Barclays Wealth and Investment Management recently hosted a celebratory breakfast to mark International Women’s Day.
More than 80 invited guests were given an insight into the world of female business and entrepreneurship by guest speakers Marco Leonetti, owner of Utopia & Purite Salons, Faye Moffett, partner in legal firm Appleby (Isle of Man) LLC, and Mary Doyle, Hospice Isle of Man PR and Marketing Manager.
International Women’s Day was first celebrated more than 100 years ago. The event is now recognised in many countries worldwide and this year’s theme was ‘Inspiring Change’.
Barclays Wealth and Investment Management HR Director Elaine Codona, who helped introduce the speakers, said: ‘Barclays recognises the importance of securing and developing the best talent to achieve our goals and deliver value to our customers, clients and shareholders. With women forming the majority of the world’s population, they play an integral role to our business. Barclays supports a number of initiatives for women, including the internal Women’s Initiatives Network, established in 2007, and the Aspire Foundation, an international organisation that supports women through a mentoring programme, which I’m proud to be a part of.’
Marco, who runs an academy for talented trainee hairdressers, discussed changing fashions, attitudes and trends among women. He talked about the importance of training, explaining that successful training is a catalyst for change, before concluding with an Italian saying: ‘A woman who doesn’t change becomes invisible’.
Marco said: ‘Each morning, before my clients come in, I have 15 minutes with my team to speak with them and inspire them. My main inspiration comes from the 14 girls who I currently have in my training academy, they are all exceptionally talented individuals to whom I am passing my learnings after 35 years in business.’
Faye, who has recently been promoted to Head of the Corporate and Commercial Practice at Appleby, spoke about her career, from criminal law to being appointed to her new position, including recent work on the AIM listing of Manx Telecom and the sale of Royal London 360. She also discussed the challenges of balancing a career with being a mother to two young children.
She said: ‘I have always viewed males and females as equals, however, when I began researching the differences between men and women within the legal profession, I was surprised to find that over 50% of new entrants to the profession are women, when it comes to partnership at the top 100 UK law firms that figure drops to 23% and when it comes to equity ownership, this drops even further to 9%. Taking the view that women self-select themselves out of these positions is too simplistic, however women must be prepared to put themselves forward for promotion, to step out of their comfort zone and risk failing. You have to take opportunities, and dare I say it, be seen as ambitious.’
‘We are fortunate to live in a country where women are celebrated and are beginning to make an impact in areas that, historically, have been male dominated. Some countries are at the beginning of the equality journey, for example, Saudi Arabia who earlier this year appointed their first ever female lawyer.’
Mary discussed her career path from starting out as a librarian and the inspirational women with whom she has come into contact. Each year, Mary and her team have to raise £3.5m to fund the work Hospice does in the Isle of Man.
She said: ‘The recession has been a difficult time for Hospice Isle of Man. In total, on-Island, there are 696 charities. This has made my role challenging, but I really believe in the work the Hospice does for our patients.
‘One of the most inspirational women who I have had contact with is local singer, Katherine Crowe, who despite being terminally ill has remained positive, determined and, most of all, sassy.’
Reflecting on the breakfast, Elaine said: ‘Our celebration of International Women’s Day was a fantastic success and the feedback we’ve received from attendees has been really encouraging.
‘I would like to thank the speakers for giving up their time and for sharing such thought- provoking insights into their careers and what “Inspiring Change” means to them.’
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