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16 Oct 2015

Five inspirational business women to look out for at the Festival of Marketing

Rachael Mulcaster
Five inspirational business women to look out for at the Festival of Marketing

The release of Suffragette in cinemas this week will draw global attention to the empowerment of women, so I wanted to take some time to showcase the exceptional and inspirational business leaders speaking at the Festival of Marketing next month in London who will no doubt continue to stir debate in the industry. 

Ãsa Caap, CEO & Co-Founder of Our/Vodka - I'm kicking off with Ãsa Caap, the stylish Swede with a winning combination of marketing, innovation and entrepreneurial skills. A member of the Swedish Inventors Society, Ãsa already has two patents of her own.  Previously Innovation Director at The Absolut Company, Ãsa has since founded and built Our/Vodka within Pernod Ricard, for which she was awarded Sweden's Intrapreneur of the Year 2014. Launching a new, global brand while being happily married with three children, Ãsa is a wonderful example of a determined businesswoman continuing to challenge traditional stereotypes. Working with many international partners, we asked Ãsa to comment on how she thinks her opportunities working in Sweden differ to those of her colleagues around the world. ''I meet a lot of super cool women when I travel the world for Our/Vodka and a lot of them are 100% clear on the fact that they will have to, or had to choose between their career or having children." In that sense, I am fortunate to live in Sweden, where neither men nor women have to make that compromise. I want all my kids to go for jobs they love and still not compromise on other things they want in life. Ãsa will be speaking on the Personalisation stage at 14.45 on 11th November.

Jemma Jones, Department Manager: Marketing Communications at Honda Motor Europe Ltd - Honda's largest budget holder in Europe, Jemma Jones is responsible for a multi-platform marketing spend in the millions, including that award-winning TV ad where a pair of hands turns a nut into everything from a motorbike to a robot. Jemma started out at Kia before joining Honda in 2011, where her career skyrocketed at an amazing speed, with Jemma achieving her current post as the top figure in European marketing within just three years. ''Some people are surprised when I tell them I work for Honda, a Japanese automotive manufacturer, as this sector has been traditionally male dominated. However, within Honda, respect for the individual is one of the key management principles and again, I've never been held back because of the fact I'm a woman. In fact, Honda is actually very proud to appoint women to senior positions as it is believed this will inspire other women across the business, and acts to encourage a can do, will do culture which is only positive for the business.'' Jemma will be speaking on the Brand & Creative stage at 15.45 on 11th November.

India Gary Martin, Ex-Managing Director at JP Morgan and Founder of Only Fingers and Toes - In the first meeting I had with our Director, Caroline Jackson Levy (another fierce business woman) - about the new Realising Your Potential stage at the Festival, Caroline shouted 'India Gary Martin! The world should meet her!' Formerly one of the most important women in European banking, India gave it all up to focus on her new business Only Fingers and Toes; a successful, luxury nail colour range now available at Space.NK.apothecary and Harvey Nichols. Recently interviewed by City A.M., India explains: 'I was at the top of my game; I wasn't winding down. People would ring me back in seconds. When I left to do this, people didn't care; they didn't return my calls. I cried all the time. It is more than a humbling experience. You learn about power and the perception of power. It's not you, it's the role you fill.' Caroline describes India as 'one of the most inspiring, human, emotionally in touch and uber smart operators I've ever met.' Incredibly honest about the trials and triumphs of launching a new brand, India's story is not to be missed. India will be speaking on the Brand & Creative stage at 10.45 on 12th November.

Rebecca Valentine, Founder of Grey Model Agency - When I first spoke with Rebecca I was silently in awe of her determination and sense of purpose. Fiercely intelligent and quick off the mark, Rebecca is a firm advocate of equality, not just for women but for all people, regardless of age or status. 'In my opinion unity amongst women now, across the globe, is stronger than it has ever been. Young and old are embracing life choices that define who they are and who they would like to become; each generation supporting the others to believe anything and everything is possible and there for the taking. At Grey that is our defining message, there are no barriers, embrace and celebrate everything you are, be an individual and create your own magic.' Having worked within the media industry for over fifteen years as a top photographic agent, Rebecca is Founder of Grey Model Agency - the UK's only agency dedicated to models age 35+ across fashion, advertising, PR and editorial. Launching earlier this year, Grey has already secured top campaigns for its mature models such as Prada, Hunger Magazine, Unilever and Disney. Rebecca will be joining a panel on the Brand & Creative stage at 13.45 on 12th November.

Maggie Semple, OBE, FCGI, CEO at The Experience Corps Ltd and Owner of Maggie Semple Ltd - Described as 'gently formidableâ', Maggie has established a successful profile spanning broadcasting, print and digital media. Awarded an OBE for her services to education in the UK, Maggie now focuses most of her time working on the Semple Dress Collection. The definition of a self-made woman, Maggie, proudly began her career as a teacher of Dance and English and went on to manage a budget of £80m at the Millennium Dome. It is hard not to admire Maggie's resolve, determination and acuity of vision. Having worked with many organisations on cultural change, diversity and inclusion, we asked Maggie how she feels that diversity in business is changing. 'I think diversity in business is changing and continues to change. Specifically the language of 'diversity' and also what 'diversity' means has developed. The language is not just about the legislative areas ie. gender, race, and diversity now means more than women/men. Typically, when people describe diversity they include personality traits. They talk about diversity of thought which I think is a more inclusive approach to the topic.' Maggie will be joining a panel on the Realising Your Potential stage at 11.45 on 12th November.

These are just a few of many outstanding business women speaking at the Festival next month, click here to see a full list of speakers and to get more details on the event.

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