Insight, advice, news and chit chat

Happy International Women's Day!

Ever heard of “FOMO”? Fear of missing out? Well I have had to deal with that a lot this week, as I am on holiday, and today there are all these events happening this week which I cannot be at! It’s International Women’s Day, and sometimes I like to throw myself a challenge (to prove what women can do). I have prepared this blog in just 20mins, so scuse any typos – and had to use my Iphone and an app called “TypeIt” for the image above – since I don’t have Photoshop on my laptop.

Here is what I am missing out on today:

Where I am not:

Expand Your Brand Event, London, with my friend Darshana Ubl

My friend Darshana is opening this event, and it’s run by Entrevo, a partnership lead by Daniel Priestley and Marcus Ubl. It’s an event with 12 speakrs over 2 days for SMEs to learn what the formula is for creating a super successful business with high quality services and products and impressive recurring profits – through marketing, innovation, strategic partnerships, the right mindset and all sorts of other “secret sauce”


Thrive 2013 Conference, London, with my friend Julie Hall

A full day of speakers, learning and networking held by Women Unlimited Worldwide, founded by my friend Julie Hall. This is the first year I can’t be at this annual event, and this is actually the official launch of “Women Unlimited Worldwide” (my sources tell me) and what I will be missing is a day full of inspirational female businesswomen speaking – who have incredible stories of failure and success and practical effective tips and advice which will teach and inspire the audience.


South By Southwest (SXSW), Austin, Texas, with my friends Dan McKernan and Craig Bower

An annual conference of film music and technology, which I have never attended would really love to. How could I be there next year and at Women Unlimited Worldwide conference? If they could invent that being in two places at once potion. For me the most interesting part is the “interactive” bit, which starts today and runs till the 12th  with alks from leaders in emerging technology (a lot of new stuff gets introduced at SXSW so it’s worth watching the tweets!).

My friend Dan McKernan is there with his company UMeTime and also my friend-from-Twitter and now Facebook and Instagram, Craig Bower from Design that Rocks, has a stand there!


Where I am

Skiing in Wagrain, Austria: I am on a family holiday which was booked ages ago. The weather is perfect for skiing and I have to pay attention to skiing when I am skiing so cannot do too much work thinking but I do on the lifts sit, contemplate life, and come up with ideas for my business in my head. I also do blogging in my head sometimes too!

There in spirit: I am thinking about my friends around the world at their big events, and wishing them luck and sending them good energy!

On Twitter: Luckily for me, I know how to click on a hashtag, so I cant be missing much as attendees to these events are going to be tweeting away like crazy.

The hashtags are:




So, hope you are also feeling a bit of FOMO, and we feel we are together in not being together! See you at some other inspirational event, some other time, hopefully soon. In the meantime, let’s talk on Twitter!

Today marks the 100 year anniversay (or Centenary) of International Women’s Day!

Since 1911, the 8th of March has been recognised as the day to celebrate the fairer of the species. As we know, back in “the old days”, women were treated very unfairly, and denied the right to function in society as an equal to the dominant and sexist male contingent.

Looking back, things have changed quite a lot, and for the better! Once upon a time, (and this is no fairytale), women had to fight for the right to work, vote, be trained, hold public office, and end discrimination. And some would say that this fight is not yet over.

I look back on the last 100 years and it baffles me as to how badly us blokes acted, and makes me ashamed to be linked (by a Y chromosome) to such blatant discrimination! Well things are quite different nowadays, and this is extremely evident to me especially, working at a Web Design agency, and being the only man in an office of 4 other women! Has it affected me? Well I do go shopping a LOT more since working here…

Not that I am complaining of course, the women I work with on a daily basis are amazing – I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else. Each are extremely proficient in the work they do, and there can be times when a project requires that softer touch, and a woman’s perspective. And the stereotype of women being able to multi-task more easily than men (whether true or not) is a definite advantage when it comes to juggling 15 projects at a time!

So, without further ado, here is what “Michael’s Angels” have to say about working at Top Left Design, and what it means to be a woman in society today!

(Read more about International Women’s Day and it’s history on the official International Women’s Day website)

Tamlyn’s take on things

Tamlyn Hall

Hearing that your prospective work place is a studio made up of almost entirely women can be a little intimidating the first time you walk through the doors. However, it was a thought that flitted across my mind so briefly here at TLD that it’s barely worth mentioning. Working with the amazing women here at Top Left Design has been a purely positive experience right from day one. There is an overwhelming sense of togetherness, support and understanding within the office, all which makes for an incredible and positive work environment. Even with Amy being halfway across the world (boooo), we are still a very close team – there is always someone there to lend an ear, a heart or give a hug (sometimes a virtual one), whether they are standing right next to you or sitting in sunny SA 5630 odd miles away (thanks Google!).

Of course, we mustn’t forget that whilst TLD is predominately women, we do have Michael representing the boys! At times I’ve wondered what it must be like for Michael working in a predominately female environment – almost a role reversal in a world (that world being web design) that is fairly male orientated. In fact I’ve ALMOST (not quite) felt sorry for him at times, having to deal with female sob stories, and tears on one or two occasions. But then again, he gets to work amongst four extremely talented and GORGEOUS women on a daily basis.. All sorry feelings gone!
And anyway, just between you and me, I think he quite enjoys being the only boy here!!

Amy’s advice

Amy Senyard

Women speak two languages – one of which is verbal. ~William Shakespeare

Being a woman in an almost solely woman inhabited company means that we get to speak our own language. We understand one another and bouncing ideas around at Top Left Design, well… it just works!

Arriving at Top Left Design to a company of 3 women was a pretty daunting experience. Aren’t a few women together in one room meant to be a recipe for catty remarks, bitchiness and having your every outfit scrutinised? Maybe I was still thinking back to school days as this was not the environment that I found myself in. It’s amazing what a sense of companionship you can find from a company of women. The people you have to see more days of the week than not need to be people that you love, people that you respect and this is what I find everyday at Top Left Design.

The main thing I love about having these TLD women around me every day (be it only via skype and email since I moved back to South Africa) is that there is always someone there to notice when I get my hair cut, or hug me when I am feeling sad, or convince me that I won’t get fat from that one more cupcake as long as we eat them together. And even though I miss out on seeing these women face to face I still feel their love and respect.

…And Keren still makes sure to send Tamlyn home every now and then so we can get a TLD manicure and pedicure together.

Tina tells us how it is

Tina Webster

I have been working in web design for 2 years now and it has been great to work alongside so many lovely/passionate ladies in the company. This was my 1st “proper” job (in the sense that it was related to my creative degree) after university. I knew from the start that web design was a rather male orientated world and it was so nice to come across a team of mainly women who were and still are driven, committed and striving to rid the world of bad website design!

A lot of our clients are ladies and again working with so many women who are professional, in tune with their clients’ needs and are overall all round lovely people is so very inspiring!

Whilst at Top Left Design I was also introduced to networking, by Keren, and for the past 2 years I have been a member of the Athena Network which is a networking lunch for women in business. This has given me a great opportunity to meet other driven women in business from lots of different industries and also forge some great alliances.

Keren’s Comment

Keren Lerner - owner of Top Left Design

I decided this morning to put this post up as it’s the 100 year anniversary of International Women’s Day and I wanted to show how – even on a day when I had 6 meetings, including a 7am BNI breakfast, 8 calls to return, and a speech to prepare for tomorrow, I could still pull it together. Granted, I asked for my lovely team to contribute but they did – and this proved what we women are capable of (with the help of one great guy!)