Photography: Philip Sinden
Words: Jemima Wilson
Co-ordinator: Duncan McRae
A true inspiration to other women (and men), these 30 visionaries have shown originality in their ideas and are not averse to taking both personal and material risks. They have each built up a successful, sustainable business of significant scale, putting their reputation on the line in the process. Our pioneering women work across a number of sectors, but all have a strong connection to the City, with their business – or the majority of their clients – being based in or around the Square Mile. Their success was measured according to a number of factors, including revenue model, sustainability and market value.
Watch a Brummell video of the Inspirational Women below…
Senior independent director, RSA Insurance plc and Rexam plc; non-executive director, Wm Morrisons plc
CEO of Innovate Finance and chairman at Pivotal Innovations
Director strategic partnerships, Payment Solutions Group, Commercial and Private Banking, The Royal Bank of Scotland
Partner, tax, Ernst & Young LLP
Executive director for Europe, WEConnect International
Co-founder, Enterprise Jungle
A serial entrepreneur, Emma Sinclair co-founded Enterprise Jungle, a social discovery and knowledge extension for enterprise intranet/ESN/HRIS platforms. She began her career in investment banking and, at 29, was the youngest person in the UK to take a company – Mission Capital – public. She recently sold car-park operator Target Parking to become a full-time techie. Sinclair has received multiple business awards and contributes to The Telegraph’s Wonder Woman section on business, having been a launch contributor, and has a technology column in The Wall Street Journal.
Founder, Market Structure Partners
Following a career at Merrill Lynch spanning many changes in capital-markets technology and regulation, Niki Beattie founded Market Structure Partners in 2008, providing strategic advice on financial-market structure. She is a non-executive director of Cheuvreux International Ltd and the Moscow Exchange, and non-executive chairman of Aquis Exchange, sits on the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the UK Financial Conduct Authority and is a member of the Secondary Markets Advisory Committee of the European Securities Markets Authority.
Co-founder and chief sales and marketing officer, Platform Black
Platform Black is at the forefront of the alternative-finance industry, matching businesses that have invoices they want to trade with investors with liquid funds to invest. Having invented a new type of SME finance by leveraging the capital markets into SMEs via an innovative trading platform, co-founder and chief sales and marketing officer Louise Beaumont advises Number 10, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on primary legislation, invoice finance and supply-chain finance.
Julie Meyer MBE has assisted European entrepreneurs in building category-defining, tech-enabled firms for nearly 20 years. She founded Ariadne Capital in 2000 with 62 leading entrepreneurs to create the gold-standard for the financing of European entrepreneurship and, in 2008, launched EntrepreneurCountry, a global discovery platform for corporate and start-up innovation. She has backed seven explosive-growth companies, syndicated more than £350m investments and is a board director to INSEAD, Vestergaard (humanitarian development), Quill, Taggstar and BitX.
Co-founder, Entrepreneur First
Alice Bentinck is a co-founder of the seed-investment programme Entrepreneur First, which selects on the basis of technical talent. Taking the best computer scientists and engineers, often before they have assembled a team or finalised a start-up idea, Entrepreneur First helps build successful technology start-ups in London. Over the past two years, it has built 20 companies now valued at over $80m. Bentinck has also set up Code First: Girls, a free, part-time course teaching high-achieving women undergraduates to code.
Founder and CEO, Alexander Mann Solutions
Since founding Alexander Mann Solutions in 1996, entrepreneur Rosaleen Blair has seen it become recognised as a global leader in talent-acquisition and management services. Previously named Ernst & Young’s Business Products & Services Entrepreneur of the Year and Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year, she is passionate about diversity and youth employability, and engaged in many charity and governmental organisations, including the Prince’s Trust, Life Skills and Everywoman.
Executive chair, MHP
During her 24 years’ experience in PR, Gay Collins has set up two financial-services PR companies, Penrose Financial and Ludgate Communications. She was involved in a management buy-out to set up Ludgate and, in 1998, co-founded one of MHP’s predecessor consultancies, Penrose Financial, before becoming executive chair of the combined group MHP. She is also a founder steering-committee member of the 30% Club, on the board of Cancer Research UK’s Women of Influence and non-executive director of JP Morgan Overseas Investment Trust plc.
Founder and CEO, Move Guides
Brynne Herbert created the first cloud solution for the global talent-mobility industry in her role as founder and CEO of Move Guides. She began her career working at Standard Chartered and Lehman Brothers, before founding Move Guides in 2011, winning the UK Business Angels Association’s Best Female Investment award in 2013. Real Business named Herbert as one of 20 women energising Britain through vision and disruptive ideas, and she is acknowledged as being among London’s most influential people on the 2013 TechCityInsider 100 list.
Founder and CEO, NASDAQ OMX NLX
Charlotte Crosswell is the founder and CEO of start-up cross-product trading and clearing platform NASDAQ OMX NLX, launched in 2013. NLX used the NASDAQ OMX internal enture-capital fund to establish a brand-new market in European interest-rate derivatives – something that had not been done before. Since its launch, it has won the Derivatives Week Global Derivatives Awards 2013, the Exchange Platform Launch of the Year and the FOW International Award for Best New Exchange.
Founder and CEO, Signia Wealth
Formerly a senior client partner at Coutts & Co and a founding member of the Coutts Private Office focused on advising ultra high-net-worth clients, Nathalie Dauriac Stoebe is founder and chief executive of Signia Wealth. She has been elected as one of 40 Rising Stars by the European Wealth Management Bulletin, and in 2010, won the Spear’s award for the Future Leader in the Wealth Management Industry. Dauriac Stoebe was also nominated by Ernst & Young for its Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 2013.
Founder, Bootcamp Pilates
Taking the fitness world by storm, Dominique Day founded Bootcamp Pilates in 2005 and now receives almost 250 clients a day across her four London studios in Bayswater, Fulham, Richmond and the City. The company has 30,000 clients and more than 40 members of staff and has been featured in Vanity Fair, Vogue and most major UK newspapers. Day’s background is in TV production, where she created and managed a TV news-production company working with major US broadcasters such as ABC, NBC and CBS.
Founder and CEO, Essentia Analytics
Formerly a fund manager, Clare Flynn Levy is founder and CEO at Essentia Analytics, which empowers professional investors to improve individual performance by making more skilled investment decisions. Flynn Levy is an entrepreneur whose specialisms include hedge-fund and financial software, behavioural finance and financial analysis. She also serves as a non-executive director of Team Grasshopper Ltd, acts as an advisor to the Board of City Lounge Ventures Ltd and sits on the European Regional Board of YPO-WPO.
Founder, Parental Choice Ltd
After working as a finance lawyer with Linklaters and Freshfields for 10 years, Sarah-Jane Butler founded Parental Choice Ltd, of which she is now co-director, in 2011. The company, which has been featured in The Daily Mail and The Guardian, works with corporates to help professional parents combine their career with the right childcare. From setting up payroll and contract services for nannies to sourcing tutors and au pairs, it offers an all-encompassing service to support parents in just about every aspect of their children’s lives.
With over 15 years’ experience in the London Stock Exchange and Credit Suisse, Tina Freed co-founded E2W to bridge the gap between financial institutions and the companies who wanted to sell to them. Through her unique business model, providing working parents with a work-life balance and a career that builds on their City experience, she has helped many women return to work without compromising the responsibilities of family life, and strives to ensure they continue to make a significant contribution to the industry.
CEO, Gibbs S3
As CEO of Europe’s fastest-growing IT staffing and consulting firm Gibbs S3, Farida Gibbs has received a multitude of women’s-achievement awards. Appointed ambassador of WEConnect International, she sits on the board
of HRH The Prince of Wales’s initiative Mosaic, advisory boards for the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Entrepreneurship and Mosaic Network, helping launch the Mosaic Associates Female Entrepreneurs Network. A columnist for Asian Wealth Magazine, Gibbs is to be a mentor to the Women of the Future ambassadors programme.
and CEO, Derby Street Film
The founder of new online crowdfunding business Money&Co, Nicola Horlick previously co-founded Rockpool Investments, raising over £60m in the past two years to invest in opportunities such as movies and restaurants. She is chief executive of Derby Street Films, which has raised several million pounds under the Enterprise Investment Scheme to finance the development of a slate of feature films. Her new investment fund, Glentham Film I LP, will work closely with Derby Street Films in that regard.
Founder, Sturgeon Ventures
Seonaid Mackenzie has had a 30-year career in the City, and founded Sturgeon Ventures, the pioneering FCA regulatory incubator for start-up managers, in 1998. She and her firm have since gone on to win many accolades, including Venture Catalyst of the Year at the M&A Awards 2013 and 2014, Trusted Regulatory Incubator Firm of the Year at the Acquisition International Finance Awards 2014, and the well-respected Thomson Reuters Compliance Innovator of 2013. She founded socially responsible investors The Wellness Fund Foundation in 2010.
Co-founder, Autonomous Research
Since co-founding Autonomous Research five years ago, Giulia Raffo has seen the business achieve significant growth. The company was entirely self-funded when launched and, while the decision to build a start-up at a crucial point in her career was brave, Autonomous’s business model has proved to be sustainable, with regular annual growth in profits. The firm now has more than 60 employees in London, New York and now Hong Kong, and five per cent of partnership profits are donated to charity each year. She recently joined Bousard & Gavaudan.
Owner and CEO, Taylor Bennett
The Financial Times’ Mrs Moneypenny, and author of the best-selling Careers Advice for Ambitious Women, former stockbroker and investment banker Heather McGregor is now the CEO of Taylor Bennett, an executive search firm specialising in investor relations and corporate communications. She has doubled its size since acquiring the business in 2004 and continues to expand it internationally. In 2008, she established the Taylor Bennett Foundation, which trains mixed-race and minority-ethnic graduates and helps them win jobs in communications.
Co-founder and COO, Unruly
Leading social video campaigns as co-founder and chief operating officer of marketing-technology company Unruly, Sarah Wood is one of the most influential women in UK tech. Among the many other accolades she has received, Wood was voted Red magazine’s Digital Woman of The Year. She is part of the Gazelle Group of Entrepreneurs and has been a member of Social Media Week’s Global Advisory Board since 2011. She teaches an MPhil course in Mash-Ups, Memes and LOLitics: Online Video Culture and the Screen Media Revolution at the University of Cambridge.
CEO, Eposs Ltd
Dale Murray CBE, an entrepreneur and angel investor, co-founded Omega Logic in 1999, before becoming chief executive of Eposs Ltd. She currently serves on a business taskforce on EU regulation for the Prime Minister and is a non-executive director of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and UK Trade & Investment. She is also a non-executive director for Sussex Place Ventures and a board advisor to both Seeders and the Centre for Entrepreneurs. Murray’s accolades include a CBE, awarded for services to business.
Founding partner and MD, Greentarget
The founding partner and managing director at Greentarget, a specialist financial-services agency that manages communications for organisations that include Royal Bank of Canada, SaxoBank, Liquidnet, CaixaBank, Wholesale Markets’ Brokers Association and DTCC, Melissa Rowling has 20 years’ experience in public relations. She worked at City PR agency Square Mile, assisted in setting up a global macro hedge fund that was part of Ikos Asset Management and headed up the financial-services division at Weber Shandwick, before co-founding Greentarget in 2006.
Since founding Decoded in 2011, Kathryn Parsons has seen the company nominated as one of The Telegraph’s top-five most innovative businesses in the UK, empowering thousands of individuals and companies across the globe with accelerated learning experiences. She also sits on the board of the London Tech Ambassadors Group and won the Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award 2013. Last year, she was listed as one of Management Today’s 35 Under 35 and, this year, included in The Sunday Times Britain’s Top 30 Female Power List.
The youngest and only female chief executive of a City brokerage, Sam Smith founded finnCap in 2007. Under her leadership, the firm has become one of the fastest-growing independent brokers in the City. Outside her duties as CEO, she has won multiple business awards and is actively involved in various mentoring projects, such as Pinky Lilani’s Women of the Future awards. She also serves as the patron of the Modern Muse project, which aims to inspire the next generation of female business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Founder and MD, Addidi
A highly qualified and experienced wealth adviser, Anna Sofat is founder and managing director of Addidi, a company incorporating the women-only Addidi Enterprise Club, comprising Addidi Business Angels, Addidi Pioneers and Addidi Talent. In 2012 and 2013, it was identified as one of the Top 100 Financial Planning Firms by New Model Adviser magazine, and, in 2014, Sofat was awarded unbiased.co.uk’s Financial Adviser of the Year award. She has been a non-executive director for the social enterprise Fair Finance since 2005.
Founder and CEO, Streets Consulting
Streets Consulting is a business-development, marketing and communications consultancy for financial services, technology and fast-growth companies. Founder and CEO Julia Street’s career has included senior consultancy and executive roles at Instinet and NYSE Technologies, and she also serves on the board of the charity Children in Crisis. Passionate about innovation and representing firms driving industry change, Streets is a regular contributor to a variety of FinTech schemes and a commentator in her own right.
Founder director and COO, FDM Group
Spearheading FDM’s global-expansion programme and the highly acclaimed Women in IT campaign, Sheila Flavell is a founder director and the chief operating officer of FDM Group. She was awarded Leader of the Year in a Corporate Organisation at the 2012 Cisco Everywoman in Technology Awards, featured as one of TechCityInsider’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers on London’s Digital Scene 2013 and selected as one of Cranfield School of Management’s Top 100 Women to Watch in the Female FTSE Report in 2013 and 2014.
Founder WeAreTheCity and CareersCity
Following a 25-year senior career in banking and finance, Vanessa Vallely left the City to pursue, through a number of businesses, her passion for helping women and youngsters. She is the founder of leading women’s network, job board and website WeAreTheCity and CareersCity, serving an audience of more than 250,000 women in the UK and India each month. She sits on the Women of Influence board for CR-UK, and last year published her first book, Heels of Steel, imparting advice for the next generation of corporate workers.
Founder and CEO, Ariya Capital Group Ltd
Dr Herta von Stiegel leads Ariya Capital, which builds large, clean, renewable-energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa and creates sustainable agricultural investment opportunities. She is the founder and former chair of the Prince’s Trust Women’s Leadership Group, author of The Mountain Within – Leadership Lessons and Inspiration for your Climb to the Top, leader of a multi-ability expedition to reach Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit and executive co-producer of The Mountain Within, the award-winning film about it.
Co-founder and MD at Abundance
Number four in the original Financial News Rising Stars under 40, Louise Wilson left her role as UBS’s head of European capital markets in 2008, keen to show money can deliver a win-win both for the planet and people of all means. Now co-founder and MD at Abundance, the UK’s first regulated crowdfunding platform, she offers investments that create an attractive long-term income and help the environment, letting investors large and small put money directly into UK renewable-energy projects.
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