IWD Dinner- A Personal Reflection

Eye opening.





These are just a few adjectives to describe the dinner celebrating International Women’s Day on the 12th of March 2020. Almost a month has passed since that evening, but I still remember those four hours as if it was yesterday. Such a memorable night!

Firstly, the food was incredible, provided by Space&Thyme- I never thought vegan food could taste so delicious. Not being a meat-eater, I always preferred to cook at home rather than go to restaurants as I would be disappointed by the quality or quantity of the food. But I have to applaud The Mesmerist/Space&Thyme for changing my perspective on this. The creativity of each plate really opened my eyes to what is possible with a vegan menu.

But now let’s talk about the main part of the evening; the women, the protagonists of the night.

Two inspiring presentations started the evening off.

Firstly, was Jo’s from RubyMoon’s entrepreneurial story; she explained how in the most difficult situations you can pull yourself up and change the world by relying on your skillset and values.

The second speech was from Nina; the founder of FotoDocument with her love of photography, she’s empowering women photographers through the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage award, a grant allowing a woman to complete a documentary photo essay on an important issue.

These two appearances kick-started a night of meaningful connections. However, the real magic began when I had the privilege to meet and listen to the 25 incredible women invitees.

All of these incredible women are changing the world in their own way through coaching, writing, producing, running an organization or founding one themselves. Each story was inspiring and empowering in its own and unique way. I laughed, reflected, and even shed a few tears.

Yet, personally, one thing stood out from everything that was happening around me: the sense of community. I’ve always been quite unlucky with female friends. I never felt truly accepted as I wasn’t properly fitting in. I’ve always wanted to feel part of a group, a female community where I could be able to be myself.

Finally, on the 12th March, for the very first time, I felt it. I felt what it meant to be part of something bigger, to connect with people of the same gender and truly feel accepted. These women made me understand the power and strength women have; that together we can change the world.

Jo quoted in her speech: ‘women hold up half the sky’, and right there I saw myself.

I was one of those women holding the sky, all of us working together to help the sky not fall. That evening I truly become a woman too. I’m not saying that I didn’t feel like one before, but I just needed the security of my community to know that I would be supported no matter what.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for making me feel part of something bigger and discover how special and strong a woman can be. Together we can make a difference and change the world for the better; a lesson I learnt by listening to you.


A special thank you to:

Ruth Anslow

HiSBE supermarket rebels: offers a range of everyday groceries thoughtfully sourced from small, local producers and brands that trade responsibly, fairly and sustainably


Natalia Whiteside

Filmmaker for XR

Nildan Ozkan

Ozkan Accountants: Brighton’s leading accountants for freelancers and small businesses


Scarlet Salmon

Yurt Academy: establish new ways of looking, thinking and being though masterclasses


Poppy Berry

FotoSchool: FotoSchool Workshops are a platform for groups to discover and explore the power of the photographic image


Lucy Bryson

Community Safety Manager for Refugees & Migrants at Brighton & Hove City Council



Lina Clerke

Holistic Therapist, Childbirth educator and birth attendant


Nicoleta Carpineanu

Forests Without Frontiers: planting trees for future generations around the world and protecting the last ancient forests with the support of global musicians and artists


Kayla Ente

BHESCO: Brighton & Hove energy services cooperative


Marianne Craig

Coaching for XR rebels + life and career coaching


Amanda Berry

Yoga Teacher


Christine Squince

Emmaus: working to end homelessness


Emma Turner & Maya Woodley

Diversity & Ability: championing (neuro)Diversity and (dis)Ability inclusion through technology, training and talent


Amanda Stafford

The Dolphin and Whale Connection: Dolphin and whale eco holiday


Kylie Okoro

Voices in Exile: working with refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants with no recourse to public funds in East and West Sussex and Surrey


Monica Norley

Mama Mzungu: a social enterprise soap making initiative of WACWAU (Women and Children with Albinism in Uganda)


Agnes Munday

Offers courses for people with Trauma


Nicky Chisholm & Michelle Marcar

Mumprenuers Network: a women’s business network with groups across London and the South of England. They also help advise, support and enable business growth with the MNC Hub


Iris Lammertink

Soenecs: Providing advice and support in the fields of waste management, resource management, climate change, circular economy, renewable deployment, carbon management and partnership delivery


Josie Lloyd

Author of The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club


Victoria Young

Business coach


Carolyn Drake

Mindfulness coach: teaching mindfulness in Sussex


Benita Matofska

People Who Share: public speaker and author of Generation Share


Nina Emett

FotoDocument: showcasing positive solutions through documentary photography


Jo Godden

RubyMoon: sustainable, ethical & not-for-profit swimwear and activewear brand



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