence as being a major stumbling block for progression within their organizations. Combined with not being heard in meetings, spoken over and “manfirmation” (the owning of your idea by a male counterpart) many women have expressed frustration at seeing male peers outprogress them – despite not perceivably out-performing them.

    Lisa took CWN members through a series of exercises to “power up” their voices, bodies and ultimately their physical presence in this short taster session.

    Adopting the “power pose” for just a couple of minutes, based on Amy Cuddy’s research, has been proven to increase testosterone and decrease cortisol levels in our blood – significant factors in enabling us to perform with confidence. Our network had the opportunity to try these and other exercises out – and the effects were extraordinary.

    Participants started to walk with greater confidence, speak at a more intense and powerful (though not necessarily loud!) level and command greater attention when introducing themselves.

    All this in the George Bernard Shaw theatre at RADA – an appropriate backdrop as the playwright and socialist was dedicated to improving women’s standing and treatment in society.


    Sustaining this impact in the workplace

    RADA in business draws on the pedagogy from 111 years of the drama school to develop people to perform at their very best at work.

    The Executive Presence for Women programme offers a unique approach for senior women to transform their performance in the workplace. By experimenting, learning and embodying the behaviours and skills needed to develop heightened presence and impact, the experience is profound and meaningful for each individual.

    The experience enables the group to try out the multiple exercises, to practice in safe but exposed settings and to re embed the learnings via methods beyond just classroom training.

  • Article
    A memorable evening at The City Women Network Annual Gala Dinner 2015 see more

    A memorable evening at The City Women Network Annual Gala Dinner 2015


    The CWN Gala Dinner continues to be a wonderful highlight of the year.  Members and guests enjoyed an evening of networking, inspiring talks and fundraising at this year’s event, in the magnificent Edwardian building, One Great George Square.


    Making a difference to women in need

    Thanks to the generosity of those attending we raised over £16,000 for CWN’s Charity of the Year, Eaves,

    Tom Best from Christie’s led a particularly spirited live auction and guests also enjoyed winning lovely prizes in a raffle. The money we raised will make a real difference to Eaves which supports women who have been exposed to violence either through trafficking, discrimination or domestic or other abuse.  One of the beneficiaries of the charity spoke movingly about how Eves has transformed her life.


    Inspiring words from accomplished mountaineer, Rebecca Stephens

    Rebecca Stephens, a journalist, whose successful mountaineering feats include being the first British woman to climb Everest, delivered the keynote speech.  She delivered an insightful and humorous account of what it was like to take on such a challenge and to be successful as a woman in this male-dominated arena.


    Making the evening a success

    Jackie Ronson, Chair of the CWN Social Committee, her fellow committee members and other CWN members who took on a role to organise this terrific evening deserve a big thank-you. CWN would also like to extend a special thanks to GE Capital, the Gala Dinner Sponsor.


    Click here to view the Gala dinner brochure

  • Article
    A Holistic Approach to Your Wellbeing! see more

    How to be Brilliant Every Day – A Holistic Approach to Your Wellbeing!

    Words by Maria Mackenzie


    Advice on Developing Resilience and looking after your Mental, Physical and Nutritional Wellbeing

    CWN held an informative and fun seminar evening recently, hosted by RPC, where a panel of experts shared their advice and knowledge on developing resilience and adopting a holistic approach to your wellbeing.

    As we lead increasingly pressured and complex lives, and become subject to greater demands on our time and energy, it is essential that we are mindful of our personal wellbeing and develop the tools and techniques to respond and “bounce back”.

    The evening presented a full programme, packed with evidence-based advice and techniques from a panel of experts who were on hand to answer any queries at the end of the night.

    Each panellist emphasized the importance of taking responsibility for your own wellbeing and noted that a high proportion of injuries and conditions can often be prevented rather than treated. By being aware of our personal wellbeing across the full spectrum of our mental, physical and nutritional health, we can start to make simple lifestyle changes and incorporate positive routines into our daily lives.


    Physical Wellbeing – Turn Your Working Day into a Workout!

    Clare Fone, Founder of Westminster Physiotherapy & Pilates Centre, led an inspired discussion on the impact that stress and lifestyle choices can have on our physical wellbeing.

    As a highly experienced physiotherapist, Clare has treated a wide range of clients with a wide range of conditions over an extended period of time. In her extensive experience, Clare has identified that in many cases the underlying condition could have been prevented rather than treated, if the patient had taken greater care and responsibility for their overall wellbeing.

    Clare shared her practical advice based on her wealth of experience on how easy it is to make small changes to your daily routine, starting with thinking about your working day as your work out. The key is to make small changes and be consistent, for example standing or walking during conference calls, rather than spending lengthy periods of strenuous exercise on an infrequent basis. Clare encouraged us to think about our “energy bank” and “emotional bank” and as always, it is often good to check how the bank balance is looking!

    It is also beneficial to be mindful of the types of exercise we do, the way we exercise and to remember that exercise can be fun! Dancing, swimming, yoga and pilates are all encouraged and can be a good counter-balance to our hectic lifestyles.

    More information and advice on consultations can be found here:


    Nutritional Wellbeing – What is “Healthy”?

    One of the greatest challenges in making nutritional and wellbeing choices is the plethora of information now available – how do we know “What is Healthy?” and what is credible? It was reassuring to hear expert advice from Natalia Traxel, resident nutritionist at Westminster Physiotherapy & Pilates Centre.

    Natalia explained the role that stress and hormones can play in affecting our food choices, in particular in seeking out foods which are high in fat and high in sugar. This in turns creates a pain relief pattern and cycle of poor-eating which can have longer term effects on our energy levels and emotional wellbeing.  Foods which contain high nutritional value and promote overall wellbeing include avocadoes, flaxseeds and chia seeds, whilst sugars in all forms should be minimized where possible.

    As always, it is important to make the right food choices based on evidence and expert advice and Natalia recommended seeking appropriate professional advice and consulting your GP for thorough diagnostics tests if needed.

    Natalia has extensive experience in preventative medicine and encouraged attendees to adopt a common sense and moderated approach to diet and lifestyle.


    Mental Wellbeing – How to be Resilient Every Day

    Katie Ledger, Coach and Team Facilitator from Complete Coherence, provided the final panel presentation on ways to maximize your potential and be brilliant every day. Using a range of diagnostic techniques, Complete Coherence can measure and map the “Human Operating System” and develop an integrated Personal Energy Plan to maximize your development. Katie noted that in many cases, potential is underestimated and it is thought that people operate at 9-10% of their true potential. By being cognisant of our mental wellbeing, and understanding our emotional intelligence, we can begin to unlock this potential and promote greater success and wellbeing. A distinction was also made between horizontal learning and vertical development – it is important to be mindful of both and not only think about “what you know” but the “way you know it”. Further information on Complete Coherence can be obtained here:


    We look forward to taking the small steps needed to make big changes in our physical, mental and nutritional wellbeing!

  • Article
    ‘Plugged In … Tuned Out?’ – CWN Fourth Annual Conference see more

    The conference theme was based on the ubiquitous infusion of digital technology throughout our professional and personal lives. As digitization proliferates, what are the gains and costs to businesses and individuals and what are the implications?


    Click here to view the Summary.