Architects Journal Awards…

I’ve recently attended the Architects Journal Awards for Women in Architecture. It was sponsored by ROCA and PLACE. and celebrates equality and professional training. I have very mixed views on campaigns for women because some women forget the cause is for ‘equal’ not ‘superior’ treatment. I mean that I want to be selected because I’m the best person, not because I’m the token woman. At the Bank of England meeting recently, the panel sit at their top table and twenty of the invited industry leaders are sat in the horseshoe to present their industry sector risks and opportunities. The introduction was clear, Welcome ‘lady’ and gentleman. There was until then just a group of committed business industry leaders from across the country, but only then did I notice that I was the only woman in the room. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter to me, I have always worked on the First Wives Club slogan when the fabulous Ivana Trump said, “don’t get mad ….get even” and that’s such good advice. Ivana rented my house once. She is one very smart lady. Her children are well adjusted business leaders also. Ivanka is a mother and runs her own designer lines in fashion and accessories. In addition, they are in the property business so this family is a really true example of inclusive equality – it’s not an issue. It’s not even discussed, no time is wasted on things that don’t deliver positive results. I’m not saying they are dismissed I am saying the ethos is WIN and the process – as long as ethical – is promoted. They listen, they just look for the best way, the solution and the best person to execute it. I like that. If you are unhappy with the situation then stand up and do something about it. It’s exactly how and why SBID [Society of British Interior Design] was formed.

I had a meeting in a cafe and saw two fathers with their two small children clearly entertaining their sons with a certain amount of naivety. As I walked in I saw the two children climbing all over the walks and seats and I almost said ‘ mind their fingers they are close to the door’ but I bit my lip not wanting to intrude in their conversation and parental position. A little later with screaming from the front of the shop I realised a child had trapped fingers in a glass door. It upset me terribly and stayed with me all day. Firstly because I regretted not mentioning it and secondly to see a small child in such pain I always feel that it’s a design fault When something as simple as trapped fingers in doors can be avoided. There is a product called ‘Finger Protector’ on the market and I think every public space should have this or a similar product fitted as standard.

I’m changing the way I trade ….now that I no longer have to hide behind the curtains – soon I shall be leaving Chapel Street … I love it, when I’m ready I’ll go….well I am now ready. I have begun to build a showroom for my north west london business. I have one for south west london and I have an office in Brussels so it seems time to move on. We will have two sourcing library’s now and I will operate from three addresses to cover the geographical area of my business reach.

Well I’ve always paid for everything and I’ve always worked but I have no intentions of throwing my hard earned money away on trash. I only want the best but I’m not prepared to pay any price for it. It has to be worth it and it has to be justified. I’ve now found what I want – disposing of the old stuff is quite easy there’s always somebody who needs help who has less than you and you can donate things to, your old rubbish is somebody else’s celebration.

Now the fun begins! I’m off to visit Chaplin’s to source a beautiful reception sofa. We are sourcing colours, wall coverings, shop front designs, a media wall, flooring a new staircase and furniture….it’s fun, it’s new and I don’t have to please anyone except myself. That hasn’t happened for a very long time. Life begins again, new business is a challenge but I relish it. I have changed some of my team based on my additional opportunities and the change in business direction.

A new base also brings a fresh lease to life. How exciting is this!

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