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CONNECTED WOMAN PANEL DISCUSSION Wednesday 29th March 2017, 6:00pm - 8:30pm RBS, Trinity Quay, Bristol


5:30PM Doors Open Exhibitions and refreshments 6:15PM Welcome Opening comments by Sonia Brown MBE



Panel Discussion:

Feedback and recommendations

Mel Bound Founder, This Mum Runs Aleka Gutzman Business and Personal Finance Consultant, The Financial Hug

Opening Presentation: Iain Glover Regional Head of Business Development, NatWest Business Banking

Kalpna Woolf Author, Entrepreneur and Broadcaster

Matt West Entrepreneurial Development Manager, eSPARK

Della Hudson BSc, FCA Hudson Business Accountants and Advisers.


Networking and exhibition

End of event

Minal Patel Marketing by Minal

Presentations from: Q&A Cllr Asher Craig Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods Cllr Claire Hiscott Cabinet Member for Education and Skills Cllr Afzal Shah Council Lead on Small Business

Closing comments

Speakers and timings subject to change

IAIN GLOVER Regional Head of Business Development, South West & Wales, Business Banking at NatWest Iain is an accomplished and passionate leader, currently working with a team of Business Growth Enablers, Relationship Managers and local Directors to support small businesses, delivering business expertise and supporting customers achieve their business and personal ambitions. Iain is an advocate of Women in Business, having an excellent gender mix across his teams. Iain has worked for NatWest for 30 years across personal, private and business banking in the South West and Wales, having started his career in the branches of Somerset and since undertaken various Area and Regional Manager roles.  Iain is a local Councillor in is home village of Ponthir and Lower Llanfrechfa , South Wales, where he also is a keen volunteer supporting his community and neighbours.

SONIA BROWN MBE Sonia is a business communicator, brand strategist, diversity maverick and uber connector. She has over 20 years in marketing,


branding and life skills development. She is an authority on many areas of business, leadership, sales and marketing, as well as supporting individuals to achieve success in all areas of life.

She founded the National Black Women’s Network; Let’s Talk Business Networking Forum and Sistatalk the UK’s leading online forum for women looking to connect with leading companies, decision makers and industry peers. More recently she launched the Inspirational Women’s Super Summit at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh and designed EVOLVE; a six-step business growth programme aimed at solo and micro entrepreneurs.

Sonia has successfully worked with the who’s who in business and is endorsed by government departments and ministers, leading banks and financial institutions including top FTSE companies as well as working with a number of high profile champions to build alliances between entrepreneurs, government and banks. She was a member of the GLE One London Start Up and Growth Panel; MOD Diversity Champions Panel and MOPAC Task Force; as well as sitting on the British Bankers Association (BBA) Diversity and Inclusion Panel.

Sonia was the former business editor for New Nation and the Voice Newspaper, the UKs leading paper for the Black British community. She contributes to a number of radio shows, magazines and newspapers on women, diversity and enterprise issues. 

Sonia was named one of the Top 50 diversity figures in public life on the Economist Global List and is the International Alliance for Women (TIAW) 2015 World of Difference 100 Award Recipient for the economic empowerment of women. She contributes to a number of radio shows, magazines and newspapers on women, diversity and enterprise issues.


The Inaugural launch of the Connected Woman Panel Discussion took place in November 2016. The night was made up of a diverse mix of entrepreneurs, professionals and industry experts from a wide spectrum of industries. Organised by the NBWN and hosted by NatWest Business Banking; the evening provided an opportunity for the audience to hear from an array of award winning entrepreneurs who took time out of their busy diaries to share their business journey with this receptive audience. Iain Glover, Regional Head of Business Development, NatWest Business Banking kick started the evening by highlighting the support that the bank offers to SME’s in the local area. As well as regular bank products and services, Iain advised the audience that the bank is now providing services tailored to women including accredited Women in Business specialists who work alongside his team of 14 business growth enablers.

Our audience heard useful information, advice and supported needed to turn their small business, or stagnant career into a successful endeavour. In addition they were treated to entertainment from professional singer songwriter Kizzy Morrell.

Sonia Brown MBE (founder, NBWN and Sistatalk) wanted women to recognise that they bring different approaches to business and could benefit from the information, ideas and inspiration the panel had to offer. The panellists were brutally honest about their successes and struggles;both personally and in business, which ensured attendees were left in no doubt about what it took to start, manage and grow their business and careers. There was a cross representation of panelists from different sectors of the economy. This provided a mixture of learnings and lessons on the night. The main focus was around the topics of mentoring, emotional intelligence, personal branding and professional development. The Connected Woman: Business Impact and Leadership panel discussion aims to educate, empower and enable women to leverage their skills; maximise their leadership potential; climb the corporate ladder and develop trusted networks that help women to stand out in today’s highly competitive marketplace!

There was plenty of networking taking place on the night, Attendees were able to mix with colleagues, business experts, like minded entrepreneurs and professionals over canopies.

CLLR ASHER CRAIG Asher has over 30 years experience as a community activist, leader, management consultant and now politician. She has championed the needs of the voice-less, with a particular emphasis on the social-economic development of BME and under-represented communities. She has led and Chaired a number of major partnerships and organisations at local, regional and national level and has worked in the field of employment & training, education & skills, recruitment, advocacy, equality & diversity within local government and third sector. Asher was elected as the Labour Councillor for the ward of St George West, Bristol in May 2016 and was appointed to the Cabinet with the wide reaching portfolio of Neighbourhoods in August 2016. In March 2017 Asher was asked to step into the new role of Deputy Mayor – Communities, bringing into & elevating the issue of Public Health within this new portfolio.


Asher is also school governor, the proud mother of 3 daughters and follows the Rastafari faith.

CLLR CLAIRE HISCOTT Claire Hiscott is a Bristol City councillor, with the portfolio of Education and Skills on the Mayors Cabinet. She came into politics in 2013 after winning her first local election - which she agreed to run in 'just for the experience'. Claire stood as a parliamentary candidate for in the 2015 General election for the same reason.  A Pharmacist by profession she has spent 25 years in the front line of the NHS, with a focus on public health  and sits on the Bristol  Health and Wellbeing Board. She took a break from the health service while her children were young and started her own small  business running art classes for children from her own home which then expanded into a church hall.  Claire has also spent many years working in the voluntary sector. Now with the Education and Skills portfolio, Claire draws on her experience and understanding of the inequalities in the city, her previous work with children and young people and her local business links.  In her spare time Claire is a trustee for the Bristol Old Vic theatre, an addicted cinema goer and a lover of coastal swimming.


CLL AFZAL SHAH Councillor Afzal Shah, Bristol City Council Lead for Small Business and Enterprise My role is to be a strong advocate for small businesses, and help ensure Bristol is the best place in Britain for entrepreneurs to start, grow and employ. I am keen to ensure inclusive growth, and am committed to working towards establishing a strategic roadmap for Bristol's small businesses.


CHRIS PRESTON Chris is NatWest’s Regional Managing Director for Business Banking for South West & Wales. Chris has worked for NatWest for 31 years, holding various roles across retail, private, commercial and business banking. He has worked his way up from frontline level and has held leadership positions for the past 12 years. He is West Country-born and bred and now lives in Plymouth with his wife and their three teenaged daughters. Together they enjoy outdoor pursuits including horse-riding and just walking the family dog. When he’s not working, Chris can also often be found lending a hand on the farm run by his parents-in-law


MATT WEST Matt is the Entrepreneur Development Manager for NatWest in Bristol. Matt works as part of NatWest’s Entrepreneurship team, supporting Entrepreneurs by creating opportunities to scale and grow through leveraging local internal and external contacts, making NatWest the go-to place for Entrepreneur support. A key part of Matt’s role is working closely with Entrepreneurial Spark, who together with NatWest, have created the world’s largest free accelerator programme for startup businesses. This four stage programme supports Entrepreneurs at a variety of stages on their startup/scaleup journey through mind-set coaching, subject-specific mentoring and access to a vast network, with the overall goal of making Entrepreneurs credible, backable and investible. During his time at University, Matt took on management of the family Coffee House, supporting the business to grow to 16 members of staff before sale in August 2014.


DELLA HUDSON Della Hudson is the owner and director of Hudson Business Accountants and Advisers. Like many women Della left the corporate world to start her business from the kitchen table whilst working around two young children. 8 years later Della now heads a team of 8 and still manages to run the business on 25 hours a week (most of the time). As a Chartered Accountant and business owner with experience of running large and small businesses Della’s company specialises in growing businesses through a broad range of advice and training workshops. Della is passionate about business scorecards (how else will you know if you’re “winning”?) of which accounts are just one measure.


MEL BOUND Mel has over 20 years experience in sports marketing and brand engagement delivering high profile campaigns for UK Athletics, BBC Sport, Reebok & Commonwealth Games as well as a range of corporate clients. She founded multi award winning This Mum Runs in 2015 after struggling to get back into exercise after having kids. A Mum of two, she is passionate about empowering women everywhere to be healthier, particularly women who have never exercised before or believe they can't. She completed a successful crowdfunding campaign last year, hitting her target in just 10 days and of her 370 investors, 80% were female. She has launched her own women and kids clothing range and has kickstarted plans to roll This Mum Runs out across the UK. She was recently appointed as a global ambassador for Facebook's 'She Means Business' Campaign, won the Women in Business ‘New Business 2017’ Award, has been shortlisted for the Women's Sports Trust 'Be a Game Changer' Awards and is listed in the Sunday Time's 'Maserati 100 Disrupter Brands' 2017. She still does the school run with her kids every day.


MINAL PATEL Minal started Marketing by Minal in March 2016 to help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) give their marketing more focus. With over 15 years’ experience in marketing, Minal has worked for numerous UK-based and international companies in senior marketing roles. Her last position gave her the opportunity to get to know 100s of SMEs across the UK and a real passion for helping them achieve great results from marketing was born. In the first year of business, Marketing by Minal was selected as one of the Small Business 100 for the Small Business Saturday campaign and Minal was named in the list of 100 women marketers to follow on Twitter. Based in Hillingdon, Minal loves sharing her marketing knowledge in a practical and easy-to-implement way.


ALEKA GUTZMORE Aleka Gutzmore is Director of A G Finance HUB Ltd and founder of the Financial HUG™ Money Program. As well as a successful career in banking and financial services, Aleka has dedicated herself to knowledge sharing and networking. She is a passionate and highly motivated speaker, a dedicated blogger and ensures that her time is spent encouraging others to succeed with a particular interest in female business owners and families. Aleka brings over a decades’ business experience and a huge amount of passion and enthusiasm which guarantees something new and dynamic to offer women area the topic of financial management. Aleka gives all her clients a Financial HUG™ which she describes as honest, unique and genuine advise ensuring standards are kept high and the clients aspirations are at the front of the agenda. In her spare time Aleka loves all things creative especially knitting and is kept on her toes with a teenaged son.    


KALPNA WOOLF For over 20 years Kalpna worked in television production for the BBC, rising to Head of Production overseeing many of the BBC’s food series like Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers, Food and Drink and Nigellissima, as well as managing the BBC’s landmark natural history and factual series such as Frozen Planet, Antiques Roadshow and Countryfile. Alongside food writing, she has launched food festivals, judged food awards and is curating the rich food stories and recipes of the 91 language communities of Bristol. She is Chair of Trustees for Frank Water (a charity which saves lives by providing clean water solutions in India), a Visiting Professor at the University of West of England, Board Member of the Local Enterprise Partnership in Bristol and a trustee for Knowle West Media Centre (helping under-privileged youngsters to get experience to start media careers). When not working, writing, cooking or looking after her family, she is a keen runner and keeping fit. Kalpna completed a half Marathon and has running a full Marathon firmly in her sights next! She won the Asian Woman of Achievement Media Award in 2013.


CONNECTED WOMAN: Business, Leadership and Impact Delegate Pack March 20172017  

Packed with multiple speakers, insights, information and big thinkers you can’t afford to miss this explosive business event. The Connected...

CONNECTED WOMAN: Business, Leadership and Impact Delegate Pack March 20172017  

Packed with multiple speakers, insights, information and big thinkers you can’t afford to miss this explosive business event. The Connected...