“The idea of evenings like this is to create a space for women to get together outside work, share ideas and be inspired by success stories,” says Caroline Graham, Co-Chair of the Win network, which was founded over 10 years ago and now has 5,000 members in London alone.
“Lucy and Bianca are incredible entrepreneurs who are extremely motivated and successful and it’s wonderful to see so many people here tonight to hear what they have to say.”
Adaora Okolie and Lucy Stockdale were among the network members who came to learn more about Choi and Miller’s successes.
Okolie, who works in Compliance, said she attends Win events to meet Barclays colleagues. “It’s good to find out about how people have progressed in their careers,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to meet people outside your team.”
“It’s helpful to hear from interesting women who aren’t in financial services,” agreed Stockdale, who works in Specialist Real Estate. “I’ve been to other events where they’ve had senior women within Barclays giving talks. It’s good to hear how they have dealt with challenges – not necessarily gender-related, but you do have that extra empathy for a woman.”
After mingling with guests, Choi and Miller shared their stories. Choi, who is the niece of couture shoe designer Jimmy Choo, told the audience how she sold her flat and used up her savings to set up on her own, after 15 years in the City and another 10 at the ballet flat brand French Sole.
“I set up the business in 2012 at the same time as having my first child, Thomas,” she said. “It was tough, but it was something I wanted to do. When I was in the City I used to have so many pairs of shoes under my desk. My colleagues used to laugh at me and joke, ‘One day you are going to open a shop’. And now here I am!”
Choi’s eclectic designs – inspired, she said, by “the two Kates – Moss and Middleton” - are now stocked at Fenwick, Harvey Nichols, Net-A-Porter and Matches Fashion, and in high-end departments stores and boutiques in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.