London in Her Eyes with Jenny Dawson, Katherine Grainger and Xiaolu Guo

On 17 June 2013 seventy brilliant, curious, eager to be inspired women gathered at the Cecil Sharp House for the summer celebration of Ladies Who Impress. The first hour is always magical: excitement, anticipation, “old” and new faces, the heart is racing as adrenaline kicks in..

I need not have worried: the evening was a success, guaranteed by such an inspiring trio of talented, brave, honest and beautiful ladies: founder of Rubies in the RubbleJenny Dawson, one of Britain’s most iconic athletes, Katherine Grainger and British-Chinese writer Xiaolu Guo.

“Fascinating”

“Friendly, inspiring, genuine, believable, easy-going, happy and, most of all, HONEST”

“As always, fun and inspiring”

“Diverse, balanced and fantastic. Informative and emotional”

“Exceeded expectations”

Thank you for the kind words, your continued support and your contribution to the Alzheimer’s Disease International, a charity raising awareness about dementia in the UK and internationally.

London_with_Jenny London_with_KatherineLondon_with_Xiaolu London_audience

A few inspirations from the evening…

Jenny DawsonJenny Dawson told a story of how a Mayfair fund manager spotted an opportunity in the midst of food waste at London’s wholesale markets, and before she knew it, she was cooking chutneys and changing lives of disadvantaged women.

In Jenny’s view, all entrepreneurs share a certain degree of naïvete or lack of fear. For her, launching Rubies in the Rubble has been about the journey. It’s impossible to predict how successful you’ll be, but if you’ve put your passion into your business, given it your best and learned along the way, you won’t have any regrets.

Jenny’s London is a kaleidoscope of London canals, St. James’s Park, New Spitalfields and Borough Markets, best enjoyed in the sunshine on her bike.

Rubies in the Rubble chutneys are now available at Waitrose.

Katherine GraingerKatherine Grainger confessed that it was not until the second year at Edinburgh University that she took rowing seriously, and then it took a lot of hard work, determination and stamina to become world’s best. Katherine’s London is the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, the unrivaled atmosphere of the London Games and the triumphal moment of glory, when she claimed that very special Gold with partner Anna Watkins in women’s double skulls.

During the interview, we got to know Katherine not only as a strong, incredibly gifted and inspiring person but also as a grounded, soft and even a wee bit vulnerable woman.

Katherine’s autobiography Dreams Do Come True comes out in August 2013.

London_Xiaolu28ae97Xiaolu Guo’s raison d’être is to fight indifference, stereotypes and mediocrity of art. She is a fighter, a rebel, a revolutionary. Every novel, every film, every story is a message, and even humour is just a veil, gently covering a tragedy, soul-stirring content, a serious cause. At the same time, Xiaolu is painfully aware of the commercial challenges of the creative world.

Xiaolu also talked about her 5-month-old daughter, and how her birth and registry at the Hackney Town Hall has transformed Hackney in her eyes from a rough, dirty, criminal area of London into a very precious, special place.

Flick through the selection of Xiaolu’s novels on Amazon.

Jana Bakunina, Jenny Dawson, Xiaolu Guo and Katherine Grainger

Jana Bakunina, Jenny Dawson, Xiaolu Guo and Katherine Grainger

I’d like to thank GOSH Food for the generous sponsorship of the event and encourage you to check out Ange’s website and Facebook page. I’d also like to thank Liam, Simone, Clare, Kait, Sarah and my mum(!) for their invaluable help.

Until next time..!

Jana

P.S. In case you are curious, only 10 of the 70 ladies who attended the celebration were born in London. My favourite words in the English language are succulent, meanwhile and properly. The playlist on the night was inspired by Maybe It’s Because I am a Londoner by Flanagan & Allen.

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  1. Pingback: The F Word, a Ladies Who Impress celebration with Nicole Wilson, Alice Arnold and Polly Courtney

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