Women in Wholesale
Speed Mentoring April 28 2022
250 Bishopsgate, London
Speed Mentoring success!

“A sisterhood ready to build each other up, listen and cheer”

This year Women in Wholesale has challenged us to be our best selves. ‘Be the Best You’ is the annual theme, writes Lyndsey Cambridge, FWD Head of Engagement and member of the WiW steering committee

Rather than announce a punchy strap line and let it fall by the dusty wayside WiW founder Elit Rowland has ensured ‘Be the Best You’ ran through this year’s speed mentoring post-Covid come-back like kaleidoscope colours through a stick of Brighton Rock.

Of all our industry events WiW’s speed mentoring has got to be up there as one of the most inspiring and hands-on around.

Attendees were treated to a host of experts charged with contributing to the Women in Wholesale’s pledge of the year, Be the best you!

“In a sector which still sees events attended mostly by men, which still regularly showcases ‘manels’ on stage, and at times can feel like a lonely place to be a women, WiW’s Speed Mentoring event is a triumph.”

Last week nine industry stars* were out in force tackling some of our inner demons. Did someone say impostor syndrome? Bestway Trading Controller Lisa-Jayne Hanson led a brilliantly-honest session on this very subject.

Baring all is not easy to do when it comes to how we view ourselves in the workplace, but LJ did it nine times over, for 100 delegates sat at the circular tables in the vast Natwest conference centre next to Liverpool Street station in London.

A self-confessed sufferer of impostor syndrome, LJ’s joie de vivre was contagious, easing out rarely articulated-feelings from even the quietest of group members. Normalising this oh so common – but never discussed – insecurity was liberating!

To pick out one other, Microsoft sales director Alex Faupel delivered a power session on Allyship. It’s probably important to give a definition at this point: Allyship: To understand, to empathise and to act. Essentially it’s an in-work gang shouting “I got your back”.

And who wouldn’t want to feel that supported at work by an independent crew of warriors? Allyship movements are springing up more and more and Alex shared the secret to setting up a scheme in our own workplaces.

But the credit can’t just go sit with the incredible army of mentors who also gave tips on pitching ideas, networking, a how-to personal development plan (who else has forgotten to consider their direction so far this year, raise your hands…), the importance of bringing your whole self to work, creating career paths and stakeholder management. Phew!

A nod, perhaps round of applause or Wembley-style Mexican wave must be handed to the camaraderie felt around the room. WiW has created a sisterhood of women ready to build each other up, listen, advise, and cheer.

In a sector which still sees events attended mostly by men, which still regularly showcases ‘manels’ on stage, and at times can feel like a lonely place to be a woman, WiW’s slickly organised Speed Mentoring event is a triumph.

The day was rounded off with an almighty crescendo by the power-house that is ‘It’s Cool to be Trans’ ambassador Katie Reeves. Katie shared her journey to ‘being her best self’, through her ‘My Long Walk to Womanhood’ talk.



With special thanks to all our mentors:

Tackling Imposter Syndrome – Lisa Jayne, Bestway
Creating Career Paths – Joanna Florczak, JJ Foodservice
Managing Stakeholders – Louise Hoste, SPAR UK
Empowering Middle Managers – Cheryl Hope, Head of Trading, Blakemore Foodservice
Good Networking – Jill Livesey, Managing Director, Lumina Intelligence
Allyship – Alex Faupel, Microsoft UK, Leading the Allyship community for Women at Microsoft
Personal Development Plans – Clare Bocking, DCS
Bringing Your Whole Self to Work – Ayman Nasreldin, Professional Coach
How to Pitch Ideas – Andy Lancaster, Natwest Bank

Some reactions to a very special day:

Thanks to our sponsors: