Thursday, March 08, 2012

Men are from Mars. Women just got back from Waitrose

So, it's International Women's Day today and I've borrowed the idea from my esteemed lady colleague Rosanna to take a moment to joyously celebrate a few fab ladies. And, yes, the boys do a pretty ace job as well, but rarely does their hair look quite as awesome as they do it. #justsayin

The business owners.
Starting out in my career I was lucky enough to work successively for two female business owners. Firstly Chantal Coady at Rococo Chocolates. Altough somewhat reserved and quiet, Chantal not only gave me a first class education in chocolate (the history, the geography, the sensuality), but was also gracious enough to give a gentle shrug at my naive enthusiasm while allowing me to run with my ideas and see them through. Secondly, Mary Portas who was petrifying, but nonetheless proved that you can dress, walk, and talk like a woman but still be putting it down in the boardroom. 

The creative powerhouses.
When I first started at Moving Brands Panja Gobel was one of the few women on the Creative Floor. (Don't worry, there's now loads of us). With a playful approach to technology, bright orange hair, crazy prints, an even crazier way of looking at the world, and - more often than not - a blue-eyed baby clinging to her hip - Panja was not a bad role model to have about the place. She has it all. And in every colour! Meantime, out in San Francisco I met Lisa Smith, a non-stop talking, non-stop laughing Essex girl transposed across the Atlantic. Fresh on the West Coast from New York (she's since returned and joined Wolff Olins), she has that cool big sister vibe with tales of amazing secret bars, weekend trips to Coney Island and oh my god, the most incredible handbags ever. An truly fantastic designer, Lisa showed that you can put your career first and still have a bloody great time.

The young money.
Oh the scary young ones biting at my heels and my ankles! Ellen Turnill Montoya - an energetic fireball of creativity and ideas. Wise way beyond her years, innately kind and quite possibly the most fun person I've ever met. Whether it be as curator of the Tate, or the next fashion visionary, I am in absolutely no doubt that her future will be dazzling in its glory. And the very lovely Mily Williamson who gives great blog and who finally sent over her CV for an internship after months of me stalking her on Twitter. Mily's instinctive approach to strategy is so good that if I didn't like the girl so goddam much, I'd hate her! 

The fondly remembered.
On a final note, I want to shout out my Grandmother "Gran-Gran" who's idea of childcare was a slow stroll round Selfridges. Those early trips in my formative years started a love affair with brands and retail that has never ended. I feel Gran-Gran at my shoulder at the launch of every project and hope she's thinking the girl did good. 

To all the women out there doing good - Happy International Women's Day. 

>Isabelle. Julia. Vicky. Celia. Marian. Rosanna. Georgina. Marija. Rachel. Phoebe. Sheema. Mariette. Marianne. Saeeda. Sheira. Zoe. Katie. Fiona. <