ladies who (don’t) lunch

Ladies who don't lunchIt was International Women’s Day today and my colleague and I headed off to Grosvenor Square for an event hosted by recruitment giant, Angela Mortimer. The event was in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, a cause close to so many hearts, including my own. It was a ladies only lunch for ladies who don’t lunch.

There wasn’t an empty seat in the room, which is impressive compared with typical corporate event drop-out rates, and I’m not surprisedĀ  the speaker line-up included Amanda Wakeley and Pru Leith (and that’s before we’d given a thought to the scones & clotted cream).

Brigadier (Retd) Nicky Moffat CBE, the highest ranked woman in the British Army, (no moustache) gave an inspirational talk, not on how to survive in a man’s world, but how a diverse team (man, woman, black, white) can create a platform for success. Angela Mortimer told us that 39 years ago she had only been able to go into business because she had a male business partner who wrote the cheques. But it was Pru Leith who took the biscuit, so to speak. Her original business was delivering ‘dinner parties’ to rich Londoners from her small flat she shared with Benedicat, her mischievous cat. He went missing one day and she received a phone call from a customer. ‘Do you have a cat called Benedicat?’ ‘Yes, I’m so sorry, has he climbed on to your roof again?’ ‘No, but his cat collar is in my trifle!’

Of course from those humble, hairy beginnings Pru Leith came to be the first woman to own and run a Michelin starred restaurant, Leith’s and a catering company by the same name. Angela Mortimer is now one of the biggest & best-known recruitment agencies, Amanda Wakeley one of the highest profile names in fashion retail. Few events are genuinely inspirational: this one was. I left with aspring in my step and a real belief that we women had not only done good (for Breakthrough Breast Cancer) but would also do well.