“It’s a refreshing change to look out at a room full of women,” Katja Hall, deputy director- general of the CBI, told the crowd at the Lloyds-sponsored First Women Awards last night.
“Most of the events I go to are full of white, middle-aged, slightly balding men.” Her boss at the CBI, John Cridland, took it well, replying: “I love you too, Katya.”
Now in their ninth year, the awards were held at the Marriott on Grosvenor Square and hosted by BBC presenter Mishal Husain.
And true to Hall’s word, the event had drawn an impressive crowd full of the UK’s trailblazing women.
Among them was Vidhya Karthikeyan, head researcher at BT, who won the engineering gong, and Jo Haigh, senior partner in FDS Corporate Finance, who picked up a trophy for business services.
FinnCap’s chief exec and founder Sam Smith took the award for finance. “My daughter is 10 weeks old tomorrow,” she told The Capitalist. “When you’re running a business, the concept of matern-ity leave doesn’t quite work, but I’m happy to be out – these events always leave me inspired.”
■ YOU may remember we brought you the news last week that Glasto headliners Kasabian and Aviate Global were both fundraising for War Child on 18 June, with Kasabian performing a charity gig in Shepherd’s Bush and Aviate donating its day’s profits. Well, we suggested the band go down to Aviate and try their hands at brokering for the day, too. Word has come to us they’ve decided to do just that (my, aren’t we persuasive). We also hear there are a number of other musicians lined up to give the Aviate team a hand with the phones (to be revealed). Naturally, we’ll be there too – sizing up their technique…
■ HE SPENDS most of his days helping people out with their tax arrangements, but on Monday, KPMG tax adviser Paul Sopher helped someone with a little bit more than that – by saving them from the Thames. Sopher was winding down after work, having a drink with his girlfriend at a river boat bar moored at Temple when he became aware of a woman in distress in the Thames. Emergency services had been called, but frantic callers had given them the wrong directions – so in he dived. Sopher managed to get a life-ring to the woman and helped her to swim ashore, where the bar staff aided him in getting her back on dry land. “Despite a police helicopter overhead and river rescue teams en route, it became obvious that the young lady was very tired and struggling to stay afloat. I didn’t really have time to think, I just knew she needed help and jumped in,” said Sopher. A true hero in our midst.