MT launches Inspiring Women networking programme

Dotti Irving, Cilla Snowball and Peninah Thomson share their experiences of climbing to the top in business, on the eve the government announces a new women mentoring programme.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 04 Nov 2011
Nearly 100 women filled the Courthouse Doubletree in central London last night to hear three of Britain’s leading business women share the stories behind their success for the launch of MT’s Inspiring Women networks.

Colman Getty founder and CEO Dotti Irving, AMV BBDO’s chief Cilla Snowball and women-on-boards champion Peninah Thomson were the keynote speakers. The three women shared what they had learned on their way to the top and gave tips to success.

Dotti Irving spoke about the importance of recruiting the best staff, and learning how to delegate: ‘There are some jobs I would love to do, but I give them to other members of the team because that’s their job and it’s nice to see your staff develop.’ Cilla Snowball, often cited as advertising’s most powerful woman, agreed; adding that it’s important to pay attention to detail. She said that winning the Sainsbury’s account after the group was asked to re-pitch to the supermarket chain for the first time in 28 years was the toughest campaign she’d worked on.

All three women agreed on the importance of mentors. Peninah Thomson, who runs the FTSE 100 Cross-Company Mentoring Programme and is head of the Mentoring Foundation, argued that the economic climate would be less uncertain if there were more women on boards: ‘The economic climate is darkening globally, and it’s going to get worse. Women are the solution to these circumstances. We need them to make strategic decisions,’ she said.

And the government agrees. Home Secretary Teresa May announced today that women who want to grow their own businesses will be offered the support of 5,000 volunteer mentors. ‘This is as much an economic imperative as an issue of fairness,’ she said. The issue of women in the boardroom is still a pressing issue. Lord Davies’ report recently revealed that the percentage of women on FTSE 100 boards had increased, but still only stands at 14%.

The Inspiring Women event followed on from MT’s 35 Women Under 35 programme, which celebrates women who are leading the way in business. Look out for the forthcoming Inspiring Women Conference next spring.

- See pictures of the event on our Facebook page.

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