10’s Great Women’s
Cheese & Wine Party

Every year, as founder and CEO of 10, I invite the wonderful women we work with and know to join us in a very fancy restaurant to celebrate the power of our gender and all the achievements of this fantastic group of people.

This year, I wasn’t going to let lockdown stop us. Using zoom, we all joined a virtual top table together and had a good old catch up, discussing everything from politics to business to charity and Prince Andrew… more on this shortly.

Every year we’re lucky enough to be joined by my school friend of 42 years and journalist Jo Coburn, presenter of BBC Politics Live, who gives us the inside scoop on goings on at Westminster. This year, we had to discuss coronavirus and the way that the UK government have responded, touching upon the lack of women in government and among Boris’ scientific advisers involved in key decision making. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a cabinet reshuffle…

We were also joined by Sam McAlister, the Newsnight producer who has finally been recognised for her work with two Royal Television Society awards after spending a year securing Prince Andrew for that interview. Her insights into the whole process, from negotiating the interview to its actual taking place and the aftermath were utterly compelling and she masterfully responded to an unending barrage of questions from the group!

Others at the virtual top table included president of techUK, Jacqueline de Rojas (check out her wonderful Desert Island Disc if you haven’t already), co-founder of the Billion Dollar Fund, Shelly Porges, and angel investor Vin Murria, who earlier this month became the biggest shareholder in M&C Saatchi.

Long-standing clients included the CEO of Confused.com, Louise O’Shea, CMO of Centrica, Marg Jobling and Head of Comms at Mishcon de Reya, Hayley Geffin.

New friends included the oh so glamorous Head of IoT at Vodafone, Pamela Brown, the fiercely bright Chief Commercial Officer at Kensington Mortgages, Vicki Harris and Alison Goodman from Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice – who has been going over and above the amazing work the hospice do by opening their doors to children who can no longer receive care at hospitals dealing with Covid-19.

We finally raised a special toast, or as I like to say ‘l‘chaim’, to our wonderful client Felicity Ashley at Centrica. A beacon of inspiration to all of us, Felicity is embarking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 2021, which will see her row 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua & Barbuda. In a four-women boat, she’ll be rowing for 3 hours followed by 2 hours sleeping, for 40 consecutive days at sea. This extreme mental and physical challenge is known as ‘the world’s toughest row’ – and she’s doing it to inspire her children and to remind us all that there’s nothing our gender cannot do.

Despite the fact that we were all physically separated, the hour-long conversation felt incredibly galvanising. During such challenging times, with the highs and lows that lockdown brings, it was hugely re-energising to be in the presence of and engaged in conversation with such a high calibre group of fantastic women.

I cannot wait to see you all again, once lockdown is over. But for now, here’s to the power of bringing 10’s dynamic women together – l’chaim!