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GIRL POWER IN THE CITY

Never one to pass up the chance to dwell upon the successes of the ladies in the business world, The Capitalist has been perusing this year&rsquo;s list of the top 35 women under 35 with interest.<br /><br />The list is compiled by Management Today, and the world of the City, as ever, features heavily. Nestled alongside fashion designer Savannah Miller (the sister of actress Sienna) and Sadler&rsquo;s Wells dance theatre manager Laura Stevenson in the picture above are Ruth Amos, the 19-year-old entrepreneur who is the youngest woman ever to make the list; Kate Hampton, director of hedgie philanthropist Chris Hohn&rsquo;s TCI (The Children&rsquo;s Investment Fund); discrimination lawyer Samantha Mangwana; and Jade Tong, an associate director at property advisory firm DTZ.<br /><br />Other City nominees include BNP Paribas&rsquo;s Alexandra Basirov, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management executive director Bianca Watts and KPMG&rsquo;s youngest equity partner Melissa Geiger.<br /><br />And for the record, girls, Jade Tong has a piece of savvy advice for any aspiring female City worker looking to make it in an often testosterone-fuelled world. <br /><br />&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t worry about the advantages or disadvantages of being a woman,&rdquo; she retorts. &ldquo;I just enjoy it.&rdquo; <br /><br />Now there&rsquo;s a sentiment to which we should all raise our glasses.<br /><br /><strong>WEE WILLIE WALSH TAKES THE HIGH ROAD</strong><br />Willie Walsh may have taken a hit below the belt from rival Sir Richard Branson last week, but the wee Irishman is determined to keep his dignity.<br /><br />The Virgin tycoon broke ranks to go on record declaring Walsh&rsquo;s British Airways practically worthless and urging the government not to consider bailing it out (which, let&rsquo;s be honest, shouldn&rsquo;t have come as too much of a shock, seeing as the two firms are constantly fighting tooth and claw over passenger numbers, flight slots and other related airline paraphernalia). But though such undisguised ruthlessness must have cut right to the bone, Walsh steadfastly refuses to be drawn into a slanging match.<br /><br />&ldquo;BA hasn&rsquo;t actually said anything about a bailout, but I&rsquo;ve not made any personal reply to Branson&rsquo;s comments,&rdquo; he told The Capitalist at a recent party, taking the high road over a conspiratorial glass of champagne. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re always painted as arch-rivals, but I&rsquo;ve only met him a couple of times and the last occasion must have been six years ago or more. I wouldn&rsquo;t say we&rsquo;ve ever been friends, though&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br />Looks like Branson won&rsquo;t have to worry about being removed from the official BA Christmas card list, then.<br /><strong><br />CONKER CHAMPS</strong><br />It&rsquo;s never too early to be thinking about vinegar-soaking, nail polish-coating and other weird and wonderful ways of rendering your autumn conkers battle-worthy, since the NSPCC City Conker Cup is now recruiting teams for its October championship.<br /><br />I say championship, because the tournament in question isn&rsquo;t just aimed at would-be Peter Pans intent upon revisiting their playground days. This is serious stuff; matches are played in threes at the aptly-named Loose Cannon Club on Allhallows Lane, and commentary is provided by the Beeb&rsquo;s veteran sports commentator John Inverdale. The tickets also include food, rounds of conker golf, a conker raffle, and the opportunity to drink from a specially-sculpted conker ice luge. Snazzy.<br /><br />So far, competitive lawyers seem to be leading the charge &ndash; Lovells, Wilberforce Chambers and Edwards, Angell, Palmer and Dodge are all among the firms which have already signed up. But the organisers are offering new teams the chance to buy tickets at the knock-down price of &pound;160 before 17 July (interested parties can contact nrobinson@nspcc.org.uk for more details). All proceeds go towards raising funds for children&rsquo;s charity the NSPCC.<br /><strong><br />FLYING HIGH</strong><br />Yet again, a couple of seemingly staid City chaps have proved their capacity to surprise. Douglas Cairns and James D&rsquo;Arcy now work for Threadneedle Investment Management and headhunting firm The Rose Partnership respectively, but the pair are also keen pilots. Cairns started his career with the RAF as a jet pilot and D&rsquo;Arcy held his flying licence for 17 years, before they were separately banned from the air after developing diabetes.<br /><br />Happily, both have now regained their licences, and recently completed a world record-breaking attempt to land in all 48 contiguous states of America, taking just 98 hours to complete the flight, which was in aid of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.<br /><br /><strong>SWINE SITUATION</strong><br />An update on the City swine flu situation, after The Capitalist revealed last week that the pesky disease had hit accountancy firm Ernst &amp; Young, taking down a senior accountant and throwing many other workers into a state of nervous anxiety.<br /><br />Law firm Withers has now joined the casualty list, after confirming last week that a member of staff in its London office had &ldquo;contracted a mild strain&rdquo; of the illness. Though apparently, the employee in question has since returned to fighting form and is already back in the office. Panicking about these things is overrated, y&rsquo;know.