Well hello, or should I say Good Morning, Good Afternoon or Good Evening (please select as appropriate). I am the author of the musings/missives and hostess of the Salons; together these two elements form Victorious Endeavours ~ Sophisticated Salons. The background and philosophy behind this very personal initiative are outlined below. These terribly elegant words could be read as ‘having fun with my friends’ and what, may I ask, is wrong with that?
I am a self confessed and committed spinster of the Parish within which I reside (somewhere in South Wales between Cardiff and the coast). I delight in my garden about which I wax at great length in my weekly missives ~ along with a range of other day to day minutia and matters of rather greater significance (at least to me they are!). The archive of the weekly missives can be found elsewhere on this blog site cannily catagorised as Musings of a Contemporary Spinster. Feel free to browse the utterly unique take on the world we live in (or were living in last year (2010).
Victorious Endeavours is my personal initiative and is based on my curiosity about the world we live in coupled with a belief in potential of people. I am a freelance business consultant based in Wales whose work focuses on working with individuals and organisations to fulfil their potential. The values behind FM Consultancy, the name I trade under, are clarity and integrity with humour and wisdom thrown in as needed. Victorious Endeavours is an entirely frivolous initiative design to add a metaphorical breathing space into our often (too) busy days!
Laughter and Isolation: Over the last few years I have become increasingly aware that women working as sole traders or for small organisations feel isolated and are hungry to talk to like minded women. No-one likes to admit to feeling isolated for fear of looking pathetic – being freelance does offer amazing flexibility but it does come at a cost. We all need someone to moan to; to bounce ideas off or to just have a giggle with! Laughter is hugely underrated as a solution to so many things – it work for me most of the time.
Beyond Networking: Add in a healthy curiosity (or inherent nosiness) that is within us all, coupled with a dash of Protestant guilt about not wasting time, the salon idea seemed an ideal solution. The salon goes beyond networking because there is no defined outcome i.e. no pressure to perform! You might meet someone new; you might make a connection with business potential; or you might just feel rested after a short break from the daily grind!
Safety in Numbers: We are by nature pack animals; beings that like, at least some of the time, to socialise. To feel comfortable interacting with people we don’t know – something that is central to both our personal and professional lives – we need to feel safe. One of the things clients have said about working with me is that I make them feel safe (something I feel both flattered and humbled by). My career has been diverse over the last twenty years and I have met some very interesting people many of whom I am still in contact with. By inviting people I know, trust and respect I can offer the opportunity to meet like minded women – within the confines of the salons I can guarantee that everyone enjoys the experience.
The Aim of Victorious Endeavours
Victorious Endeavours is aimed at women who are curious about the world they live in; interested in learning more about a range of issues; and would like to meet women who they wouldn’t normally bump into. It seems to me that we don’t talk about the issues of importance today – I wanted to try to stimulate conversation!
Victorious Endeavours aims to:
– Encourage debate and conversation by providing the opportunity to hear a different perspective
– Foster an enjoyment of everyday life by cultivating curiosity!
Bimonthly Salons: The Bimonthly Salons are based on those held by aristocratic ladies in pre revolutionary France who brought women together to discuss the arts and sciences. The desire to stimulate debate and cultivate a curiosity, behind these original salons, also underpins the Victorious Endeavour Salons.
The Victorious Endeavour Salons are a partnership with the Ffresh restaurant at the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC). A delicious locally sourced two course supper will be followed by an ‘in conversation’ style interview with interesting speakers.
Over coffee speakers are invited to give their perspective on a defined subject. The Salons are light hearted and give a personal insight as well as a professional perspective. During 2010 Fiona Allan (the Artistic Director at the WMC) and I have hosted four Salons with guests including Baroness Finlay the Palliative Care specialist who sits in the House of Lords, Philippa Davies aka Mrs Motivator, the visual artist Julia Brooker, Annest Wiliam translator, the designer and entrepreneur Angela Gidden, Dilys Price of the Touch Trust and jewelerMari Thomas.
To tease the mind I write provocation papers outlining my thoughts on the subject to give an idea of the kind of things Fiona and I might be conversing with our guests about. Or not depending upon how the mood takes us…
If you are intrigued read on or watch out for the Salons scheduled for 2011.
In sophistication, as always
In The Beginning
To reveal a lady’s age would be vulgar so I shall leave this detail to you. The length of time we have found ourselves walking on this earth is, in my experience, seldom an indicator of anything of merit. All I would say is that I have been awfully busy since my mother gave birth to me in Mzuzu, Malawi where she met my father.
I was born in a convent hospital and this is the sister who delivered me. I do adore this photograph in its peaceful innocent way; a newly born babe with not a care in the world. We all resembled this image once although invariably without recollection of the occasion.
Looking back now I appreciate the bravery it must have taken to leave Derbyshire in the late 1960s and fly off to deepest darkest Africa. To a country no one had heard of, Malawi, in the centre of the continent. The majority of the land mass of the country, formerly known as Nyasaland, is a large freshwater lake. When we were older my brother and I had tropical fresh water fish and I always liked to think that some of them had come from Lake Malawi.
My mother had gone to Malawi as a Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) volunteer to teach children on a mission in the north of the country. Here she and my father, who was working for the government, met and subsequently married. My brother and I grew up in Malawi until we returned to the UK in 1976. 30 July 1976 to be precise. The year of the drought I seem to remember.
This picture is of my mother with one of the sisters from the convent where I was born. To me the photograph is representative of a particular time. A time of simplicity somehow, when volunteering was the right thing to do and in countries like Malawi an individual could make a difference on a small scale. Educating children and improving their life chances. But the ones whose lives were improved were the ones who often left the country. As an adult I ponder the impact of the British Empire and when you look at those countries now one can but wonder who gained from this endeavour. I am neither being naieve nor flippant so please do not take offence.
And so ladies, readers, this is where the contemporary spinster began her life. And this insight may contextualise some of my observations and musings. Should reading this have provoked a question please feel free to ask and I shall, in due course, respond (should I wish to of course…).
As always in sophistication