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Rising Star in Sport Manisha Tailor awarded MBE in New Years Honours List

We are extremely proud to announce that WeAreTheCity Rising Star 2016 winner, Manisha Tailor, has been appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year 2017 Honours List for ‘Services to Football and Diversity in Sport’.

Manisha Tailor MBE - supporting mental health through sportOn being honoured with an MBE, Manisha warmly speaks of how instrumental her twin brother has been to her footballing journey.

“Wow, to be honoured by the Queen and be a recipient of such a prestigious honour is something that I will cherish always.  This MBE is dedicated to the continued 18 year commitment to aiding my twin brother gain a full-recovery from his mental illness that tragically changed our lives at the age of only 18 years old through his bullying at school.  I must also dedicate it to football, for without it I would be lost, where a part of me still remains so until I can speak to my brother again”.

Manisha began coaching in addition to her role as a full-time teacher in 2002 and worked across various boroughs in her 15 year teaching career to date, before qualifying as a head-teacher in 2011.  It was then, due to personal reasons, she chose to embark upon a career change to use football and education to help her brother and the wider community, to raise awareness of social inclusion and mental health.  There are many that have given Manisha much time and assistance whilst she continues her footballing education.

“There are many people that I will thank personally, for providing me with the support and much needed guidance to help me progress within football.  One person most recently, who I met again in April this year, at a most significant time in my life where I was going to be out of contract as Centre Manager at Middlesex CoE, is Chris Ramsey.  He gave me access to volunteer in a professional football club, before being appointed as the U9 Academy coach in September this year.  I will always be grateful to Chris for his mentorship and Queens Park Ranger FC for their commitment to diversity in football and I will endeavour to work hard and continue to learn from Chris as I continue to work through my coaching journey”.

Now, through Swaggarlicious, Manisha travels quite widely, using both football and education to create social change.

Let us continue to challenge perceptions of mental health and continue to use the power of sport in creating greater diversity

“Although I am humbled and grateful, I am equally sad.  The one person who I love so dearly may not completely understand or know what we have achieved together.  Football has given me an outlet, emotional release for my frustration, and for that I will always be indebted to the beautiful game.  Let us continue to challenge perceptions of mental health and continue to use the power of sport in creating greater diversity”.

Manisha Tailor MBE was recognised and awarded as a WeAreTheCity Rising Star in Sport in 2016 and she has gone on from strength to strength.  We are extremely proud of her success and we are very grateful to be able to follow her career and her initiatives.

Manisha Tailor MBE is the founder and director of Swaggarlicious


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Rising Stars 2016: So what happened next for our winners? | Part Five

In 2016, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran its Rising Star awards programme for a second year.

The aim of the awards was to identify 100 future leaders and role models under, management level, across 20 different industries. After more than 800 nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote.

The public vote resulted in over 27,000 votes from across 110 different countries and galvanized amazing support from our nominees’ networks, their companies, the press, as well as our own sponsors and supporters.

After a final judging process, we identified our amazing top 100 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors at a ceremony hosted by Barclays.

We spoke to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke with to Ellen Hartley, HR Business Partner at Barclays and winner in our Rising Stars in HR and Recruitment sponsored by Twenty Recruitment Group. 

Ellen Rising Stars 2016
Ellen please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

It’s been bit of a whirlwind since winning the award! I’ve found the support of the other winners and my colleagues at Barclays incredible; the whole experience has really opened my eyes to some of the other fantastic things people are doing across different companies, and I’m really pleased to have expanded my network further. I’m currently talking to some of the other winners about how we can work together to continue what we’ve started, build further awareness of Diversity and Inclusion and use our experiences to support others – watch this space!

“Winning the award has also opened more doors for me, it’s increased my profile internally and across the industry and I’m now starting to get involved in loads more, which I’m loving. There is a lot that we can individually achieve, and even more so together – I’m looking forward to what comes next!”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

  • Don’t wait for someone to give you permission, take ownership of your own career, try new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone. A small idea can have the biggest impact, you just have to believe in what you’re doing and give yourself the permission!
  • Make the most of your network, I didn’t realise how many people were interested or already involved in the things that I’m so passionate about. There are some truly inspirational people around us, you just have to ask, and you’ll be amazed at what you learn.

Next we spoke to Julie Thomas, Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager at Zurich Insurance plc and winner in our Rising Stars in Diversity category, sponsored by Aon. Julie Thomas Rising Stars 2016

Julie please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

“My career has absolutely soared since winning the Rising Star for Diversity award in June. It has been the most amazing platform for me personally. Winning seemed to unlock a confidence that I never knew I had and since June I’ve been asked to present at both internal and external events on my career journey and also Zurich’s approach to diversity and inclusion. In September I hosted a panel discussion with industry experts on wellbeing and also appeared at the DiveIn Festival on a panel talking about mental health. My company has been incredibly supportive and I’m about to go on media training so I can be spokesperson on diversity and inclusion (officially), as I’ve already done a few press interviews now.

I guess the absolute highlight has been that I’ve just been promoted and am going to lead diversity and inclusion for Zurich Group, so my remit will now be international. This is an incredible step up and amazing recognition for me. I’m hoping I can now be an inspiring role model for other women looking to achieve success in the insurance industry.”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

“Build your network. Your network is you career life-line – your future manager or mentor could be part of your developing network, and it gives you huge pool of experience and expertise to pull on if you have questions or problems you need help with.

Look at non-traditional way to develop your skills. I became a Girl Guiding Leader back in May 2015 as I wanted to develop my leadership skills whilst being able to influence young women and be a mentor at an early age. As well as leadership, I’ve really improved my listening and coaching skills.

Don’t be scared to change paths. I was sure I was going to be in communications until I retired but then I took a leap into HR, working on diversity and inclusion, and it reinvigorated me completed. I found a new passion for work and that energy has turned into the results I’ve seen today. Yes, it takes time to upskill again but it’s so worth it.”

Source: WeAreTheCity - Information and jobs portal for business women


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2016 Rising Star winner celebrated at the Pride of Britain awards

A former Rising Star winner was celebrated at the Daily Mirror’s annual Pride of Britain awards last night.

Francesca Brown, managing director and CEO of Goals4Girls, was presented with the Prince’s Trust Young Achiever Award by Dame Maggie Smith and HRH Prince Charles in a star-studded ceremony.

Brown has overcome depression and family troubles to build Goals4Girls, a football development programme, which works with young women, aged between 11 and 16. The programme aims to break down barriers and reduce inactivity amongst young women in sport, by raising the aspiration, self-confidence, self-esteem and mind sets of young women; inspiring them to set out and achieve their goals.

Goals4Girls has developed over 700 young women and is working closely with organisations like London Youth, Sports England, Prince’s Trust, The FA, London FA and Tottenham Hotspur Ladies.

Alongside Goals4Girls, Fran is the ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and is a FA Qualified coach who has worked with young women from BAME, African and ethnic minority communities’ across London.

On winning the Pride of Britain award, Fran said, “The biggest reward is watching the girls walk out on to the pitch or at training.”

“It also feels great when you can see how far they have built up their communication, teamwork, self-esteem and confidence.”

“I’m passionate about helping other young women reach their full potential by giving them the encouragement and training they need, which is something I never had.”

Speaking of their decision the award judges said, “Fran has overcome so much, and she has such a positive message for the young people she works with.”

“She is inspirational in so many ways.”

The Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, celebrates the achievements of remarkable people. Nominated by the public, the winners are inspiring people, of all ages, who have shown outstanding bravery, selfless acts and courage.

The full list of winners of the 2016 Pride of Britain awards include:

  • Billy Muir – Community Partner
  • Karen Johnson – Special Recognition
  • Nikki Christou – Child of Courage
  • Rhea Kara – GMB Young Fundraiser
  • Team GB - Special Recognition
  • Francesca Brown – Prince’s Trust Young Achiever
  • Groves Family – Special Recognition
  • Tilly Sawford – Child of Courage
  • William Edwards – Outstanding bravery
  • Simon and Tedd McDermott – Special Recognition
  • Dr David Nott – Special Recognition
  • Emergency services – Dr Simon Walsh, Dr Samy Sadek and paramedics Bill Leaning, Sam Margetts and Dean Bateman
  • Dylan Graves – Special recognition
  • Professor Stephen Hawking – Lifetime Achievement Award

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Rising Stars 2016: So what happened next for our winners? | Part Four

In 2016, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran its Rising Star awards programme for a second year.

The aim of the awards was to identify 100 future leaders and role models under, management level, across 20 different industries. After more than 800 nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote.

The public vote resulted in over 27,000 votes from across 110 different countries and galvanized amazing support from our nominees’ networks, their companies, the press, as well as our own sponsors and supporters.

After a final judging process, we identified our amazing top 100 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors at a ceremony hosted by Barclays.

We spoke to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke with to Kim Opszala, associate at Dentons and a winner in our Rising Stars in Law category, Sponsored by Reed Smith.

Kim please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?kim-opszala

“Since winning the Rising Star in Law earlier this year my career has moved forward in a number of ways.  Firstly, in July 2016 I was promoted internally to the next level of associate.  Second, as a result of the awards, I met Funke Ambimbola who has since mentored me.  Following my initial meeting with Funke I have become involved with Generation Success and Aspiring Solicitors and have recently been appointed as a school governor at Lord Grey, a local secondary school.

I am also in the process of being appointed as a trustee of St Francis’ Children’s Society, an independent adoption agency which places vulnerable children with new families and offers extensive adoption support.  Without meeting Funke I would not have known that such opportunities would be available to me!

I have also continued to volunteer for Worktree, an employability education charity on a mission to help young people succeed in work by broadening their career awareness, stimulating their aspirations and requiring their communication skills.”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

“My two top tips to enhance your career:

  1. Find a mentor – As a result of winning the award I was introduced to an award-winning lawyer who has helped me to broaden my skills set by making me aware of opportunities outside work.  Having an experienced person to advise and support is essential for your personal  and career development.
  1. Volunteer and give your time to help others – Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, gain new or use existing skills as well as make a big difference in your community.  As a result of my volunteering work, I met a local charity in Milton Keynes which specialises in re-settling refugees.  I was able to advise and assist them, on a pro-bono basis, on setting up their charity.”

Next we spoke to Babs Ofori-Acquah, Founder of Working Girl London and a winner in our Rising Stars in Technology category, sponsored by Morgan Stanley.

Babs please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?
Babs Ofori-Acquah

“My company was extremely supportive, publishing an article on my win on their website and sharing it across social media. This has certainly helped to raise my profile within the business, especially among more senior staff. I have been allowed to take on more responsibility by training the new starters within our team and I am now on track for a promotion despite having only been at the company for eight months!

Being shortlisted as Scale Up of the Year in the National Business Awards, my company had to pitch to the judges. I was chosen to pitch alongside our CEO and Head of PR, which was an excellent opportunity. I am confident that my win at the Rising Star awards has played a huge part in these successes and I’m sure it will continue to open doors!”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

“My number one top tip in getting ahead at work is – don’t be afraid to ask. Whether it is being part of a project, getting a promotion/pay rise or improving an internal process, you will get a lot further if you simply ask. rather than waiting for things to be handed to you. The worst possible thing that can happen is hearing the word ‘No’ and even in this case, no usually just means ‘not right now’.

“My other top tip is to tell people about your successes. Similarly to the point above, others won’t always notice your achievements. While you don’t want to come across as arrogant, it is still important to let others know how you contribute to the team and organisation as a whole.”

Source: WeAreTheCity - Information and jobs portal for business women


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Rising Stars 2016: So what happened next for our winners? | Part three

In 2016, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran its Rising Star awards programme for a second year.

The aim of the awards was to identify 100 future leaders and role models under, management level, across 20 different industries. After more than 800 nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote.

The public vote resulted in over 27,000 votes from across 110 different countries and galvanized amazing support from our nominees’ networks, their companies, the press, as well as our own sponsors and supporters.

After a final judging process, we identified our amazing top 100 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors at a ceremony hosted by Barclays.

We spoke to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke with to Adobea Atsrefi, Senior Internal Auditor, at AIG and a winner in our Rising Stars in Insurance category, Sponsored by Lloyd’s.

Adobea please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

adobea-atsrefi“After the awards I was featured on the AIG internal homepage along with the two other winners from AIG. This article was a celebration of our accomplishments and a thank you to all the employees for their support and votes! This was a great acknowledgement of our achievements and it definitely helped to raise our profiles within the company. We were also invited to a celebratory lunch with the Global CEO which was brilliant. It was nice of him to take time out of his trip to the UK to meet and congratulate us personally.

I was also asked to write an article which was focused on diversity from a millennials perspective. This article was also featured on the AIG intranet. I am still heavily involved in different diversity initiatives and will be helping to run an insight day for penultimate year university students to introduce them to the insurance world.

Finally I have recently been promoted into a Senior Auditor role. This is a role I would have only dreamed of getting but the department saw my potential and so far I love every minute of this new position. The job involves learning about different process within the business, talking to different individuals throughout the company and suggesting improvements if needed, so it plays directly to my skillset (especially the talking part!).”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

  • “Never be afraid to ask. If you want something, ask the right people and ask the right questions. If you need help, definitely ask! I’ve learnt that fear of asking can definitely hold you back but the worst anyone can ever say is ‘no’ and in my experience, people are always willing to help.
  • Mentors are different to sponsors but both are very important. A mentor will help train and guide you on skills you feel you need to develop, but a sponsor will champion you and help promote you to other individuals.
  • Believe in yourself and know your worth. Never underestimate what you are capable of. This is another thing I did (a lot!) but I have recently realised, I have a lot to offer, I deserve opportunities as much as anyone else and most importantly, I am more than capable! I think once you know that about yourself, the fear of not being good enough goes away (even if only slightly) and you open yourself up to more opportunities.”

Next we spoke to Danielle Ayres, Associate Solicitor, at Gorvins Solicitors and a winner in our Rising Stars in Law, sponsored by Reed Smith.

Danielle please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

danielle-ayres“Since June I have been asked to speak on various BBC Radio stations, across the country and also featured on the National News, discussing pregnancy and maternity leave.

I have been recognised in the Legal 500 for the first time for my maternity discrimination work, with the comment that I fight tirelessly for my clients without losing perspective.

I was asked to be a panel member for The Guardian in a live question and answer session regarding 'Tips on balancing your career whilst starting a family' with a follow-up piece featuring some of my advice in the Guardian.

I have continued my volunteer work for Pregnant then Screwed and Working Mums, which continue to assist those suffering pregnancy discrimination.”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

“Be confident in yourself and have faith that you can achieve even the impossible. You may get knock backs but take time to reflect on them, you will learn from your mistakes.

I suggest making a plan of action, what you want to achieve and the steps you need to take to make that possible. Don't be scared of deviating from the plan, as you never know what new opportunities this might bring, however check in on it at regular intervals to ensure that you haven't lost sight of your end goal.”


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Rising Stars 2016: So what happened next for our winners? | Part Two

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In 2016, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran its Rising Star awards programme for a second year.

The aim of the awards was to identify 100 future leaders and role models under, management level, across 10 different industries. After more than 800 nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote.

The public vote resulted in over 27,000 votes from across 112 different countries and galvanized amazing support from our nominees’ networks, their companies, the press, as well as our own sponsors and supporters.

After a final judging process, we identified our amazing top 100 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors at a ceremony hosted by Barclays.

We spoke to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

First we spoke with Karen Glenn, EA to Robin Brown VP Portfolio & Marketing & Kevin Kearns CFO at Colt Data Centre Services and a winner in our Rising Stars in EA/PA category, sponsored by Executive & Personal Assistants Association.

Karen, tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

karen-glenn Rising Stars 2016“When it was announced that I was a winner of one to the PA/EA Rising Stars, I had just been 1 week into a new role in the City of London. So, I here I was the new girl working hard to establish myself in a new company and then announced to them that they had hired a 2016 We are the City Rising Star EA award winner. I felt that I would have to set the bar high and felt I should ensure that I transitioned into the new company and role as quickly as possible. I have since been told that it was a pretty gutsy thing to do 1 week into a new job – the Execs I support would now expect an exceptional EA.

On the afternoon of the night of the award presentation, I was called into a meeting, my bosses came into the room followed by HR, I then thought, “hello – I hope this isn’t going to be bad..” Then they presented with some champagne to celebrate the award and told me how proud they were to have me working for them. Since then I like to think that I haven’t disappointed them and conversations and passing the usual probation period indicate that they more than happy.

When I am not working, I have been pulling together the 2nd networking event for NESS “Essex PA Network”, with my co-founder. Even though I work in London, I live in Essex and feel that it is important that the PAs of Essex have a regional network as not everyone wants to travel into London after work to attend events. Although it is time consuming with my working week and daily commute, NESS, is something that I am extremely proud and passionate about and with my co-founder, we aim to continue to grow this local network which then allows me to “pay it forward” to our “Nessies”.

I have also had some approaches via twitter and Linkedin from other PAs in my network, asking me for some careers advice. It is a real compliment to think that they value my opinion, experience and guidance to help them advance further.”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

“Don’t let yourself stagnate, if you don’t see any opportunities for you to develop your career internally, then it may be time to take the bull by the horns and move on. We are creatures of habit and sometimes just the thought of change is scary, but, there really are loads of opportunities out there for you, and if you work hard you can achieve your goals. It may take baby steps to get there but it will happen if you have the ambition and desire.

Networking (both via social media and in person) and it is a great way to get your profile/personal brand out there, I believe that for PAs/EAs networking is really important. The PA community on social media is fantastic and so supportive to each other.

It is important to make sure that you take every development opportunity you can, technology changes so quickly, you can also learn from your own networks that you are part of. Development isn’t always about having to spend money on training courses, although they are great, but don’t rule out any free training opportunities that may come your way. If you can get a mentor they can also help you in terms of development both professionally and personally.

Remember that you will never know what you are capable of until you take that first step and go for it.”

Next we spoke to Squadron Leader Sherry McBain, an RAF Nursing Officer, a team leader on the Critical Care Air Support Team (CCAST) and a winner in the Rising Stars in Defence category, sponsored by PA Consulting Group.

Sherry, tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards?

sherry-mcbain“Since the awards, my fellow Defence category winners and I have been celebrated across Defence Media platforms.

Life continues to be busy, In my day job, I continue to be the Lead Staff Officer responsible for the preparation, mobilisation and recovery of all Unit personnel sent on exercises, Operations or Defence Tasks. I am also responsible for the preparation, facilitation and delivery of all military mandatory training and the physical development of approx. 400 Unit Personnel.

In my role as Deputy Chair of the RAF Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network I co-organised a Defence LGBT Pride in Defence Conference which focused on Leadership, Culture and Outreach and was held at Ministry of Defence Main Building, Whitehall . The aim of the conference was to look at how Defence embraces the LGBT community, recognises the value of LGBT personnel, and how this continues to require strong leadership from both inside and outside the LGBT community in order to remain an employer of choice. We had 140 Attendee’s from all ranks and grades. Our VIP guest included the Permanent Secretary, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Chief of Defence People alongside Ruth Hunt (CEO Stonewall) and Senior leaders from all Services. The conference evaluated exceptionally well and the Chief Of Defence People has agreed to sponsor this event going forward.

Since the awards I was invited and participated in the ‘Authenticity in Leadership’ panel at the GE Aviation UK Diversity Conference. I also had the honor of leading the RAF marching contingent at this years’ London Pride in front of 80,000 spectators – one of my proudest career moments to date.

I was also very surprised to be notified recently that I have been selected to attend the Women of the Year Lunch on 17 October and I am humbled to be regarded as a ‘Woman of Achievement’ amongst 400 extraordinary women, one of whom I am delighted to announce, is my wife Mandy.”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

“Believe in yourself; even on those days when your brain is telling you ‘you can’t do it’. Take a deep breath and give it your best shot… you will never be able to do something unless you try. For all those people watching you – you set the standard and they will try to overcome their inner voice too remembering what you were able to achieve when you tried.

As a nurse I find helping others exceptionally rewarding whether that is in a nursing capacity, as an Officer in the RAF or as a friend/colleague. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing someone you have helped or mentored achieve their goals, whether that be promotion or acceptance onto a professional course or an improvement in their confidence. Time is a valuable commodity but try to make time for those who need it. Try and take on something challenging that stretches you – you only truly know what your capacity is when you put yourself into stretch.

Find a good role model and observe what they do and how they do – take the bits you admire and emulate them. It helps build your confidence and enables you to become the very best ‘you’.”

WeAreTheCity would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of our Rising Stars for sharing their successes with us. We are sure you will agree that they are all achieving amazing things and offering sound advice to future Rising Stars.

We look forward to featuring more of our Rising Stars next week. Please note our Rising Star programme for 2017 opens on 1st February 2017. More details will be posted to the site during January – click here for more information and to register your interest in our awards.

Source: WeAreTheCity - Information and jobs portal for business women


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Rising Stars 2016: So what happened next for our winners? | Part One

rising-star-2016-logo

In 2016, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran its Rising Star awards programme for a second year.

The aim of the awards was to identify 100 future leaders and role models under, management level, across 10 different industries. After more than 800 nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote.

The public vote resulted in over 27,000 votes from across 112 different countries and galvanized amazing support from our nominees’ networks, their companies, the press, as well as our own sponsors and supporters.

After a final judging process, we identified our amazing top 100 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors at a ceremony hosted by Barclays.
We spoke to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

First we spoke with Manisha Tailor, Director Swaggarlicious Ltd, and a winner in our Rising Stars in Sport category sponsored by PedalSure.

Manisha, please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

manisha-tailor Rising Stars 2016

“Since winning I have been able to plan and soon re-launch (this month) my mental health and football project which I run in partnership with Wingate and Finchley Football Club for adults with mental illness. Fortunately, sponsorship from Freedom for Minds has meant that I can now run sessions on a weekly basis, which I was previously self-funding and running once a month. This project will aid those with mental health to lead a healthier lifestyle, socialise and make friends as well as feel included within or wider society.

I have also visited Canada, Toronto where I was invited to coach a group of girls aged 8-14 years old, on a one-week football camp. Last year I was invited, by the same organisation, to coach in Canada, Alberta for two days and was equally excited and thrilled following both experiences. Coaching abroad and working in different demographics is vital learning and most certainly has enriched me as a coach and teacher.

More recently I have begun working at QPR academy and their development centre, following volunteering at the club over the last six months, three to four full days a week. I am enjoying learning from the technical director and other staff, and now just keeping focused whilst I work through my probationary period at the club.”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

  • Be willing to volunteer and take the time to learn from a wide variety of experiences/sources and hone your craft – credibility within an industry is very important.
  • Be open to being critiqued and view it as aiding development – challenges are part of growth.
  • Be determined, demonstrate resilience and try to remain humble – integrity is everything.

Next we spoke to Hayley Bennett, Education Officer at Kick It Out and a winner in the Rising Stars in Sport category sponsored by PedalSure.

Hayley, tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

hayley-bennett

“Very shortly after receiving the Rising Star award I was named on Football’s Black List for 2016 as One To Watch. It was really significant for me to be highlighted alongside what is a small but impressive minority of ‘movers and shakers’ from the black community in the industry I am in. Most people I met through WATC have either been coached or are coaches so that inspired me to start coaching back in June. It has been going really well and made me realise that I have even more ambition and direction than I thought I did!

I have expanded in my current role to lead on an exciting and rewarding project that I am really proud of. I am supporting a new diverse group of young people called ‘A.S.P.I.R.E. – Ambassadors Supporting and Promoting Inclusion, Respect and Equality’ by providing them with opportunities to develop as future leaders in the football industry.”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

  • Find yourself a mentor, and in my case a Fairy Godmother who can get you out of difficult situations.
  • Find someone to coach you if you need help working towards your goal.
  • Use the resources on the Careers Club website – there are countless ebooks, articles and even training to help enhance your career (for free!)

Next we spoke to Jennifer Corcoran, Office Manager/PA at Crédit Agricole CIB, and one of our winners in the Rising Stars EA/PA category, sponsored by Executive & Personal Assistants Association.

Jennifer, please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

jennifer-corcoran

“It has certainly been an eventful summer for me since winning the Rising Star award.

In July I was a champion for the networking category at The London PA Awards which was sponsored by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I was directly involved in the shortlisting process which was fantastic. I’m a massive advocate of networking so it was with great pleasure that I handed over the baton of ‘Networked PA’ to Jackie Barry. All of the finalists were truly inspiring and it was refreshing to see Assistants tooting their own horn.

Later on in the month I gave an ‘Alternative Interview’ to PA Life Magazine which was great fun. PA Life have also invited me to take part in their Training Day in November where I will form part of an interactive panel discussion on the interesting topic of ‘Getting your boss’s buy-in: How do you get your boss to support you and your development?’. It’s a topic close to my heart as not enough Assistants speak up and ask for training.

In August I made the brave move of leaving my comfort zone of 11 years and resigning from my previous role at CACIB. Being an active member of WeAreTheCity’s Career Club has empowered me to champion my role and profession and I’m hoping to pursue my passion of Communications and Technology in my next EA/PA role.

On the technology side I have been invited to contribute to Eventopedia’s new series of ProudPA Tech blogs which is exciting stuff.

The future is looking bright – I’m currently enjoying student life and attending workshops and conferences. I was overjoyed to win courtesy of Executive Secretary Magazine a scholarship award to attend ‘Be The Ultimate Assistant’ in November which is an empowering two-day workshop for Assistants. The workshop is led by Bonnie Low-Kramen and Vickie Sokol Evans. Bonnie is a co-founder of the professional association New York Celebrity Assistants (NYCA) and was PA to Oscar winning actress Olympia Dukakis for 25 years. Vickie Sokol Evans is a certified Microsoft Office Trainer who has trained the team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is a modern day tech wizard. To say that I’m looking forward to attending this is an understatement!

I’m forever grateful to EPAA for sponsoring the category of Rising Star EA/PA and can’t wait to attend their inaugural conference at the end of November. Victoria Darragh is a shining beacon of hope for all Assistants across the globe and there will be a lot of support, encouragement and empowerment in that room. Watch your twitter feed as #PAPower is sure to trend on November 25.”

  • What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?
  • Network and develop your personal brand both internally and externally. Do it both face to face and online. You can’t ignore social media, it’s here to stay. There are fantastic PA groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, free training opportunities on twitter and a global tribe of PA peers and trainers quite literally at your finger tips.
  • Join Associations – treat yourself as a valid professional and toot your horn. You are worth it and form an integral part of any executive management team.
  • Adopt a show and tell culture. In order to get buy-in at a company level you should keep your boss informed of what you have learnt at conferences, workshops, networking events etc. and show them the benefits of investing in you. In my last role I was able to get several hotels added to our global approved hotel list. I sourced these hotels via networking events through a PA association so the membership cost was validated. If I attended a conference such as Square Meal I brought back a catalogue of the latest restaurants for my boss and kept him informed of hot new restaurants and hotels which would be of use to us and our clients.
  • Be proud. You are not ‘just’ a PA.

WeAreTheCity would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of our Rising Stars for sharing their successes with us. We are sure you will agree that they are all achieving amazing things and offering sound advice to future Rising Stars.

We look forward to featuring more of our Rising Stars next week. Please note our Rising Star programme for 2017 opens on 1st February 2017. More details will be posted to the site during January – click here for more information and to register your interest in our awards.

Source: WeAreTheCity - Information and jobs portal for business women


WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Claudine Adeyemi launches app to support young people in career choices

claudine-adeyemi

Claudine Adeyemi, who at 16 years old started receiving support from Kids Company, has launched a mobile app to support young people on their career paths.

claudine-adeyemiAdeyemi was recognised as a Rising Star in Law in the WeAreTheCity Awards this year.

Now 26, living in South London, Adeyemi launched the app Career Ear through her non-profit organisation, The Student Development Co. CIC.

Adeyemi is currently a lawyer at Mishcon de Reya. She founded The Student Development Co in January 2014 with the aim of providing young people from less privileged backgrounds with career-related advice and support. Working with a team of volunteers she has helped of 150 young people so far.

Career Ear is a free app, which provides young people with a platform to ask career-related questions with responses coming directly from professionals across the UK. It has been designed to ensure that young people can make informed decisions about their careers at an earlier stage.

Adeyemi said: “Career Ear is a novel and techie way to address some of the issues we have come across with young people not having professionals in their families or wider networks to turn to for advice and lacking quality careers services at their colleges and universities.

“This often disproportionately affects black and minority ethnic groups. Professionals and companies need to take some responsibility for helping to develop our young people, some of who have such amazing potential but just lack the access to or knowledge of various opportunities. The app is an easy platform to achieve that.”

Adeyemi won Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Precious Awards 2015, was recognised as a Rising Star in Law in the WeAreTheCity Awards in 2016 and won the Judge’s Recognition Award in the Women 4 Africa Awards 2016. She is currently shortlisted for a Rising star in Professional Services Award in the Black British Business Awards 2016 and a Positive Role Model for Age Award in the National Diversity Awards 2016.

Career Ear is free to download for both students and professionals and is available in Google Play Store and App Store.

Source: WeAreTheCity - Information and jobs portal for business women


rising-stars-2015-top-50-winners

Rising Stars 2015 - So what happened next for our winners? | Part Six

In 2015, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran the first of its Rising Star awards programmes. The aim of the awards was to identify 50 future leaders and role models under a management level across 10 different industries. After a staggering amount of nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote. The public vote resulted in over 15,000 votes from across 112 different countries and galvanized amazing support from our nominees’ networks, their companies, the press, as well as our own sponsors and supporters. After a final judging process, we identified our amazing top 50 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors, friends and supporters at the House of Commons in September.

First, we speak with Memona Mohammad of BT, who was one of our winners of Rising Stars in Technology, sponsored by Morgan Stanley.

Memona, please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in September?

Memona Mohammad - Rising Star 2015 winnerI was featured on BT’s internal homepage, “BT Today”, in an article that shared some coverage of the award’s celebrations and acted as a thank you to colleagues who supported me, right from the nominations through to voting. It was great to get the encouragement and recognition both internally and externally.

Since the awards, the winners from the Technology category were invited to a celebratory lunch at Morgan Stanley. This was really nice of Morgan Stanley to host us. We were able to meet with other inspirational people from the firm, including Gerard Hester, Mark Looker, Ulla Harker, Harvey Weller, Louise Zenasni, Bo Lu and Katherine Loe. They have reached senior positions and worked in areas such as Foreign Exchange and Emerging Markets Technology, Technology & Data, Operational Support, Institutional and Wealth Management and some have even featured on WeAreTheCity.

Once a month, I am now also mentoring four female students, aged between 15-16 from a school in East Croydon. My aim is to help the students build on their strengths and confidence, stretch their capabilities and pursue their interests whilst learning about the opportunities and options they have when leaving school. As part of the Ethnic Minority Network Mentoring Scheme, I have also started mentoring an apprentice, who is in her second year at BT. It is truly rewarding to give back to others, helping them to think about their achievements, their future and how they can find opportunities that are right for them.

I have also been given the opportunity to take on more responsibility in my current role as an Account Manager, working with additional customers, taking on work from a new contract and being one of the main interfaces from BT. By doing so, I have been helping to build on their IT services, global WAN, ensuring customer satisfaction and innovation. I have also been able to learn more about the portfolio and how BT can help other service providers. I believe that there is no glass ceiling, there is only a mirror and the only thing stopping you from progressing is yourself, so don’t let that be a barrier.

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

• Help others. Whether it’s in the workplace or at events volunteering, when you are helping others you are sharing your experience, advice and knowledge and inspiring others to want to do well. At the same time you are also putting into practice your own skills and building on them. It’s a chance to do some networking, practicing how to present yourself and learning a lot from others around you too.

• Understand how your role fits into the company you work for, where the work comes from and the teams involved in the end-to-end processes. You also get to meet more people this way, building your relationships in the team and your knowledge too. Knowledge is power and I believe it helps to know the detail. You have to be willing to learn and encourage others to do the same.

• Really listen to other people and anyone you meet. Be open-minded and learn about their journey; listen to their stories, advice and decisions in life.

Next, we talk to Sarah Gerken of Willis, one of our winners of our Insurance Rising Stars category, which was sponsored by Lloyds.

Sarah, what has happened since winning your Rising Star award in September?

Sarah Gerken - Rising Star 2015 winnerSince winning the Rising Stars in Insurance Award, I have been promoted to the role of Account Director, something that usually takes a number of years to achieve. In this new role, I am responsible for the insurance and risk management of a rapidly expanding pharmaceutical company. My work to date has received special praise from the company’s CFO, Risk Manager and Company Secretary. I have also been invited to talk to graduates who joined the company in 2015 and mentor younger insurance professionals. Finally, an article dedicated to my success was published on the company’s intranet site.

So what top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

• Set yourself short (6 month) and longer term (2-3 year) goals. Write down how you plan to achieve those goals to avoid career stagnation. These have to be flexible enough so that any opportunities can be seized. The longer-term goals should include your next promotion/role.

• Seek out mentors. I have a mix of mentors whose careers I aspire to and/or who have been successful in their chosen field. Regular mentor meetings help ensure that you are on track with your goals and help to facilitate your progression through networking suggestions, introductions and advice.

• Continual learning. Always challenge yourself to learn new skills. Companies are often willing to invest in their staff. Therefore do not be afraid to push to be sent on training and development courses.

Finally, we talk to Debbie Grimshaw of Brother UK, one of our EA/PA category winners of 2015 Rising Stars, which was sponsored by Barclays.

Debbie, what has happened since winning your Rising Star award in September?

debbie grimshaw - Rising Star 2015 winnerWinning the award has raised my profile greatly in the EA/PA world and my network has extended beyond Manchester and the UK - I am now connected with EAs/PAs all over the world.

I have been featured on our company Twitter feed, our internal social media platform Yammer, through Manchester PA Network and I have written some PA magazine articles.

Following the award I was asked to contribute to Exceptional EA showcases, Real Careers, in which administrators from around the globe generously share the benefit of their experience by means of an interview. This has reached administrators in all corners of the world and in various industries.

I was extended an invitation to do my very first speaking event with EUMA at their regional training day in Manchester. It was an honour to be interviewed by Sheila Anderson, Founder of EUMA North West about my career and in particular my recent Rising Star award.

Then came the amazing offer from Victoria Darragh to sit on the board of the new EPAA, launching in January 2016 as a Non-Executive Director. I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to join the line-up of inspiring assistants that make up the board for this new and much needed professional association.

Last but certainly not least I was nominated for a Manchester PA Network Ambassador award in the inaugural Manchester PA of the Year Awards held in November 2015. I did not win in my nominated category, but I was stunned and absolutely speechless to receive the overall Manchester PA of the Year Award 2015.

Before winning the Rising Star award nobody really knew Debbie Grimshaw. Since then though, I’ve built my personal brand, had a platform in which to share experience and knowledge, pushed outside of my comfort zone speaking in public, won an award which will go down in history as the first ever Manchester PA of the Year and am now very excited to give back to the EA/PA community by joining the EPAA Board in 2016.

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

On the train down to the shortlist event at Bloomberg headquarters, I was questioning myself as to why I had ended up on a shortlist alongside other PAs who I felt already had huge profiles and were so well established in the EA/PA community. Having met those other PAs, listened to Vanessa Vallely speaking and after chatting with others about their nominations, I came away with a completely different mind-set. Yes I have worked hard, I have come a long way from the days of starting out as a receptionist/secretary, I am inspiring others and I did deserve to be there on that shortlist. So thank you WATC you have taught me to believe in myself.

My 3 top tips are:
• Find yourself a mentor. Having the right people to advise and support you should be part of your development strategy and never stay in a role where you can’t be heard, contribute or learn. Continue to invest in your personal development to open doors to broader responsibilities.

• Network online and in person. There is a huge amount of low cost or free training on offer, delivered by some really inspirational people. My career has grown, doors have opened and opportunities have come about, just by being connected with those people I have met at networking events. I now have the Google of Manchester at my fingertips…there's not a question you can put to the network that someone won't come back on with help, suggestions or even a solution for you.

• Give back and support others. Not only does it help them, but it’s great for your own personal development too. Whilst awards are wonderful to receive, my greatest reward will be to see someone else reach this achievement and know that sharing my knowledge and experience has helped them on their journey to success. At Brother UK, one of our values is to ‘grow ourselves by growing others’ and I truly get so much out of doing just that!

WeAreTheCity would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of our Rising Stars for sharing their successes with us. We are sure you will agree that they are all achieving amazing things and offering sound advice to future Rising Stars.

We look forward to featuring more of our Rising Stars next week. Please note our Rising Star programme for 2016 opens on 1st February 2016. More details will be posted to the site during January – click here for more information and to register your interest in our awards


rising-stars-2015-top-50-winners

Rising Stars 2015 - So what happened next for our winners? | Part Five

In 2015, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran the first of its Rising Star awards programmes. The aim of the awards was to identify 50 future leaders and role models under a management level across 10 different industries. After a staggering amount of nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote. The public vote resulted in over 15,000 votes from across 112 different countries and galvanized amazing support from our nominees’ networks, their companies, the press, as well as our own sponsors and supporters. After a final judging process, we identified our amazing top 50 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors, friends and supporters at the House of Commons in September.

Angela CookeFirst, we speak with Angela Cooke of PwC , who was one of our winners of Rising Stars in HR, sponsored by Twenty Recuruitment.

Angela, please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in September?  

A lot has happened for me since winning the Rising Stars awards. First of all, it was announced within PwC’s HR department and across the organisation.

I have also been up to lots of great stuff - I have led the launch of Back to Business, PwC’s return to work programme for women who have been out of the workplace for more than two years. This has resulted in significant press coverage externally and has resulted in raising my profile; internally within the firm at a board level and externally through other organisations, particularly as PwC is only one of nine other organisations to launch such a programme.

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?
  • Network, network, network!!
  • Get a sponsor. I was put forward for this award because I had fantastic sponsorship from Andy Woodfield. His support, along with WeAreTheCity, has been incredible. Thank you so much.

Donna OlliverNext, we talk to Donna Olliver of KPMG, one of our winners of our EA/PA Rising Stars category, which was sponsored by Barclays.

Donna, what has happened since winning your Rising Star award in September?

Since the awards, both Caroline Renouf and I were covered within the Guernsey Press. I was asked to write an article for Real Careers: Exceptional EA. I’m still mentoring in the office and Caroline and I are thinking on how we can give back next year. I think winning the award has given me more confidence.

So what top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?
  •  Don’t be afraid to ask for training. The world is changing so fast that if you don’t keep up, you will be left behind.
  • Have a mentor, it doesn’t matter if you are new to the role or if you have been in it for years. There are still things that you can learn from others.
  • Join a PA network. It gives you a chance to meet fellow PA’s in your area and you can learn, network and support each other. It’s a great thing to be part of.

WeAreTheCity would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of our Rising Stars for sharing their successes with us. We are sure you will agree that they are all achieving amazing things and offering sound advice to future Rising Stars.

We look forward to featuring more of our rising stars next week. Please note our Rising Star programme for 2016 opens on 1st February 2016. More details will be posted to the site during January – click here for more information and to register your interest in our awards