In pictures: Second annual Inspire Conference and Awards

Business women from across the county gathered to celebrate International Women’s Day in Bray.

The second annual Inspire Conference and Awards was organised by the Business Girls Network.

The network was started in Maidenhead in 2014 by Amanda Ayres.

It started life as a Facebook page and now provides women from a range of businesses the chance to meet and network.

In the past year the network has branched out to start groups in Henley, Marlow and Windsor.

About 100 women gathered at Weirbank in Bray on Thursday, March 8 for the conference which included opportunities to network and an awards ceremony in the afternoon.

Amanda Ayers said: “It has really found its feet a bit more now as year on year the network is growing.

 “I think it is important for the conference to happen on International Women’s day because it is a day to celebrate their achievements.

“To have it on a different day wouldn’t feel right.” 

The chosen charity partner this year was Modern Muse, an online platform which connects girls with woman role models.

It was first set up in 2009 but the website officially launched last year and now more than 1,000 women from a range of backgrounds and careers have profiles on the website.

Modern Muse director Donna Robertson said the site is used by girls and young women of different ages.

To hear the talk, four year 12 pupils from Claires Court School in Maidenhead joined the conference, staying for lunch after.

Donna told the conference: “What is quite interesting is that the subjects we take at school we don’t always end up in the same area.

“The key thing is that the project is girl led, by people under 25.”

She encouraged women at the conference to add their profiles on the website, which she said only takes about 45 minutes to complete.

The youngest speaker of the day was Georgia Carmichael, who was celebrating her 16th birthday.

The teenager, who goes to Claires Court, represents the country in kayaking and has Olympic hopes.


Business Girl of the Year –  Janet Padfield from Apples to Zinc

Young Woman of the Year –  Georgia Carmichael

Service of the Year –  Caroline Christer from Hand Foot and Beauty Studio

Creative Business Girl of the Year –  Alison Joshi from Joshi was Janes

Best New Business –  Clare Snaith from Totally Mutts Dog Grooming Services

Best Home Based Business –  Rebecca De Jager from Hugo's Workshop

Most Inspiring & Active Business Girl –  Chloe Leibowtiz from Chloe Leibowitz Inspiring Women

Business Girl Rising Star –  Amanda Cairns from Shining Star Productions Performing Arts School

Business Girl Heart of the Community –  Sarah Parfitt from @MediaHub and Partners for Change Ethiopia

Community Business of the Year –  Tabitha Beaven from Tuneless Choir Maidenhead and Light Mind


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