Tag Archives: charity

Interview with Jo Moseley who rowed 1,000,000 metres for charity

Jo Moseley is 49 years old. She lives in Skipton in West Yorkshire. Earlier this year she decided to embark on a bit of a challenge: to row 1,000,000 metres, a half marathon and then a marathon on a rowing machine to say Thank You and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support who have been looking after both of her parents. Listen to a 10-minute podcast with fabulous Jo!

If you’d like to support Jo Moseley and her tremendous challenge, you can donate via www.justgiving.com/onehappyrower

Jo is rowing a marathon in Ilkley Tennis Club on 21 December 2014. If you live nearby, do pop by and give her a cheer! You can also give her a shout on Twitter via @OneHappyRower

Jo Moseley


Maybe I’m Crazy But… with Jen Brister, Sarah Weldon, Chi Onwurah and Helena Morrissey

Maybe I’m Crazy But… this time I’d like to celebrate women who embarked on the most audacious of missions, came up with the most impossible ideas, weren’t afraid to break conventions and set their own rules.”

It’s always a thrill to open a Ladies Who Impress celebration, and our 5th event was very special indeed: a packed room with over 100 guests, very naughty espresso martinis and not three but four fabulous guest speakers from very diverse backgrounds: stand-up comedy, education and adventure, politics and the City. Backgrounds aside, their stories were equally inspiring and here are some of the highlights.

Jen Brister

Jen Brister’s profile on Twitter says: “I am a stand up comedian and I am a woman. I know AS IF?”

Jen did have a stab at the 9 to 5, selling advertising space, once in her twenties, but having studied stand-up comedy (although by her own admission, you cannot be taught to be funny…), she knew that her calling was to be on stage. You may think that Jen has always been supremely confident to take on live comedy, but it’s about ‘faking it till you make it’ and then being on stage becomes natural and quite a bit addictive… Why, I can even relate to it myself.

To see Jen perform live, check out her website or Twitter.

Sarah WeldonSarah Weldon is setting off to row solo around Great Britain in May 2014. Nope, this hasn’t been done before but this incredible woman has come up with an insanely ambitious plan to raise awareness and funds for the Oceans Project she founded in 2010, whilst teaching kids in Georgia. The project has a custom-built online platform with English and Science lessons delivered via Skype. Funds raised will buy tablets, internet access, projectors, solar charges, and, ultimately, education, for kids globally.

There are many ways to help, so please get involved! For just £10 sponsorship, you can get your name on her boat!

Chi OnwurahChi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle and Shadow Cabinet Minister, joined us straight from the Parliament, which, by her own admission, still largely resembles a men’s club.

When asked about her most treasured achievements, Chi first told us about her career as an Electrical Engineer, connecting Nigeria’s first telecoms network to her father’s house and making him proud.

Chi is incredibly passionate about getting more women interested in science, engineering and technology. On a personal note, if she had any spare time, she would study … Portuguese.

Helena MorrisseyHelena Morrissey advised women to be open to opportunities, get noticed rather than blend in and be proactive because merit alone isn’t enough to advance your career. Otherwise, she talked about doing not just ‘white’ and ‘dark’ but ‘orange’ laundry, an ordinary chore for a mum of nine…

Helena’s foundation, the 30% Club, committed to greater gender diversity on corporate boards through voluntary actions, has made great progress since 2010: now only 2 FTSE-100 boards have no female directors and 20% of all FTSE-100 directors are women, up from 12.5%. To find out more about the 30% Club, please visit its website.

Fabulous five

This event has been generously sponsored by:


The Makers Academy, offering full-time web development courses for both IT professionals and complete beginners and helping their graduates to get jobs at top technology companies in London. 

They also offer £500 scholarships for women to promote greater diversity in the tech community.


Cru Kafe, a new brand of 100% Arabica, organic, eco-friendly coffee, delivered in biodegradable pods, compatible with Nespresso machines.

Indeed, the evening wouldn’t be the same without the Cru Kafe team and their fabulous espresso martinis…

Many thanks also to Abby Chicken, Anne Sommerfield, Michael Hobden and James Stittle!

Jana with Jen Brister

Cru kafe martinisJana with Helena

Jana with Sarah

“An incredibly inspiring event, highlighting successful women”

“Far exceeded my expectations – a truly inspirational evening. A room full of positivity and forward thinking. Cannot wait for the next event!” 

“I left the Maybe I’m Crazy But.. event feeling pumped up for life. Such inspiring women make you realise you can do anything!”

Julie Ritter and a story of Floral Angels

Floral Angels

Last week I met a former journalist, Julie Ritter, who together with three other wonderful women, Frances Hunter, Gracia Lafuente and Amanda Romain set up a charity Floral Angels

The founders of Floral Angels

Frances Hunter, Gracia Lafuente, Julie Ritter and Amanda Romain

The co-founders met on a floral design course here in London and were astonished by the wastage within the floral industry. This coincided with them being at a time in their lives when they wanted to start giving back and so Floral Angels was formed.

Floral Angels recycles donated flowers from events, weddings and florists. These flowers are re-styled into bouquets of kindness and given to those in need. In their first year of operation they have delivered over 3,000 bouquets to hospices, women’s refuge centres and care homes.

Floral Angels share frequent updates via their page on Facebook. Have a look!

Mission Impossible with Sarah Hyndman, Marianne Elliott and Hanna Sykulska-Lawrence

On October, 31st, 2012 seventy fabulous females gathered in The Groucho Club in London’s Soho for the very first celebration of Ladies Who Impress. Lawyers and nutritionists, bankers and writers, media professionals and academics, they were all equally curious, and they were about to be impressed…

Ladies Who Impress series started with Mission Impossible, an evening encouraging women to be inspired by the extraordinary achievements of ordinary women and to build up confidence to embark on even the most audacious missions of their lives in the future. In an intimate setting of The Groucho Club, the guests met three impressive women:

Sarah Hyndman is a creative polymath. In 2003 she founded the graphic design agency With Relish which works with clients from the arts to corporate sectors on a wide range of projects. Sarah teaches creative workshops, organises exhibitions, has launched a creative collaboration project with photographers, illustrators and anybody else who has the enthusiasm to have a go. Sarah continuously challenges herself with new ideas such as the Olympic Logo A Day project (for which she was interviewed by the New York Times) and The Random Project 2012 which is a growing collection of postcards documenting London in 2012. When Sarah isn’t busy being creative, she can be found kickboxing in Shoreditch or off having an adventure somewhere around the world.

Marianne Elliott is an Associate Director of the National Theatre in London. She is best known for the play War Horse, which she co-directed for the National Theatre, the West End and Broadway and for which she received the Tony Award for Best Direction of Play. She then directed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a brilliant production based on the award-winning novel by Mark Haddon, which made its way from the National to the West End and Broadway.

Before her tenure at the National Theatre, Marianne was an Associate Director at the Royal Court, where her productions included Stoning Mary, Notes on Falling Leaves, The Sugar Syndrome and Local. Other select theatre includes productions for the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester where she directed such plays as Design for Living and As You Like It; Much Ado About Nothing set in Cuba for the RSC and The Little Foxes at the Donmar. In an interview she gave to The Telegraph in 2010, Marianne said: “Theatre requires a huge amount of energy. So it has to be brilliant, I think. It has to be life-changing. Or what’s the point?”

Hanna Sykulska-Lawrence is an engineer, a Royal Society Research Fellow at the University of Oxford Department of Physics and a bit of a genius. In 2008 Hanna took part in an exciting project as an Instrument Downlink Engineer at NASA mission control station in Arizona. She was the only female engineer in her team and the youngest in a group of British scientists to take part in NASA’s Phoenix mission to Mars. She was the first person to see new images from Mars every day, produced using a piece of hardware 150 million miles away that she herself had designed and made. Hanna was selected as the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2008 at the age of 26. Hanna is currently continuing space research at the University of Oxford. She is actively involved in promoting engineering to young people, breaking the stereotype of this profession being dominated by men in blue overalls. Hanna’s favourite colour is pink.

In addition to being a fun occasion, the event raised £800 for Huntington’s Disease Association, a charity contributing to research and supporting families, affected by Huntington’s disease.


“I just wanted to thank you for putting on such a great event. You were the perfect host and all three women were so inspiring. I came away from it feeling really happy, confident and ready to take on the world, so thank you! “
Ana Foster-Adams

“Massive congratulations on last night! Your first event was a triumph. I really thought it was fabulous, and there was such an inspiring buzz in the room with a gathering of like-minded females. Can’t wait for the next one.”

“I’ll be thinking for days, but I think one thing I took away from it was that ‘you can do anything, but you don’t have to do everything’.”
Laura Stevens

“Great night, many thanks. It was good to attend such an inspiring event and also to attend an event with lots of lovely inspiring ladies and not an annoying power woman in sight!”

“You were a brilliant hostess and the interviews were great. Very well done for organising such a great event and thank you, I felt very inspired!”
Sadia Salam