A few evening’s ago, I heard the phrase ‘connectrepreneurs’ and it made perfect sense. In celebration of the end of International Women’s Month, MSL held a Semple Secrets event at The Club at The Ivy in Covent Garden, London. My panellists were three amazing women: Carol Bagnald, Vanessa Vallely and Peggy Dannenbaum. These women were different from each other but shared similar stories about the challenges and joys of being a woman in business.

picOur panel of visionary women at work

Carol, Regional Commercial Director, London at HSBC, sits on the board of the British Fashion Council and Chairs Celsius, the exclusive top 100 Corporate club for CEOs/MDs and recently joined the advisory board for the Radius Business Network.

Vanessa, author of Heels of Steel and founder of WeAreTheCity network, serves on the boards of Prostate Cancer UK and Women of Influence for Cancer Research. She is also the Pearly Queen for the City of London.

Peggy, founder of La Fornaia in 1985, bought ciabatta to the English market supplying Harrods and Marks & Spencer. She has worked for a boutique venture capital advisory firm and has extensive background in corporate finance and turnarounds.

During the event we had a lively and wide ranging discussion. Our audience at The Club was attentive, inquisitive and supportive and in answer to a question about women helping each other, Vanessa mentioned ‘connectrepreneur’ – her word for the ability of us all to be generous with our networks by positively connecting people.

pic22Our fabulously connected audience

We also had an online audience made possible by Andre Portasio and his team from ArtStreaming TV Ltd. Over 200 people joined us from UK, USA, Italy, France, Greece, Spain, Angola, Canada, Taiwan and Japan. This audience interacted with us throughout the evening and sent questions which the panel answered

pic3And we are live

As the audience listened to these three extraordinary women, I was reminded of a quote by Maya Angelou, an American author and poet:

“We delight in the beauty of a butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

The life experiences of Carol, Vanessa and Peggy revealed them to be thoughtful and resourceful women who have made a positive impact on many people’s lives. We also learned of the challenges that each of them had faced in attempting to achieve their success.

At MSL we are curious about people and their achievements. We research and document stories of individuals and companies and I like to think that we are successful connectrepreneurs!

By Maggie Semple

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