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Meet Essex Business Jo Hunt. Jo Smells Good And Business Looks Good Too!

At The BWN it’s important our coordinators get to know our regular business women. Here Joanne Hunt shares her passion for smells and what they can do for your health, wealth and happiness…

What made you set up your business?
It was a pure accident getting involved with doTERRA Essential Oils. My 13 year old daughter is a multi-eventer Jo Hunt 2athlete and had injured her ankle during a training session, after a few sessions of physiotherapy I was asked to try a sample of deep blue rub for her ankle, it was such an amazing product and within a few days she was walking again and in 2 weeks she was back to long jumping. I am also an athletics coach and a few of my athletes had certain aches, pains and muscle issues so we tried the product on them all with 100% success rates – so I knew from then this product was very special.

How many years have you been in business?
I have been running my own Health and Safety Consultancy business Chestnut Associates for over 25 years and have built up to 25 regular monthly clients plus many more on an ad hoc basis. I have been working with doTERRA since May 2015.

What do you love most about running your own business?
By far the best part is sharing the oils with people and letting them have their own oil experience. The results that I have had with my clients has been above and beyond anything I could of ever imagined possible. Meeting the wonderful people that have decided to work with me on my journey with doTERRA and sharing the wonderful business with them to see them grow too.

What do you hate most about running your own business?
There’s only 24 hours in a day – I want more!!

What benefits do you get from networking?Jo Hunt 3
I’ve met some amazing people through networking and it’s a great way to get find out how we can work together and use each other’s services and experience. There is also a tremendous amount of support from the ladies that are members and also from visitors that attend the monthly events. There is also an amazing speaker for each event which means we all come away from the event with an action plan for our individual business. I have met some great people who have turned into very good friends and will be friends forever.

What would you say your greatest skill is? (Be honest you have lots!)
Never ever giving up – I will keep trying and get the result I need for my client.

What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?
After my first experience of visiting BWN and feeling the amazing buzz in the room during the meeting there was no way I could not join. Mandie is the most supportive lady and does everything possible to link people together.  I find that the women who attend are really supportive and interested in what everybody else is doing. I always come away fired up with enthusiasm and that’s a great motivator once a month.

What do you see the future holding for your business?
That is such a scary question. The way the business has grown for me during the last 9 months hasJo Hunt 1 been incredible and I can’t begin to imagine where we will be in another year. The one certainty is that I will be sharing the wonderful world of doTERRA Essential Oils with many people to help their health issues is a more natural way.

Who would it be good to for you to know?
I would like to meet people that are willing to try a more natural way of managing their health. Mum’s are a great start so that they can try a more natural way of helping their children without the standard over the counter medication. People that use essential oils in their work eg. beauty therapists. Sportsmen and women that have sport injuries I would love to help. (Marjoram can be used for muscles pain from overuse, tension, stress, strain or injury. It is also very commonly used for tendinitis.
Lemongrass is most commonly used for Achilles heel and muscle strains.) People that would love to work in a team sharing the oils.

Jo Hunt attends our Essex events and has booked to exhibit at every Marks Tey Hotel event in 2016!Jo Hunt 4

If you can’t wait to learn more visit her Facebook page here.

And Jo’s website is here.

  • March 21, 2016

Meet Essex Business Woman Genevieve McAllister

We like to know our members really well. And we like you all to know our memberes too. Today meet Genevieve McAllister  from Crocus Connect. Who tells us why she became a member of the BWN and what her business is all about. You can meet Genevieve at our Essex events.

What made you set up your business?

Running my own business had always been at the back of my mind even whilst Genevieve McAllisterI was building my career first in the City and then in Corporate Communications. As my children were growing up I had progressed from working part-time to almost full-time, but I was constantly juggling childcare and trying to put the hours in at work – and feeling guilty a lot of the time. I remember going for a walk with my dog through the fields a couple of years ago and having an intense moment of clarity where I realised things needed to change. And very soon after I’d thought this, an opportunity came up at work which meant I could leave and start realising my dream.

How many years have you been in business?

I’ve been self employed for about 18 months, but it was only last summer that I decided to focus more on becoming a VA (virtual assistant). It made sense to me because the people I was meeting through networking were mainly owners of small businesses who don’t necessarily want to employ other people directly, but sometimes need to outsource office support or marketing.

What do you love most about running your own business?

I like the feeling that I’m the one who makes the decisions and can focus on whatever is most productive for me at any given moment. I don’t have to wait around on other people telling me what I can and can’t do. And the feeling I get when someone wants to hire me to do some work is brilliant!

What do you hate most about running your own business?

My tax return, definitely. I’ve been grappling with HMRC only today.

What benefits do you get from networking?

I’ve picked up work from networking and it’s a great way to get yourself in front of Crocus Connect people and find out which of their work problems you can help solve. Also, as I spend a lot of time on my own working at home, it’s good to meet people and talk through day to day issues the way I would if I worked in a more conventional office with lots of colleagues.

What would you say your greatest skill is? (Be honest you have lots!)

I recently read a blog which resonated with me and it was asking people to identify what is their ‘thing’. It’s usually something that comes to you so naturally you barely even realise you can do it. After a bit of thought (and asking my husband, my mum, my friends…) I realised that my ‘thing’ is proofreading – I can look at a page of text and immediately pick up the typo. It shouldn’t have been news to me – after all, I’d been project managing communications and publications for several years so it was always part of my job, but like I said, often your ‘thing’ is something you find easy and don’t believe it’s a skill.

What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?

I’d heard good things about the BWN (and Mandie!) from others and decided to come along and try it for myself. I’m just finding that the women who do attend are really supportive and interested in what everybody else is doing. I always come away fired up with enthusiasm and that’s a great motivator once a month.

What do you see the future holding for your business?

I see the VA side of my business growing this year as I continue to focus my networking activity around that. There’s a direct correlation between the work I put in and how my business grows, so it’s important to keep up the momentum.

Longer term, I’d like to develop a balance between my VA work and my copywriting and proofreading. And if I can throw a little voiceover work into the mix too, that would tick all my boxes nicely!

Who would it be good to for you to know?

I’d like to meet people who run small to medium-sized businesses who need extra support but don’t want the formality of hiring extra people. Because I’m quite patient and organised I’m a good foil for whirlwind creative types – and I like working with them too.

I’d also like to meet someone who would get satisfaction from acting as a mentor. I think that having someone to act as a sounding board is invaluable and of course, it’s a two-way relationship.

Thank you Genieveve for sharing your business growth plans for 2016, who you would like to know and how you can help us. If you would like to answer these questions and get your business talked about on our blog, learn more about being a member here. It costs less than the early bird ticket!

  • January 13, 2016

Shhh The Secret Keys To Success In 2016

I’m speaking at the University for the Institute of Directors next week and I’ve been asked to share my top tips for networking success. Planning what I will talk about makes me think of my clients and the business women I get to be with at The BWN networking events. And I will share next week the same great stuff I do with you guys all the time. But hey these students will not have me there with them once a month, so what are the most important things I could say to someone that wants success?

And I realised it is the same things that I work with clients on all the time. Ready for the big secrets?

Ready to find out what I think are the keys to your success?

And what is more scary they are things within in our control!

The keys to success are confidence and communication.

I’ve had everyone from CEO’s and start up’s tell me that when they communicate effectively they can get what they want. They can get solutions. Ask the right questions to move their business and success forward.

Many people think that networking is something that you do in a snazzy hotel Business Women's Networkwith coffee and business cards. And yet networking is everywhere. In the queue at the bank, having your nails done, or waiting for a client (all of those have happened to me and delivered a new client.) So the first thing you need to master to be a successful business woman is your ability to communicate effectively.

I bet right about now there are a good few readers saying easier said than done. Okay so I get it can be scary and tricky, but anything you want in life has an element of fear and nervousness attached, its how you know you really want it.

I would also say that every single person that I’ve worked with this year has been coached to communicate effectively. From the business owner that wanted to renegotiate one of their biggest contracts (for more money with less work – and yes they got it!) to the business owner that went to a national conference and targeted the dream contract and yes things are happening! You see communicating what you want is what matters, so find out what you really want, who can help you get it and how to get that message across effectively.

But even more important than communication is…

If you have inner confidence you don’t care if you make a fool of yourself and get it wrong, because getting it wrong is on the road to getting it right, right?

Inner confidence means you have the confidence to go up to that person you know you want to work with and say “Lets talk”.

So my big gift to you this Christmas is to know and accept that you need to boost your Santacommunication and cocnfidence. And I promise with every cell in my body that if you walk through the doors of The BWN events me and my cooridndators will do all that we can to boost your confidence aand success.

Sales, SEO, Marketing, Social media, PR, Awards, Profit, Time Management, Vision and Mission Statements, Phone and Public speaking fears, branding, Business structure and strategy can all be learnt, but without communication skills and confidence, you will always be able to undermine your success. So let’s power up your success today.

I’ve had so many women say to me “Mandie I can’t do it.” and even if I don’t coach them I’m there for them, and we chat and I share ideas at The BWN and what do you know, suddenly they can do it and they do. Your success deserves that too!

See you soon and Merry Christmas and here’s to a very profitable successful 2016

Stick around aand we could make that happen for you too!

Mandie HolgateMy name is Mandie Holgate and as founder of The BWN, everything that enables success for business women matters to me and I will share it with you. Attracting some of the best speakers in Europe. Yes there are other networks, but ours is the most powerful motivator and supporter of success in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. Our business women, venues and speakers tell us that this is true, I can’t wait to help you too.

  • December 10, 2015

Positively made-up!

Meet Lydia of Lydia’s Luscious Lashes our very first member for the North Colchester Events and we haven’t even launched yet!  

Lydia is very passionate about her business and how it positively makes a difference to her clients and her growing team.  She absolutely loves how she can fit her business around her family commitments and wants to help other people do the same.

What made you join Younique?

I joined Younique when I was 3 and half months into maternity leave because the thought of going back to work petrified me. I had just overcome postnatal depression (PND) and was just starting to enjoy being a mum. I’d really struggled in the first couple of months and didn’t want to go back to work. I just wanted to stay at home and do fun things with my little girl, like take her swimming, go to baby groups and give her the very best possible start. The idea of someone else looking after her, paying nursery fees and basically going to work just to cover the fees seemed ludicrous!

I had seen my cousin was doing well working with Younique so asked her about it. She said to do some research and find out for myself. She thought it was a good idea, but encouraged me to make my own decision. So, I went off to do some research, found out lots of good things, met up with my cousin again and joined!

How many years have you been in business?

I have been with Younique just over 3 months.

What do you love most about running your own business?

I love the flexibility it has given me. I can work my own hours and run my business however and whenever I want. I get to spend time with my little girl, do all the fun things we love doing together and I can work around her.

I love that my business is a positive business – I am making women happy. When people try the make-up they are happy, when I organise parties, they are happy and that’s very rewarding. As well as running my own business I now have my own team of 4 women and I love coaching them. I’m learning as much as I can about how we can all go further in our businesses, coaching and inspiring them and being a support for them. It has given me lots of confidence to think I am changing not only my life but others around me too.

What do you hate most about running your own business?

I guess with it being a social networking company the business is open 24 hours! I know that I can respond as and when I want to as it is my business, but I tend to get back as soon as I can. Which can sometimes interfere in the evenings…my fault though – I quite enjoy the engagement, so not really a negative to be honest.

One of the biggest problems in business is working long hours and still running out of time!  Check out our previous blog on time management and prioritising – Time to Stop!

What benefits do you get from networking?

The benefits of networking are meeting new people, being able to help other businesses out by working together and coming up with ideas that are mutually beneficial. Being able to speak to and discuss things with like minded people.

What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?

It is a women’s networking group, which falls in line with my business. I have been to a couple of the events before and found them to be very enjoyable. It’s nice to have the support of like minded, strong and successful women.

What do you see the future holding for Younique? 

The company only launched in 2012, it has going from strength to strength, launching in USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and soon to be in Mexico then France. So it is a growing company and with this I hope for my team to expand in these countries so that I have an international team.

Lydia Adams

Cheers to Success!

Personally I would like to do some more training and get involved in wedding make-up, grow my team and am hoping that within a year my partner can retire from his work. We can all move to a nice big house and I can run my business with total flexibility, enjoying time with my family.

If you would like to find out how Lydia can help you here are her contact details below: 

Website: Lydia’s Luscious Lashes  

Email: Lydia’s Luscious Lashes  

Facebook: Lydia’s Luscious Lashes

  • August 23, 2015

Essex Business Woman Goes North (Well Norfolk.)

Susan Pattrick has been a member of the BWN since its launch in 2009 and is a passionate believer in our ethos and power to help all women in business succeed in all areas of business.

As Founder of Dancing Giraffe Susan wants to help all people with any disability access the services and support they need to. Here Susan shares why she jumped in her car and visited Norfolk’s Coordinator Denise Bretton and her events.

On 7th May I went up to Norwich to attend The Business Woman’s Mandie Susan and Dancing GiraffeNetwork meeting held at Caister Hall Hotel at Caister St Edmund near Norwich. I set off at about 7.15 am not knowing how long it was going to take me to get there. It was a beautiful sunny day and the birds were singing in the trees – although I have to say I didn’t hear much of that because I had Radio 2 on. I love singing along in the car to cheerful songs as I am driving but I cannot sing in tune to save my life. It’s a good job that no one else can hear me.

I had to leave Gerald in the shed again (for those of you that don’t know, Gerald is my organisations mascot since our logo is a Dancing Giraffe and he loves attending Essex BWN events with me) he was most unhappy about that and sulked because I wouldn’t take him along. Of course it was polling day and he wanted me to take him along to the polls! He isn’t registered to vote, which is why I was trying to explain to him that he couldn’t cast his vote and even if he did it wouldn’t count! Anyway I managed to calm him down with a few tasty morsels of green shoots – that’s his favourite food and he seemed satisfied! At least when I got home he was pleased to see me – but that’s getting ahead of myself!

When I arrived at the hotel, (it was being used as a polling station), I was confronted with this beautiful old building set in the most gorgeous grounds and set back from the road in a very quiet area. It was 9.30 am when I arrived (half an hour before the meeting was due to start). I was the first one there – isn’t it always the way, the furthest away was the first one who arrived! The hotel reception staff were lovely and offered me a cup of coffee or tea whilst I waited for Denise Bretton to arrive.  Unfortunately Mandie Holgate couldn’t make it because she had a client to coach. She was really miffed at missing out on the presentation. The photo here is the one with Mandie and I at the recent BWN event at the Crowne Plaza, Maldon where the Colchester BWN is held.

There was general networking to start with and about 10.30 Denise asked everyone to take their seats in readiness for Sophie Jewry’s presentation. Sophie Jewry, is a fabulous Business Brand Consultant. For the next hour she was very entertaining, explaining how to identify your ideal client (you need to do this for every client profile that you have) and put yourself in their shoes even down to personal things like who your ideal client loves, what they eat and how they dress. We were given a printed guide on how to identify your ideal client which is very useful to me. I didn’t realise how in depth it was just to ensure that you don’t waste money on clients that are never going to use your services. It was an absolutely brilliant hour and well worth the two and a bit hours driving time. I made several good contacts there including the Norfolk Knitters! If you get the chance to go and listen to Sophie then do take it. It is absolutely brilliant! Mandie did say that Sophie was going to come to Colchester BWN at some stage so don’t miss it! Thanks to Jayne Lloyd our fabulous photographer for the pic too. I’m the one in the branded yellow hoodie!

Join us at our events in Norfolk and Essex and if you are in any county in the UK, we would love to help you get paid to network. Learn more here.

Say Hi to Susan and learn more at Dancing Giraffes website – www.dancinggiraffe.com

  • June 3, 2015

Real Words From An Awesome Photographer

We loved this email, that much we are sharing it in its entirety here as a blog article:

I have been attending the BWN regularly for over a year now and have found it has had a Liz Leatherdalehugely positive effect on my business. Each meeting has a master class with knowledgeable speakers who give genuinely useful information I can then put into practice to improve my working methods, whether that be social media, public speaking or time management – I always come away with a set of action points.

The format of the meetings works particularly well, allowing for free networking and the opportunity for most (if not all) attendees to speak about their business in front of the whole group. By attending regularly I have built up relationships with many members, as a network of expert support and advice as well as gaining several new clients, who have since gone on to give me wonderful testimonials that I can now use in my future marketing.

Mandie Holgate and The BWN’s commitment to sharingBusiness Women's Network and promoting members’ updates and connecting people who can truly work well together is beyond any I have seen at other network groups, and as photographer for the group I am particularly proud to be a part of the continued conversations beyond the meetings themselves.

Thank you Mandie and the BWN for your valuable support and promotion!

Jayne Lloyd Photography @Jaynelloyd

If you would like more than just business card swapping, if you would like the network, connections, support, ideas to achieve more then The BWN could be for you. Our tagline is As Passionate About Your Success As You Are, why not let us prove it to you too.

Check out the fabulous corporate photographer Jayne LLoyd here 



  • May 13, 2015

Free Event With Intel For Women-owned Businesses & Business Opportunities

Thanks to our great relationship with WE Connect International we are able to put you in front of fabulous opportunities to work with some of the leading corporations in the world. Please read below for some great opportunities in certain sectors and a very exclusive free event being hosted by Intel. We hope this proves very useful to you.

WEConnect International is a corporate-led non-profit, and their goal is to connect more majority women owned businesses (those that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women) into the corporate supply chain. Their corporate members represent $700 billion in annual purchasing power and are true pioneers in inclusive sourcing and global supplier development. More information can be found on their website: http://weconnectinternational.org/en/

1. There is currently limited information regarding the following information, however if you fit the above critieria and would like the opportunity to work on contracts and business opportunities in these industries please contact Maggie Berry from WEConnect International as detailed below;

  • Air conditioning units.
  • Audio visual equipment and maintenance – this includes any AV equipment that would be used in meeting rooms such projectors, screen etc. The requirement is for a firm who can supply and maintain equipment.
  • Car valeting.
  • Car washing supplies.
  • Cartographer – the need is for someone who can create city and country maps for multiple locations in the EU (France, Spain, Germany, Ireland and UK) – they can consider separate cartographers for each country if there is not one firm that can cover the EU. The corporate member needs their own maps and images that can be re-used.
  • Corporate work wear (uniforms).
  • Couriers – this is an on-going requirement.
  • Drains – the requirement is for a firm that can empty and clean drains (via interceptor tanks).
  • Electrical/lighting – there is specific interest in firms who can provide energy saving lighting solutions.
  • Feminine hygiene disposal services.
  • General tradesman – this includes firms who can provides services in any of the following areas: plumbing, carpentry, painting, decorating, roofing.
  • Grounds maintenance.
  • Hand dyers for toilet facilities.
  • Laminated and aluminium tubes provider.
  • Mobile accessories: the requirements is for a firm who can supply and maintain tablets / wifi enabled devices that would be rented out to customers.
  • Office stationary supplies – paper, pens, coffee, teas, white boards etc.
  • Security companies to provide alarms and bollards to secure offices and car parking areas.
  • Transport Including taxis, minibuses. Locations are varied and include London and Aldershot.



2. Are you interested in doing business with Intel and participating in a social media master class?

Then join Intel Supply Connections – Promoting Women at the Heart of Economic Growth on Thursday 12th March 2015 at Bletchley Park.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Intel would like to invite you to their first conference of 2015. The event will include a workshop on social media led by Gail Hanlon, Marketing Specialist at Intel EMEA during which you will discover how to build a social media strategy and how to use social media to achieve the objective of either building your brand or creating sales interest. There will also be a panel discussion session with new suppliers to Intel including Ian Platt, Head of Supply Chain Services at BaxterStorey; Elizabeth Heron, Managing Director of HAMG360; Gill Thorpe, Managing Director of The Sourcing Team and Michelle Palmer, Managing Director of Canary Wharf & City.

Date:     Thursday 12th March

Time:     10.00am to 1.30pm (with an option to take a tour of Bletchley Park at 1.30 – 2.30pm)

Venue: Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes

Cost:      Free

RSVP:    By Thursday 5th March 2015

This event is aimed at majority owned women’s businesses – those that are minimum 51% owned by one or more women – who provide products and services in the following sectors: marketing, HR, recruitment, catering, training, advertising, merchandise, events, corporate services, facilities management, legal and technology. If your business falls into another sector and you are interested in attending, please email Intel via womensupplychain@intel.com.

More information and the registration link can be found here: http://www.weconnecteurope.org/event/intel-supply-connections-bletchley-park


Maggie is incredibly helpful and passionate about helping business women so we hope this proves a useful connection to our members and if you do take advantage please do share your good news with us either privately for our records or publicly on social media so that we may promote your great news too! Twitter http://twitter.com/BWNcouk and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheBusinessWomansNetwork

Maggie Berry

Executive Director for Europe

WEConnect International

Email: mberry@weconnectinternational.org

Twitter: @WEConnectEurope

LinkedIn: WEConnect Europe

Facebook: WEConnect Europe

Website: weconnectinternational.org


  • February 11, 2015

Essex Business Women – Endeavours Beyond Business

BWN business women are no strangers to raising money for charity. Having raised 1000’s of pounds for charities including Farleigh’s Hospice, Colchester Mind, Little Havens, Comic Relief, Children in Need and even making donations to Colchester Food Bank Christmas 2014. So its something to celebrate when not one business woman but 5 are raising money for local charities alongside running their own businesses.
It was a proud moment when at the January Essex Networking event at Five Lakes Crowne Plaza business women were supporting and helping to raise the profile of these business women and their charity plans.

It’s great that the ideas range from pampering and fun to “Wow I’m glad it’s you and not me, here’s a fiver!”
Here we take look at the business women doing their bit;

First has to be Jenny Sjoellma from PA Angels, About My Area Chelmsford and About My Area Maldon. If it wasn’t enough to be running 3 businesses Jenny in 17 days time will be jumping out of an aeroplane for Farleighs Hospice. Jenny said “My friend and colleague, from whom I took over AboutMyArea, was diagnosed earlier in the year with bowel and liver cancer. She is progressing well with her chemo and couldn’t have done so without the help of Farleigh Hospice. Skydving will be one of the things off my bucket list” Stella Bradbrook is a business women known and loved by The BWN so we are whole heartedly supporting Jenny, but happy to be doing it with our feet on the ground!  To support Jenny learn more here. And remember if you can’t spare any money just sharing the link on your social media could help.

Tracy Shave

Next up is not just one BWN business woman but 2! Tracy Shave a Laughter Yoga Instructor from Moulding Futures wanted to take part in the Farleigh’s £50 challenge so asked at The BWN if anyone would like to work on it together. Photographer Jayne Lloyd jumped at the opportunity and so together they are putting on a unique event. This event will get Essex women together. All having a make over, sharing cake and chat and finishing the event with a photograph of them holding a giant heart with a message for whomever they wish written on the heart. Tracy said “I’m so lucky to still have my Nan but I thought how lovely it would be coming up to Valentines day if Essex women could have a special picture they could treasure for always and show Farleigh’s how much they care too. To learn more click here – again if you are busy or already have a chosen charity for the year a tweet and a Facebook post would be gratefully appreciated too!

Karen Daniels from The Aloe Life and Luxury Florida Villas was so touched by Jayne and Tracy’s idea and passion that she created a hamper that will be raffled off at the event being hosted by Tracy Shave and Jayne LLoyd.Gayle Berry Love specs



Lastly but very impressively Gayle Berry from Blossom and Berry Baby Massage and Training runs Little Blossoms Project Malawi. In the UK Gayle can be seen selling beautiful unique gifts and love specs to raise vital funds and to raise awareness of her work in Malawi. You can learn more here and even purchase a Feel Good Metal Feather Necklace or Love Specs.

We have already heard reports that BWN business women have shown their support for all of these worthy endeavours. Its rather cool seeing life through Love specs, you should try it. And lets be honest we would all rather put our hands in our pockets than jump out of a plan, so good luck Jenny!

Charities often tell us that when businesses support them its no just about raising money, the really important thing for many charities is that thanks to businesses like The BWN business women, charities and their work to help others gets noticed and recognised. It really is a win win situation!

  • February 3, 2015