Anna Sofat: The future of ‘Fat Cat Friday’​ is in our hands

Another day, another headline that causes outrage but still the facts don’t change – the 6 female CEOs of FTSE 100 companies earn half as much as their male counterparts. So what, I ask myself for the umpteenth time, can we do to combat the gender pay gap?

The first thing I will say is that creating more tick boxes with obvious loop holes is not the answer. Fat cat Friday leaves a bad taste in my mouth for many reasons, most notably the fact that the average CEO earns a shocking 133 times more than the average worker. The gap has more than doubled over the past 30 years whilst the average salary has barely kept pace with inflation.

Whilst this brings about questions of ethics and social responsibility what we all forget, is that it also impacts the bottom line. This kind of unprecedented growth in salary is often not reflected in growing profits, and at time defies any logical reason.

Having worked in the business and financial landscape for some 30 years now, it is unsurprising to me that issues of lack of good governance and egotistical politics get in the way of even the savviest businesses making responsible decisions. We have allowed the culture of wealth and business to become ugly and increasingly unfair.

Whilst I don’t have all the answers, or a quick fix to overcome this widespread crisis, I have always believed change can come from the majority, and we don’t have to wait for the leaders to act. When the little decisions made by thousands of people on a daily basis alter, the world changes. This gives me hope that despite the endless stream of cash and influence that the c-suite possesses, it is in the hands of us, the majority, to rectify.

The good news is that there is a growing number of women at the top and younger entrepreneurs, and I am confident that their impact will be a positive one for the future of business. With diversity comes success and I hope that my vision for a more equal and sustainable future isn’t too far away.

A Christmas note from Anna Sofat

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s time to take a look back over what has been a year of ups and downs.

The year seemed to begin with a flourish – the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote was upon us and there seemed to be a real desire for change and progress for women. As the year went on, some of this momentum slipped, and as the results of gender pay gap reporting starting to unfold and the latest Women on Boards statistics were revealed, it became apparent that not as much progress has been made as we would like. The government has set out its agenda for the Hampton-Alexander review and it will be interesting to see how this progresses into 2019.
So far as the economy is concerned, the first few months of the year largely continued in the same vein as the past couple of years, with sustained growth in the markets translating into some great gains for client portfolios. As political uncertainty around Brexit began to unfold, along with concerns over international trade, we’ve returned to a period of volatility. During such times, it’s important to take a long-term view; we’ve been through periods of instability before and come out better for it – you only need to look back a few years to the Global Financial Crisis!

2018 has also been a special year for Addidi as we marked our ten year anniversary. We were able to celebrate the milestone with many of our clients in October, alongside launching our new website and ‘Voice of Women’s Wealth’ campaign.

Amongst the madness of the festive season, it’s always important to try and take the time to reflect. As a financial adviser, I come across the good and the bad of money and the effect it has on people. Money doesn’t always bring happiness, despite what people think, and using wealth to try and bring happiness, either to yourself or to others, is a message we are keen to impart on our clients. It’s no coincidence that we use the words ‘create’, ‘invest’ and ‘enjoy’ when communicating with clients. We help clients to create wealth, by giving them a plan and helping them to implement it. We then provide the tools for clients to invest, ideally to give them a sustainable income for the longer term. Thereafter it’s time to enjoy what you have worked hard to achieve.

This festive season, Addidi has taken the step of making our annual charitable donation. When we set up the business, we decided that we would donate 1% of our annual turnover to charitable causes. This is a promise we have been able to stick to, picking a number of charities to split the donations across at the end of our financial year at the beginning of April. In this, our tenth year, this percentage has grown to a not-insignificant sum. Having seen the homeless crisis on our streets worsening over the past 12 months in particular, we have taken the decision to donate 25% of our annual charity fund to Crisis; giving them a boost as the winter starts to kick in.

So as we head towards the festive season and the start of a New Year, maybe we should all take some time out to think what wealth is really about. Having wealth isn’t about being wealthy. It isn’t about extravagant gifts or grand gestures. Sometimes, true wealth is simply about using what you have in the most meaningful way.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2019.

– Anna

Adviser Zoe Named Amongst UK’s Top ‘Next Generation Advisers’

One of Addidi’s financial planners has been named amongst the UK’s leading young advisers in an annual report. The annual 35 under 35 list, compiled by leading industry publication New Model Adviser (NMA), ranks Zoe as a leading ‘Next Generation Adviser’.

Zoe, who joined Addidi in 2014 as a Paraplanner, showed early spark and determination. Addidi began supporting Zoe through the process of becoming Chartered in 2014; and after successfully undergoing her training and qualifications alongside working full time, Zoe became a fully-fledged Chartered IFA in 2016.
Now as a member of Addidi’s Senior Management Team, Zoe not only has her own client bank, she also plays a key role in planning the firm’s activities and direction. The past 12 months has also seen Zoe deliver presentations at a couple of high profile events aimed at women.

Zoe is one of only 5 female advisers to be featured on the NMA list of 35 individuals.
Zoe commented:

“The past 12 months has been particularly enjoyable one so far as my career to date is concerned. Having achieved Chartered status two years ago, I am now able to devote more of my time to clients, both in terms of seeing my existing clients get the five star treatment and also working on developing relationships with new clients. Being one of only 5 female advisers named in this year’s list of Next Generation Advisers, I am even more determined to stand up and make it count for female clients. The statistics in the real world of the UK advice market are very similar – with New Model Adviser reporting less than 5,000 females make up the UK’s 31,000 Financial Advisers. Although on the whole, women have a greater opportunity to earn money than ever before, they are not necessarily maximising on this. We find that men and women have very different approaches when it comes to their finances – yes, our clients want their investments to perform, but they also want this to be done in a stable, ethical and sustainable way.”

Zoe is one of two Chartered Financial Advisers at Addidi. Zoe has also been named in NMA’s ‘Fresh Faces’ features, and was recognised as one of Citywire’s top 35 young advisers in 2016.

Voice’s of Addidi: Sarah Matthew

As part of the 100 year celebrations of women gaining the right to vote in the UK for the first time, Addidi is proud to be featured in UK Parliament’s official commemorative album, Voice & Vote.

To help celebrate this milestone in our history, we’ve decided to put together a series called ‘Voices of Addidi’. Featuring conversations with members of the Addidi team, clients, friends and associates, each piece will look at what gaining the right to vote means and the experiences of the individual in relation to women and equality.

Our first Voice of Addidi is Sarah Matthew. With a long and successful career in pharmaceutical marketing and healthcare communications, Sarah co-founded leading international healthcare communications and medical education consultancy, Virgo Health. She is now Chair of Hanover Health and also founder of The Vibrant Company.

We’re celebrating 100 years of women gaining the vote this year. What are your thoughts on the landmark?
It’s obviously right that we are marking this incredibly important milestone and my main feeling is one of gratitude to those brave and visionary people, women and men, who fought so hard to gain the vote for women 100 years ago. Thanks to them, I grew up with the belief that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. I therefore consider myself extremely fortunate to have created the career and the life that I have.
At the same time, it’s a natural reflection point for assessing how far we have come. We have much to be proud of but in my opinion there is still a long way to go before we have true equality – not just for women, but for equal and diverse inclusion and representation across the board.

Women have made much progress over the last 100 years but what are your views on where we still have to go?
As someone who advises, coaches and mentors business leaders, examples of where we still need improvement are all too numerous and one I encounter on a regular basis is funding for start-ups, where it is apparent that access to finance is far more limited for women entrepreneurs than their male counterparts. This is the main reason I decided to become an angel investor via the Addidi Angels programme, established as the first all-women angel investment club in the UK – it’s important to pay it forward and give other women the same access to opportunities I had earlier on in my own career. Although a great deal of progress has indeed been made, the rate of continuing improvement can make for rather depressing reading.
Of the FTSE 100 companies, only 6 have a female CEO – a stark statistic in anyone’s eyes. This correlates with the continuing struggles that women have in gaining senior positions in business. The contributing factors are complex, but for all the women I speak to, for all the businesses I work with and for all the events I attend on this topic, the fact that in the twenty-first century women still constitute the majority of primary care-givers and primary managers of their respective households, remains the greatest challenge to navigate. The impact can be felt across the whole of a woman’s working life, as intimately illustrated by the findings of this year’s Gender Pay Gap report, and ultimately results in a huge loss to industry of female talent. It’s simply too high a price to pay.

When it’s an established fact that having women on company boards leads to better financial success, we must address the whole pipeline. We can do better and we can go faster.

What advice would you give to a women starting out in her career today?
My key piece of advice is to have the confidence to follow your own path and don’t accept the status quo. We need women to invent, to innovate and to be front and centre in creating a better future. Seek mentors, men and women, who are forging new paths in the direction you’re interested in.
I’m a fierce champion for women in business and I’m involved with a number of women’s forums. Often what I see is that conformity with the ‘now’ results in a completely innocent and unconscious, self-imposed ‘glass ceiling’. We are used to hearing about how women in the workplace can lack confidence, but as I have already alluded to, often the bigger stumbling block and perhaps even the cause, misconstrued as a confidence issue, is women actively choosing not to progress to more senior positions due to the conflict they fear will be created between their career and family life. There is no need for this to be the case in my eyes and as well as businesses, society itself needs to look at and question this.
All the time that women accept and are expected to accept the default position of primary caregiver and/or household manager, we will continue to struggle to reach the top in the business world. Men and women can function equally as well in roles at work and at home and yet that’s not what we’re seeing. As an example, all the data suggest that women are still responsible for the vast majority of domestic chores, including cooking meals in the home, but contrast that with the lists of the most celebrated chefs in the world, which are consistently almost all men.
My husband took a break in his career to become the primary carer for our family when my business took off and in fact a significant number of the senior women I know are supported by their partners assuming the role of CHO (Chief Household Officer2)! It’s something we need to talk about more as it’s still not widely seen as a desirable option in society. Witness the pitifully low take-up by fathers of shared parental leave. I’m certainly not saying that it’s impossible for both partners to have simultaneously successful careers as that’s clearly not the case, or that women shouldn’t choose looking after their families over their career. If that’s genuinely their choice, they should be fully supported in making it. But if there is a choice to be made, does it have to be the female partner, or given all the obstacles and inertia, does it just seem like the easier option?

Is there a woman, living or deceased, that has inspired you?
There is someone who was a real inspiration to me earlier on in my career – Margot James, who is now a conservative MP. She was co-owner of Shire Hall, the first specialist healthcare communications company in the UK and the first agency I worked for after leaving the ‘client side’. She set a powerful example as a female entrepreneur and in the way behaved as a leader. She was admired by and inspiring to all who worked with her and one of the best bosses I ever had.

What are your thoughts as we look ahead?
I truly believe that if the concept of ‘work’ was invented today, practices and attitudes would be very different and not dictated by the often outmoded habits of our past. As one of the two female co-founders of Virgo Health back in 2003, our company proved that even fifteen years ago it was possible to be highly flexible, family-friendly and super-successful.
Yes, flexible working arrangements are becoming increasingly commonplace for a lot of us and there are stand-out examples of completely new models being created, especially by innovative start-ups. We have the technology, we just need the will and determination that our forebears had 100 years ago!
With more people seeking a healthier work/life balance, not to mention a burgeoning ageing population to care for, juggling a career and family life will become more rather than less of a challenge for everyone and those businesses who fully recognise and adapt for this will undoubtedly gain competitive advantage.
In the years to come I believe equality will only be reached when it really works both ways – when we tell girls and boys that the options and even obligations ahead of them in life are the same, at work, at home and in general, regardless of gender. The body of evidence suggests that despite some of our best efforts, this is still not happening.
I have two sons and I’m very aware of the messages and morals they absorb from the world around them. Attitudes towards equality are harboured from a young age and even if not overt or intentionally harmful, social norms leave their mark. For us to re-gain the momentum of change, we need to challenge the social norm. This applies to all of us; men, women, children, businesses and society.

1. According to the latest figures from the Hampton-Alexander review, which date from November 2017
2. Credit to Brenda Trenowden, Global Chair of the 30% Club and Head of FIG Europe, ANZ Bank, from whom I first heard this title.

Addidi Insights Issue 17: Politics and portfolios

Brexit and your portfolio

Whichever way one voted, it is hard not to be dismayed by the shambles that is Brexit, concocted by all sides. In the event that any deal agreed gets voted down in Parliament, or there is no deal, there is a material chance that the government could fall. One or both of these events would come with great uncertainty.

We set out three key investment risks relating to Brexit and how sensible portfolio structures can mitigate them.

Risk 1: Greater volatility in the UK and possibly other equity markets
In the event of a poorly received deal or no deal, it is certainly possible that the UK equity market could suffer a market fall as it tries to come to terms with what this means for the UK economy and the impact on the wider global economy. A collapse of the Conservative government and a Labour victory would add further uncertainty.

Risk 2: A fall in Sterling against other currencies
In 2016, after the referendum, Sterling fell against the major currencies including the US dollar and the Euro. There is certainly a risk that Sterling could fall further in the event of a poor/no deal.

Risk 3: A rise in UK bond yields (and thus a fall in bond prices)
The economic impact of a poor/no deal and/or a high-spending socialist government could put pressure on the cost of borrowing, with investors in bonds issued by the UK Government (and UK corporations) demanding higher yields on these bonds in compensation for the greater perceived risks. Bond yield rises mean bond price falls, which will take time to recoup through the higher yields.

Mitigant 1: Global diversification of equity exposure
Although it is the World’s sixth largest economy (depending on how you measure it), the UK produces only 3% to 4% of global GDP, and its equity market is around 6% of global market capitalisation. Well-structured portfolios hold diversified exposure to many markets and companies. Changing your mix between bonds and equities would be ill-advised. Timing when to get in and out of markets is notoriously difficult. Provided you do not need the money today, you should hold your nerve and stick with your strategy.

Mitigant 2: Owning non-Sterling currencies in the growth assets
In the event that Sterling is hit hard, it is worth remembering that the overseas equities that you own come with the currency exposure linked to those assets. Remember too that a fall in Sterling has a positive effect on non-UK assets that are unhedged. The bond element of your portfolio should generally be hedged to avoid mixing the higher volatility of currency movements with the lower volatility of shorter-dated bonds.

Mitigant 3: Owning short-dated, high quality and globally diversified bonds
Any bonds you own should be predominantly high quality to act as a strong defensive position against falls in equity markets. Avoiding over-exposure to lower quality (e.g. high yield, sub-investment grade) bonds makes sense as they tend to act more like equities at times of economic and equity market crisis.

Some thoughts to leave you with
Even if you cannot avoid watching, hearing or reading the news, it is important to keep things in perspective. The UK is a strong economy with a strong democracy. It will survive Brexit, whatever the short-term consequences that we will have to bear, and so will your portfolio. Keeping faith with both global capitalism and the structure of your portfolio and holding your nerve, accompanied by periodic rebalancing is key. Lean on your adviser if you need support.
‘This too shall pass’ as the investment legend Jack Bogle likes to say.

Risk warnings
This article is distributed for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale. This article contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily the Firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed.
Past performance is not indicative of future results and no representation is made that the stated results will be replicated.
Errors and omissions excepted.

Deborah Fitzgerald: Choosing to live differently

Making the move to Amsterdam reconnected me with my values and changed my life.

Human beings are spectacularly bad at predicting outcomes; the evidence is all around us, positive and negative. Sometimes the benefits and costs, the risks and rewards seem obvious, but often it can take years for the impacts of one or other decision to fully unfurl.

When we’re making choices we tend to identify with the benefits and rewards of a particular option (convenience, for example), but are not so good at predicting the downside (climate change).

While we can conceptually grasp that change – in us and in our universe – is constant and inevitable, and that what works today won’t necessarily be fit for purpose tomorrow, our first-line response to change is often resistance.

Getting comfortable with the idea of uncertain outcomes is at the heart of disruption and innovation – it can be liberating, and help us make radical choices and better decisions, just when we need them most.

In 2008 I chose to leave a successful, high-profile career, and my life in London, to move to Amsterdam with my husband.

It has been a life-affirming and liberating choice and just what I needed. A good outcome, so far. It’s a revelation to live somewhere else; even if you think you know the place, you learn a huge amount about yourself.

We’d been living in London for almost twenty years. My husband worked in social services for local government; I was marketing director of a global branding consultancy.

I’d had a rewarding career working with exceptional people, brands and organisations. I’d worked hard and was at the top of my game, well paid with a six-figure salary and the rest. With a small loving family, an active private and professional social life, and a lovely flat in town – what’s not to like?

I’m miserable. I feel guilty, ungrateful and weirdly angry. I’ve lost balance. It feels for the first time that I’m doing this job because I have to, not because I want to. I fear I have become a rat. A rat with a nice handbag, but a rat nonetheless, in a race I no longer care about winning. I feel seriously disconnected from my values and I’m anxious and disoriented.

March 2008 – We go to Amsterdam for a weekend break to help us recalibrate. It is our third visit to the lowlands this year. My Dad lived here for a few years and we stop at a bar that he used to frequent. We’ve been talking about how much we like the culture and rhythm of life here, it feels more in sync with our values. There’s a domestic, friendly scale to the architecture of the city. It’s a very creative and livable environment. We both feel relaxed and free and are sad to leave.

I start planning change. We need to work. Initially we think about decamping to the UK countryside, maybe Yorkshire or Dorset. I briefly flirt with an idea that focuses on distributing regional produce.

Just this simple act of imaginative thinking starts to shift my mind into a positive place and reconnect me with what I value. I begin to feel excited about the possibilities ahead.

I start exploring opportunities to live and work in Europe. I find a lovely flat on the river Amstel and interesting work through my network. A beloved friend calls and tells me he is moving to Amsterdam with his partner and it feels like a deal clincher for me. We take the plunge and by June, we’re living there.

I was shocked by how difficult I found the first year of living somewhere else, particularly as I’d lived abroad and travelled a lot as a child, and in my work. I missed my friends and family profoundly and it took me time to adjust.

As for life in The Netherlands: well, the Dutch are famously ‘direct’, and they say what they think. This can be difficult if you’re English or having a sensitive day. In business it can be frustrating – everyone has something to say and consensus can be hard to reach – but generally, I’ve come to prefer the straight line to going around the houses. You know where you stand.

The work culture is surprisingly different, considering the country is only 100 kilometres or so from the UK. On meeting you, the Dutch tend not to ask you what you do for a living as a first or even second question. They don’t define themselves or others by their work or profession. It’s an innovative and entrepreneurial environment. It’s refreshing and liberating and has allowed me to be more fully who I am in all parts of my life. Biking everywhere and being able to make it to yoga classes every evening if I choose are simple daily pleasures.

Of course research, reconnaissance and planning are important when you are making big, life changing decisions. But truth is you can’t know everything that lies ahead. I’ve found that making a positive choice, taking a big leap becomes possible when you are able to let go of certainty, are open to different outcomes and trust yourself and your innate adaptability.

• Trust your instinct
• Practice a bit of imaginative thinking
• Let your values lead your big life decisions
• Embrace uncertainty
• Be prepared to be surprised
• Listen to your feelings and emotions
• Draw practical support from trusted advisers and people who have your best interests at heart

I’m mindful that the right and freedom to choose the life we want to live has been hard won and is still denied to many women by their circumstances. If you have the opportunity to live a life you can truly choose – I say why not grab it!

Sarah Matthew: Why women should make ‘Radical’ choices

As we celebrate the centenary of women gaining the right to vote in the UK – to express their political choice – it’s a natural time for us to reflect on the available choices for women today.

A lot has changed in the last one hundred years, but we still have a long way to go to achieve true equality. The gender pay gap, the number of women on boards and the level of disparity in pension provision between men and women are all testament to this.

However, my experience is that a lack of choice is not always the issue. It’s often more a case of being able to see the full range of choices that do or could exist and finding the courage to pursue them. In my coaching and mentoring work, with both men and women, I see people who are frustrated and stressed by how their lives are playing out…until they realise that have inadvertently ‘slept-walked’ into the expectations of their society, their families or their broader communities.

When we feel obliged to do what’s expected of us rather than follow our hearts and do what gives us the greatest joy; when we allow our lives to be governed by the shoulds and should nots we inherit and absorb from others, then we innocently collude in enabling the habits and limitations of our collective past to steal from our own possibilities for the future. We all do this, at least to some extent, but as women, the effects can be felt even more profoundly. We tend to experience more conditioning around needing to conform and fit in.

By some happy accident, I seem to have been born with a rebellious streak and perhaps this is what enables me to spot when my clients are victims of their unconscious choices – when they are playing the game of life according to other people’s rules. I have done my best to invent my own rules and as a result, I have been told throughout my career that my choices are ‘radical’, but the truth is that they have only ever seemed utterly intuitive to me.

When the most obvious choice should have been for me to go to university, I really didn’t want to go, so I chose a different path and went on to build a successful career in pharmaceutical marketing.

When, as the youngest person in my company to hold a senior marketing position, the natural choice should have been the next rung up the corporate ladder, I chose to leave. I had always known that I wanted to run my own business and when I was offered a job by an ambitious PR agency, I joined them, became MD just a year later, learned tons, worked harder than I’d ever worked in my life and had an absolute ball.

It certainly wasn’t a standard choice to then decide to start a new business only 24 hours after giving birth to my eldest son. However, it was only when he was placed in my arms that I realised there was no way I could go back to my crazy job! I was the major earner in our house and so not working wasn’t an option, but it was going to be on my terms.

Together with my arch competitor, who also happened to be my friend, we created Virgo Health and I became Joint CEO whilst my husband became CHO (Chief Household officer) of our family. It worked brilliantly for us, even though our choice of Dad as the primary carer wasn’t (and still isn’t) the norm.

When we later sold our business to secure the global scale necessary for further growth, I was given a prestigious global role, but I chose instead to start a new chapter with a completely new venture, The Vibrant Company*.

I know there are still many rules that have governed my unconscious choices and the more I look, the more I see, but when I see them, I can choose to change them. In terms of giving other women the confidence to make their own choices, there are still many practical things that need to happen and especially:
– Supporting them to build financial independence and security
– Providing more funding and practical support for female entrepreneurs and women-owned start-ups
– Continuing to demand greater flexibility and family-friendly design in the practices, processes and infrastructure within our workplaces to accommodate our caring responsibilities – for men as well as women.
– This speaks to my firm belief is that true equality will only happen when it genuinely works both ways, so let’s continue to challenge stereotypes for both genders.

However, beyond these considerations is something even more powerful and critical: the need to help people, and especially women, see that they don’t have to choose options from a menu someone else has written for them. We can choose to be true to ourselves. We can create our own options and even our own menus. This is how we will become limitless.

*The Vibrant Company is a first-of-its-kind blend of consulting, mentoring and transformative coaching for leaders and their teams.

Sarah Matthew – Founder of The Vibrant Company
Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJMatthew

Ten years of Addidi – where next?

In October, we celebrated 10 years of Addidi, along with the launch of our ‘Voice of Women’s Wealth’ campaign, at a special event held in The Ladies Smoking Room at St Pancras Hotel, London. The evening was a glorious celebration of everything and everyone that has led us to the point we’re at today. We were lucky enough to have many friends and supporters of Addidi in attendance, as well as the people that are the driving force behind all that we strive to do and achieve – our clients. A couple of our clients were even kind enough to participate in the event, with Sarah Matthew and Isobelle Gladstone speaking about what Choice and True Wealth means for women alongside our other speakers, David Ferguson, Rohit Chugg and Emma Sinclair, all hosted by journalist and broadcaster Harriet Minter.

To coincide with our ten year celebrations, those of you with a sharp eye might also have noticed some subtle changes at Addidi recently. We’ve got a new, slicker logo and a lovely new website that’s rich with content and inspiring imagery.

Reaching the ten year milestone has given me plenty of opportunity to reflect on where we have come from, where we are now and what the future holds.
I set up Addidi because I was finding that although women were beginning to earn their wealth in their own right, they weren’t any happier. The financial services industry did little to cater for ambitious high flyers or female entrepreneurs, and I wanted to help create balance and perspective for women as we started to take our rightful place at the top table. Creating wealth is one thing, but being able to invest in yourself and those around you to enjoy the fruits of your labour is another.

I have witnessed many changes in women’s wealth over the past decade – women are more confident and demanding in terms of what they want their money to do for them and they are vocalising this much more.

Unfortunately, the industry as a whole has largely stayed the same – although changing slowly around the edges, it is still largely male dominated and firms are only now just waking up to the fact that women are going to be a big part of the future.
So where next? At Addidi, we’ve been at the centre of some of the issues women have faced over the last decade – something that ideally places us as ‘The Voice of Women’s Wealth’. We’re proud of the journey we’ve been on and the progress we have witnessed, but we’re firm believers that there’s more to be done. So although we’ve enjoyed taking the time to pause, reflect and celebrate, we won’t be standing still for long!

If I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to take risk more willingly. If things go well, you’ll be forever thankful, and if they don’t, it’s simply a case of picking yourself up and trying again. So with this in mind, Addidi will be looking to be bolder in our pursuit of providing a beautifully different future for women and their wealth.

Anna Sofat Announced as Finalist at London’s Top Business Women Announcement at The Ritz

Over 120 distinguished guests attended the Finalist Announcement of the London 2018 Venus Awards at The Ritz on Tuesday 9th October.

Over 120 business professionals, journalists and celebrities gathered at The Ritz to celebrate the Finalist Announcement for the prestigious Venus Awards on the 9th October 2018.
The best businesswomen in London celebrated getting to the finalist stage of the Venus Awards with canapés and champagne in a star-studded, glitzy ceremony at the iconic Ritz.

65 London Venus Awards finalists were revealed at the much-anticipated event. Launched in May, applicants and nominees have been whittled down through a combination of panel judges and public voting. Now, the 65 finalists will be judged by a panel of prestigious businesses sponsoring the awards before the finals at the Waldorf Hotel in December.

The Venus Awards, dubbed by Channel 4 as “The Working Women’s Oscars”, celebrate the vital contribution that women in business make to the local, regional, and national economy, and are unique in that anyone can nominate a friend, client or family member.

Founder of the Venus Awards, Tara Howard, said: “In our ninth year, we are thrilled the number of applications continues to grow. We received a record-breaking 1,200 nominations and applications for the 15 award categories, which highlights the influence women in business are making to their local economies.”

Katharine Plunkett CEO of the Business of Brand (BoB) School, a key sponsor of the London Venus Awards said: “The finalists are clearly leading the way in their industries and we have no doubt they will be making a difference in the world and it is a joy to be a part of their journey.”

The London 2018 Venus Awards will culminate in a glamorous gala dinner and awards ceremony on 3rd December 2018 at The Waldorf Hilton, London.

– ENDS –

For more information contact Laura Booth
01202 293095

About The Venus Awards
The Venus Awards were founded in Dorset in 2009 by Tara Howard. Frustrated by the lack of recognition for working women, Tara established the awards to recognise and celebrate the achievements of working women. The event has since expanded to eight regions around the UK, with the 35th ceremony to be held at the inaugural London Awards at the Waldorf in December 2018.

About Tara Howard
Tara Howard is an entrepreneur and founder of the Venus Awards. Her experience in business has taken her around the world. She first moved to corporate London at the age of 18 and bought her first property at 22. She later returned to take over her family’s hotel business, transforming an historic hotel to a premier wedding destination and increasing the number of weddings hosted per year from just three to over 100. Tara also managed to find the time to follow in her mother’s footsteps and qualify as a commercial pilot and flight instructor, and help produce a large scale opera in Toronto and New York.
A mother of four, Tara knows first-hand the many challenges facing women in their careers as well as the joys and opportunities of being a working mother. Vivaciously inspiring, Tara is passionate about helping empower more women in business to develop their self-confidence, to get the recognition they deserve, and to obtain all the success they need, no matter what their line of work.

The Venus Awards London 2018 Finalists are:

Influential Woman of the Year (Sponsored by Time and Leisure)
Chelsey Baker National Mentoring Day

Marisa Peer Rapid Transformation Therapy

Diahanne Rhiney Strength With In Me Foundation

Inspirational Woman of the Year

Alice Morrison Alice Morrison

Mariela Shaker UNHCR

Gina Martin Parliament

Seema Flower Blind Ambition

Jenni Dunman Daisy First Aid Ltd

Anna Daniels Daniels Group

Company of the Year (Sponsored by SGFE)
Jane Julia Atherton Vassie Love Success Plc

Kirsten Hazell London Grace Ltd

Sarah Hazlehurst MKTG

Christine Owen Plimsoll Productions

Employer of the Year (Sponsored by Jaluch)
Antoinette Daniel Just Helpers

Kirsten Hazell London Grace Ltd

Chantelle Nicholson Tredwells & Marcus Wareing Restaurants

Henry Stewart Happy

Small Business of the Year (Sponsored by BoB School)
Susan Kabani Ugenie

Katie Young Gerald Bespoke Textiles

Natalie Meyer Tokyoesque

Director of the Year
Cathy Busani Happy Ltd

Liz Kalu Leverage Homes
Lucy Kane Time and Leisure Magazine

Lynsey-Kay Porter Ultimate Holdings

Lauren Williams London Grace

Professional Excellence

Amy Hambleton RedLaw

Alison Kriel Above & Beyond

Emma Taylor RSSB

Jane Wheeler Hine Legal

Gunita Bhasin Showcased and Atomico

HR Professional (Sponsored by Benefex)
Abigail Lerman Stella McCartney

Kelly Jackson World First

Belinda Henriksen Expedia Inc

PR Excellence (Sponsored by Sunny Bird PR)
Rebecca Musgrave Propercorn

Antonia Mason Oppo

Lauren Williams London Grace

Social Media Influencer (Public Vote)
Abigail Barnes Success by Design Training

Jennifer Corcoran My Super Connector

Rae Radford What’s New UK

Mariela Dabbah Red Shoe Movement

Marketing Excellence (Sponsored by Profiles Creative)
Becky Brock John Lewis

Gemma Mason Superdrug

Tamara Gillan Cherry London

Outstanding CEO
Jacqueline Gold Ann Summers

Cally Palmer Royal Marsden Hospital

Clare Scott The Ocean Partnership Ltd

Maryanne Matthews EY Foundation

Entrepreneur of the Year
Anna Sofat Addidi Wealth Ltd

Kirsty Henderson Five Rings Training, and Personal Safety London

Roni Savage Jomas Associates Limited

Sara Trechman Well&Truly

Rosie Vernon Aurora Baby

Inspirational Woman in Tech (Sponsored by Empact Ventures)
Tarryn Gorre Kafoodle Limited

Tiia Sammallahti WhatCharity

Sophie Thompson VirtualSpeech

Outstanding Team Member
Farzana Naz Saracens Solicitors

Chrisoula Sirigou The Golden Muse

Annabelle Risdon Give as you Live

Niri Arambepola WSP

Jessica Fairfax Kaizen

Journalist of the Year
Ella Dove Hearst Magazines UK

Laura Hampson London Evening Standard

Emmie Harrison TI Media Limited

Emma Sheppard Freelance

Stephanie Clarkson 38a The Shop

Photograph: All Finalists at The Ritz London Venus Awards 2018 Finalist Announcement. Photograph courtesy of Christian Lawson.

To find out more about the Venus Awards or to arrange an interview please contact Tara Howard on 01202 559039 or email at Distributed on behalf of Venus Awards –