Our most recent event, which may have been our deepest meeting so far, was inspirational, and eye-opening on so many levels.
We wanted to celebrate International Women's Day and the achievements of women among us whilst showing our solidarity with women from Ukraine through fundraising.
Firstly, we were welcomed to the beautiful surroundings of Wedlake Bell LLP blessed with a warm spring evening we admired dusk falling over the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. We thank Kasia Ziolo for making this happen and for her amazing hospitality throughout the evening. One of the Partners, Frances Coulson, the mother of three daughters herself, identifies with the WBL’s motto: Empowerment Inspiration Diversity.
The evening was opened by a presentation on Purpose by Tomasz Dyl from GottaBe!Marketing. The questions on our ‘why?’ resonated with the attendees and the presentation were quoted by the panellists and attendees throughout the evening and in conversations on social media thereafter. No doubt Tomasz masterfully explained why defining our purpose is so important.
Then a panel discussion followed. It featured three exceptional women:
Elaine Banton, employment and equality barrister, Co-Chair of the Bar Council’s Equality Diversity and Social Mobility (EDSM) Committee, and Former Co-Chair of Middle Temple’s Race Equality, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Working Group; and
Kate Kowalska, Premier Banking Manager at Natwest, is very experienced and very dedicated to assisting and supporting her clients, passionate about promoting women’s financial independence and entrepreneurship.
Even the largely abbreviated CVs show the caliber of our panellists. Although representing completely different spheres of life and business sectors, they were united in their mission to help other women, within their sectors and with the tools and talents that they possess.
Amy’s business help women look good, which translates into feeling confident and empowered. Elaine represents and gives voices to those discriminated; she advocates equality for women and minorities; Kate helps women reach financial independence.
When asked how they help women, they agreed that making the way for the next generation and support through mentoring is key.
Throughout the evening
Throughout the evening we acknowledged how lucky and fortunate we were, not only because we were a part of that beautiful evening but also because we enjoyed basic possessions like a bed, water and food. We were united in gratitude for what we had. The evening had a very special meaning for a lot of us. Four weeks of the war in Ukraine has made many of us feel guilty that we have this all whilst people are losing their homes and families. At the same time, we realised that our sorrow does not help anybody and that we can use our position to be helpful and effective. That we can do a lot of good. And a lot of us have been involved in fundraising, volunteering to help people in Ukraine and their refugees in other countries. A special mention should go to Renata Kaminska, who not only helps to collect and distribute donations but also is having her book ‘Hector’ translated to Ukrainian so that the children from Ukraine have a book to read and enjoy in their language.
However, Magda Harvey’s presentation was a real shock. Magda is a well-known businesswoman and the owner of the White Eagle Club in Balham, London. The club has featured in various news items as it became a hub for donation collection and distribution, a place where 200 volunteers work daily to sort the donations and organize their deliveries to the most needed. Magda closed the club for commercial activities immediately when she learned about the war, the response to her request for donation exceeded everybody’s expectations. Within a month they sent 50 trucks and 66 vans, 1201 tons of donation. She shared shocking pictures of people in need and showed an insider’s knowledge that goes beyond what we see in the news. She has raised the awareness of the fact that the need for help is constant. Financial donations are needed but so are things. Many places do not have food or nappies. Magda’s volunteers receive requests for specific donations and work on matching them and sending the right deliveries. So far, they have been self-sufficient. Because the need is ongoing, they have lists of needed items, which are updated daily. They also set up Go fund me page. So, if sending money is easier, please give a little as everything helps and you are saving and improving lives. The need for humanitarian aid is constant so help any day!
Then we had a bit of fundraising fun. Thanks to the generosity of our members and supporters and our great sponsors Souvre and GottaBe! the raffle was a great success. We all managed to raise nearly £900. Thank you for your generosity.
The proceeds are split between the DEC Ukrainian as the NatWest pledge to match the donation means that it doubles the value of the collected amount and to: http://whiteeagleappeal.tilda.ws/ as it was clear that their people know how to efficiently help those in need.
Thank you all for your big hearts and let’s not stop there.
See you at the next event.
Women’s Business Link
Take care of yourselves.