Anyone who knows me well will know that I struggle to say 'No' if there is the offer of a trip and chance of exploration! Despite moving the day before, I signed up to be collected at 03.30 the following morning to be transported to Gatwick Airport. The end destination; Catania,Sicily.
The invitation ... to join the DTI and Great for Partnership for International Women's Day. The celebration was to recognise some of the Outstanding Women in Southern Italy at Palazzo Biscari.
It was a huge honour to join the panel 'British and Italian Women in Business'. My fellow panellists were inspirational ladies (all of whom won Awards for their areas of expertise) and one very brave chap; Jacopo!
We shared our business experience and the importance of diversity in the workplace.
I had no idea of the struggle women have had in Southern Italy to have a voice and career. The award-winners are pioneers. They have broken down the barriers, forged ahead, garnered massive respect and well ... all I can say is ... if you ever get the chance to meet them. Their individual stories knit together to create a mind-blowing garment of drive, determination, self belief. Do so.
The Award Winners all deserve a mention. They are truly incredible women.
Woman in Food & Drink: Rosa Ferraioli, Export Manager, La Doria
Woman in Engineering: Stefania Brancaccio, Vice President, Coelmo Spa
Woman in Sustainable Tech: Enrica & Adriana Santanocito, CEO & Co-Founder, Orange Fiber
Woman for Women: Patrizia del Giudice, Presidente Commissione Pari Opportunita, Regione Puglia
Woman in Social Enterprise: Nicoletta Cosentino, Founder, Le Cuoche Combattenti
Woman in Science: Luisa Torsi, Universita di Bari
Woman in Music: Carmen Consoli, Singer
Woman in Sustainable Agriculture: Vincenza & Giovanna Ferrara, DORA
Woman in International Relations: Petronilla Cifarelli, Pirelli
Woman in Tech: Mariata Costanza, Macnil