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Why I’m bringing The BWN to Warwickshire!

Warwickshire networking with amanda miller at The Business womans networkWhen we launched The BWN 10 years ago we thought we would just help North Essex business women learn new skills, meet likeminded business women and most importantly gain new business. We never thought we would end up at the House of Lords, Downing Street, in the media all the time and now in 6 counties! So when Amanda Miller from Monat Hair and Home Spa got in touch, we were as excited as Amanda was!

Here Amanda talks about her own reasons for launching her own businesses, do get in touch to learn more about our exciting launch!

What made you set up your business?

I’ve always wanted to help people and having tried a number of different professional job roles mainly in finance and mortgages specifically, I found that although I enjoyed customer service I wanted to assist individuals to find what it was that they needed. Hence I looked specifically at helping women to feel confident and happy within themselves. Particularly within a corporate role; the role of non-managerial women is overlooked and they are ignored or ill-treated. I’ve been exploring how to do this on a part-time basis whilst working in a number of corporate training jobs and adding to my skills base for the last 20 years. Now I have time to redefine the services that I offer.

What I love about
running my own business is getting feedback from women who I have helped to
make a difference in how I feel about themselves. Rather like my training role
when I ran personal development courses, I love to see their progression and

What I hate most
about running my own business is those days on end when I’m talking to myself
and not being able to be part of a team with a focus on the goal to achieve.
I’m not particularly motivated by financial goals and am an expert at

The benefits I get
from networking
are similar to a well-run team meeting: if everybody is
supporting each other and not just there for a natter and a cup of coffee! I
used to run The downtown women’s club of
MetroWest Boston (USA)
which was great for meeting businesswomen and learning
from them I am hoping that business women’s network is going to exceed that.

I think my greatest
is possibly listening to other people and being inquisitive to learn
new things. Im also good in a crisis!

I wanted to become a member of The BWN because I think we need it here in the West Midlands. There are many networking groups for mummies that focus on working around children and far less for business women who own their own businesses. Having run the downtown women’s club in Boston I miss it. I also want to build professional contacts locally and have been inspired by what you’re doing in Essex, North London, Norfolk and Suffolk.

I’m really looking forward to launching The Business Womans Network in Warwickshire in January 2020, if you’d like to learn more have a chat my number is 07805 835581

My email is manda.miller@virgin.net or amanda@amandajmiller.co.uk

And you can check out what I do on my site www.amandajmiller.co.uk

I can’t wait to welcome you. Sign up to our main newsletter to hear about our first event and get in touch personally to join my mail list for just Warwickshire events. I can’t wait!

  • November 23, 2019

A Woman’s Struggle becomes her Passion

Business Woman, Aly Wilson from Red Rocket Studio attends our Essex Networking events and sometimes steps in as corporate photographer too. We appreciate that a successful business and career relies heavily on good health (physical, emotional and mental) and really appreciate Aly’s honesty. What do you do to look after yourself so that you are ready for any change in your business life?

Aly Wilson’s passion for swimming with a difference!

A few years ago, I was in so much pain, I couldn’t do up my bra, but now I’m over halfway to swimming the channel! Everyone knows someone struggling with pain and / or depression so let me tell you my story as it might be able to help you or a loved one in a similar situation.  

I started swimming regularly in my early twenties as I knew it would be good for a bad back. I used to do gymnastics, trampolining (as well as coaching them) and a whole host of other sports but after a skiing accident at 15 my back got worse and had to stop. I loved it and used to get up at 5.45 am regularly to go for an early morning swim before work and sometimes managed to fit one in in my work lunch break.

Fast forward a few years and depression had made an annoying entry into my life. I still swam but mornings were out for me, so I just managed to fit it in where I could. I knew it would help and with back trouble, that and a bit of cycling and Pilates were the only sports I could really do. It really helped with my mental health, and with being bullied in my awful NHS job, it was one of my lifelines.

In 2009 I did the Great East Swim which was a mile in open water. I’d never done any open water before and it was great. I promptly booked in to do the one the next year. I had started having some shoulder problems (rotator cuff tendonitis / impingement) after a scooter accident the year before – some nice driver thought it would be a great idea to see me flying over his car bonnet – which had affected my left shoulder as I’d landed on it, and then out of nowhere my right one started playing up too and got so bad I had to unfortunately withdraw from the next Great East Swim.

This obviously came with extra issues related to mental health. Swimming was good for me, my mental health and my back but the pain I was in meant I couldn’t swim, which made for one big vicious circle.

After various injections the left one calmed down but the right one got so bad, I couldn’t drive for 5 months, had trouble getting dressed – doing up a bra was a complete nightmare – and even pulling up clothes I had to done one-handed. It affected my thumb as well and actually found it more debilitating than my usual back pain. This one got to the point of being a frozen shoulder. No amount of injections seemed to work on this one (which I didn’t really want anyway but didn’t feel I had a lot of choice at the time) and it was only through some intensive private treatment and a lot of money spent that I started to improve.

Since then – around 2012 or so – I started swimming again. There were times I had to pull back on it, times when I doggedly wanted to swim so could be seen doing one-handed back stroke because the other shoulder was too sore, times when I didn’t do any at all, so never got any momentum up. For those who struggle with exercise, I do encourage you to do something. Sometimes I would only be in for slow 15-minute swim, but it still gets you doing something which can help heaps with the mindset.

Eventually about 2018 I started again properly. A few blips with shoulders and viruses have put me back now and again but I finally feel I’m built up my swimming mojo again! I just have to go with the flow, and I know there are times I need to be gentle or lay off for a bit. The shoulders are way improved but still have their little grumbles!

Last year, 2018, I was looking into where I could open water swim as I wanted to give that a serious go! I’d seen “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs” who had covered open water swimming as a treatment for depression. The only place I knew of was Gosfield Lake at Halstead which is a good 45 minutes from Wivenhoe. After some searching, I found a new place called Curve Wake Park which had recently opened in St Osyth and offered open water swimming, about a 25 minute drive from us! So, I started there and went a few times last year and regularly this year. When the water’s a bit cooler the staff always say they don’t know how I can go in without a wetsuit! I also went regularly to the Brightlingsea Lido which whilst it’s not ‘officially’ open water, is colder as it’s unheated. On my first swim of the season in Brightlingsea it was 15 degrees! I got out and felt a bit wobbly so decided it best to swim when it was a couple of degrees higher! J A proper swimming wetsuit is on my “to get soon” shopping list! That way I can keep going for longer when it’s much cooler!

Recently I saw the Aspire Channel Swim advertised. This is a challenge to swim 22 miles (wherever you are able – open water or pool) in 12 weeks in aid of Aspire – a charity helping those with spinal injury. So, I signed up. At the time of writing I’m at 13 miles, with 9 miles to go. I’m absolutely loving doing it.

We go to S Africa every year to see my mother-in-law and there’s the biggest open water event in the world held in Pietermaritzburg called the Midmar Mile (which isn’t that far from where we stay and happens to be on whilst we’re there) … so I signed up for that.

I’m also going to be signing up for the Great East Swim which used to be 1 mile, but now does a couple of shorter events for children as well as 2 miles 5k and 10k. I’m still deciding on the distance as I want to do the 5k but want to be sure I’d be good to do it! I only swam my first 2k a week ago … but know I have until June to prepare! For both these (Great East Swim and Midmar, I can raise sponsorship for my own choice of charities and I already have those in mind).

I know there are other local events and will be looking into joining into those too – the chilled out Mill to Mill from Dedham to Flatford is one.

I’d love it and really appreciate it if anyone can support me in my Aspire Channel Swim. “

Here at The Business Womans Network we help look after every aspect of a woman’s success. Her skills, her mindset, her connections and we are even here for their personal lives too. It matters to us greatly that you get to work with quality people that will respect you and your business too. We know that with the awesome structure to our events, there is time to build great relationships that really support a woman in businesses success.

Get in touch to learn more and the Insiders is an awesome support and business growth mastermind group that you could love too!

  • November 5, 2019

Need a banner you could do some good for MS UK too!

Janda Sullivan from Direct Solutions attends our Essex events. Direct Solutions are taking part in the #925Challenge for MS-UK!

For the duration of the challenge – Roller banners will be discounted to £50.00 (*complete PDF file supplied) and we will be donating 50% (£25.00) from every sale to MS-UK 🙌

“Each year, MS-UK invite businesses across the UK to take part in our corporate fundraising challenge called the 925 Challenge. We challenge companies to test their creativity, ambition and team work as they aim to raise £925 in 9 weeks, 2 days and 5 hours.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition that affects over 107,000 people in the UK and MS-UK is a national charity supporting people affected by MS to live happier and healthier lives.

We help people living with MS through our services including a telephone counselling service, an information helpline and our wellness centre in Colchester.” – MS UK

To take part in our non-profit challenge, simply purchase a roller banner to promote your business from Direct Solutions before the clock runs out. We will then be able to make a donation on your behalf and include you in our 925 Challenge promotions!
Contact Janda on 01255 221322 or email janda@directsolutionsuk.com for more information.

And if you do take advantage of this great offer, exhibit at an event and show off your new banner, it’s just £13.50 to exhibit at our events with a Golden Ticket and the full price is £35 and includes one ticket. Our Big Christmas event on the 15th November is a great opportunity to showcase your business.

  • October 20, 2019

Award winning members in the press

We’ve had a bumper crop of good news already this Autumn with lots of our members winning awards AND featuring in the press.

First there’s Michelle Taylor and Sarah Keen following a great trend we are very proud of by being Top 100 Small Businesses in the national campaign Small Business Saturday featured in The Guardian Newspaper. This is the 3rd year in a row that BWN members have won this accolade, pretty impressive considering how many businesses there are in the UK right?

Sarah owns Lightbulb Chiropractic also features in the Gazette talking about how to succeed in business when you are a military wife. Learn more about Sarah here and read this great article here.

award winning business woman sarah keen at the business womans network events for education and growth
Congratulations Sarah Keen!

Keep your eyes peeled because Celebrant Michelle Taylor has her day with Small Business Saturday coming up too. Michelle has helped us celebrate our big 10th birthday and many others with her awesome ceremonies for corporate events. She also features on TV this month! Learn more about Funky Celebrant here or meet Sarah and Michelle at our Colchester events or on the Insiders.

Multi award winning Michelle Taylor – The Funky Celebrant.

Not content with winning with Small Business Saturday Michelle features as a top 50 business women of Essex with Living Magazine along with our Founder Mandie Holgate, Anne Cope from Authentico Paint and Josie Dom Author of the Lum and Friends. They all featured in October and November editions at the launch at the stunning Braxted Park.

Mandie Holgate author of fight the fear and founder of the business womans network featuring in red magazine talking about big life decisions.
Our Founder Mandie Holgate also features in this November’s Red magazine, the national glossy that women love. Mandie is talking about how to overcome fear and make those big decisions like setting up your own business. The ideas are taking from Mandie’s work as a coach for teams and individuals and her book Fight the Fear You can buy you copy now and sign up to Redonline here.
Are you tweeting us?
  • October 20, 2019

All change in Suffolk

All businesses go through change and our organisation is no different. In fact we actively look to hear from every woman in business that attends our Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk events to know what you want and if we are delivering it. (And our apologies if we are not in your region yet, we would love to be in your area, so get in touch to learn about getting paid to network.)

Therefore when Linda had to step down from our stunning Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk  events it was a quiet moment in the BWN offices. Mandie instantly decided that we had been supporting the success of women in business in this area for over 4 years and we didn’t want to see it stop. So Mandie hosted our September event and announced “Who would like to get paid to network?”

2 offers came forward on the day so we never got to spread the opportunity to the wider community (further proof you have to be in it to win it!) and we are delighted to welcome Nicky West, a corporate Suffolk based photographer to the team. Nicky said “I’ve decided to become a BWN co-ordinator! Let me sum up why. I believe networking is a wonderful way to empower and connect local business owners to be inspired by and inspire each other, in a friendly supportive environment, and I’m so excited to be a part of that process and grow my own business along the way too!”

We are very happy to welcome you Nicky and look forward to seeing your fabulous images and hearing your 2019 plans.

We have more exciting news coming soon and if you would like to learn more about joining the growing BWN team, we would love to hear from you. Just complete the contact us form or give us a call.

  • September 30, 2018

Ok just stop it now

I’m really excited about the launch of the Insiders. It’s a way that I as Founder and our Insiders affiliates can help you more AND you can ask anything you like (confidentially) and we will do our best to get you the right expert to help you.

So today in preparation for our first webinar in the Inisiders secret Facebook group I thought I’d share the 7 top tips I’d give to anyone that was looking to increase their chances of success in 2017 when setting goals. And then in the webinar you can ask me anything you like relating to achieving your goals;

  1. Where has your goal come from? Who defined it? When a goal is not wholly created by you, according to your values and beliefs then you are less likely to achieve. I’ve seen this enough times to know this. The business woman that wanted massive levels of success and quoted many a entrepreneurial author at me, as I reminded her “Her brain didn’t get the memo on that, take all information and advice in like water into a sponge, then wring out what you don’t need.) In the webinar I will look at how to create a powerful goal. One that you take action on, like this business woman did and wowsers it was a “stand back and watch her go!” moment, that’s for sure!
  2. Challenge what you think. When I work 1 2 1 with a client I can literally stop their thought patterns in their tracks, by bringing to their attention their choice of words. It’s a point that the Institute of Directors picked up on in their review of my book, which leads us onto point 3.
  3. Watch your language no not the swearing but your choice of words. As I say if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend then don’t say it to yourself because our choice of words drastically impact on our success. However have you considered how you word your goal? The language you use? Challenge the assumptions and the idea that it’s going to half kill you to get the results you want in 2017.
  4. Who will motivate you? Clients do leave buzzed up and ready to take on the world. Audiences leave my talks in the same way, however as I point out in 6 weeks time when your cat/partner/child/work colleague has given you the lurgy and you feel as sick as a dog and like death, how are you going to get nearer your dream goal for 2017?  Our network is described as THE place to stay motivated and guess what that does when you combine it with the professional and personal training we provide too? Who will keep you going? And if you are an insider you have a confidential place to share when you need a boost too!
  5. And for the love of you, know when not to keep going! I had to fight for a whole chapter about “The Fear of taking time out.” in my new book Fight the fear, however so many of us think we need to be some robotic soulless machine to get to that big goal. There is a thing called life that you can’t forget about. For instance if your goal for 2017 is to grow your business, can your health, business model or family take it? If not what are the chances that you will achieve? I’ve seen enough people scupper their own success because they’ve feared how they will cope with success. What do you need to do to ensure success?
  6. Never fear saying “No” “I need to help” or “I don’t understand how to do this” If you do, then what are you agreeing to? I will share some ideas from my book on how to do these without damaging your confidence, brand or reputation.
  7. How will you monitor your results? The person climbing the mountain that doesn’t take the time to observe the view, rarely can appreciate how far they have come. If you were to compare who you are and what you have achieved right now to 2 years ago, would you be so cynical, critical or worried about what you can achieve? Likewise by breaking your goals down (I get my clients to create 1,3 and 5 year goals and critically importantly Now Goals too.)  you can start to see what actions need to be prioritised. And a big obstacle for so many business women is that they get distracted by the first shiny thing that comes along that looks easier than what has to be done and go off at a tangent, thereby slowing down their success and goal achieve. 

I could share a ton of ideas here to help you rocket your chances of success in 2017. For now check your confidence levels and follow these 7 top tips, and I look forward to seeing you in the Insiders next week. Not joined yet? You can here. 

As founder of The BWN Mandie Holgate care’s passionately about your success as much as our coordinators do. If there is something in particular you would like assistance with. What ever it is get in touch and we will do all we can to help. (And as always, without you having to spend a fortune!)

  • December 31, 2016

Who Do You Think You Are!


When it comes to a speaking engagement I like to think of my audience, Who are they? What do they want? What do they need?  etc., etc.

And as I go through this process it’s inevitable for me that I start to think of my clients. My theory being if is an issue for one person it stands to be an issue for another. So using my anecdotes in key note addresses really connects with my audience….(could be some advice in there about marketing right?)

So as I prepare for a speaking engagement I’m reminded of the number of people that I’ve coached this month who have all in one format or another showed the same underlining issue that is detrimentally damaging their success.

Do you want to know what that is?

Really want to know?

Because when I tell you, many of you will stop, look up as if thinking (because you are thinking) and say to yourself….”Wow is this me too?”

The fact is for so many people in business you have the big goals and ambitions and work hard to achieve them. And then one day (for those this impacts, as if by magic) you start to get results.

And then as your business grows and more people want in, (again as if by magic) you start to get asked to share your knowledge, speak at conferences, comment in the press or head hunted for a great new opportunity.

Susan Pattrick and Mandie Holgate

Business Coach Mandie Holgate and Susan Pattrick from Dancing Giraffe spent time thinking and contemplating…if only someone had told them what to contemplate!

And instead of saying “Wow, well done me, look at what I’ve achieved.”The natural state to rush to is “Oh no, wait until they find out its just me!”

What stops a successful business woman who has achieved so much from not accepting success?

Why do people dismiss their successes and acknowledge their failures?

So I challenge you to be honest with yourself, do you dismiss your successes like you do a compliment? Have you ever said any of the following;

“What this old thing, I’ve had it for years.”

“Anyone could do what I’ve done really.”

“I don’t know why they chose us, just right, place right time I suppose.”

“My competitors are just as good at this really.”

“I don’t know why they asked me.”

“I suppose I was just lucky.”

Then I wouldn’t mind betting that you allow your brain to accept and acknowledge your failures and yet you don’t praise and accept your successes with the same level of passion.

You don’t need a coach by your side to know if you do this and the impact that this can have on your success. Do you worry that you are going to get found out?

I will be honest with you here, its something I too have had to address. For me I always felt like I was a 5 year old in my Mum’s dress up clothes. Even when the Home Office invited me to hear an address by the Home Secretary on Women’s success I asked the lady if she knew it was just Mandie Holgate from little old Mersea island?

Come on ladies, we don’t have to start strutting around like that insurance advert in skin tight demin shorts, swishing our hair shouting “because we are worth it”. However you do need an internal belief, that says “You go girl!” “Yeah Me!” “Wow look what I can achieve!”

I agree there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence, however when there is so much stacked up against you and your success, why add You to the pile of negativity?

I will be speaking at the Big Chelmsford Business Showcase on the 18th November about Making It Happen and The BWN are stand Number 33, So see you there. To learn more book here.


  • November 13, 2015

Granny said “Reach for the stars” So I did….

Here our international marketer and Media personality and master class presenter for our Five Lakes Crowne Plaza event speaks about her career, and why you shouldn’t miss this event!

“My grandmother use to say “Kubi, reach for the stars, and you might just get the moon”. I took her words literally, and as a child I couldn’t stop dreaming big. Before branding entered my life I was consumed with dance and it was only after suffering an injury to my knee that I changed direction.
Once they told me I could no longer be a semi-professional dancer, I figured, if I couldn’t be iKubi Springern-front of the camera, I would at least rule behind it!
Reach for the stars, and you might just get the moon…
Granny was right…here’s my portfolio;

So, by the time I was 21 years old I graduated with a BA Hons in Commerical Music & Marketing and secured two internships, the first was in the UK with MTV Europe and the second was with Blue Flame (Puff Daddy’s Marketing & Advertising Agency) in New York. Fast forward 19 years, Lord I am getting old 🙂 and I have developed an international career with a focus on consumer marketing and branding. Working across Entertainment, Fashion, Sports and Lifestyle brands my resume includes Nike, Blackberry, L’Oreal Professionnel, Justin Timberlake/Sony BMG, Manchester United Footballer Rio Ferdinand, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Sleek Hair, OHTV, MOBO Awards and the Sex & the City Movie Premier.

Today, I still have an international career but now I juggle it with being a mother to Angel, my very talkative 3 year old daughter. When I am not on mummy duties, I tend to be in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean or the Middle East, helping consumer brands to internationalise their proposition. Most recently I have been working in the Caribbean with Jamaica National Bank and Caribbean Fashion Week. This summer I am launching Malaysian Fashion House Mimpikita into the UK market, e-tailer DFNG into Africa and one of Asia’s biggest F&B (Food & Beverage) brands into the US market. I am a “money girl” and simply love helping my clients to commercialise their brands – to turn their ideas into a financially successful venture. Delivering brand audits, capacity building, strategic planning and brand deals, I can honestly say…I love my job.

As life would have it, 20 years after injuring my knee, I now have the best of both worlds as a Brand Consultant and Media Personality. Presenting and producing business related TV and radio shows has made me an award winning media personality, and it’s amazing because now instead of doing pierrette’s, I get to use the power of the media, to empower you!”

To say we are excited about Kubi speaking for us, would be an understatement, So spread the word, and lets rocket your success too!


  • October 1, 2015

Angela Lock talks about Essex FSB and how it could be good for business.

Here Angela Lock from Essex FSB, shares why its the business for her. You can meet Angela at our Essex events, so do feel free to have a chat on how they might be able to help you and your business too.

Small businesses face challenges every day that can put them at risk and which need to be dealt with before they become problematic, cost money or lead to opportunities being lost. All of which can effect business growth, so it’s no wonder that the UK’s leading business organisation, the Federation of Small Businesses who supports businesses across the country and has its 200,000 members in the forefront of their mind when it packs a real punch when it brings its voice to Government in the UK and Europe.

The benefits package that the FSB offers are unrivalled but attracting those small businesses to the membershipAngela Lock from Essex FSB at Essex BWN Womens Networking is no small feat, so bringing that support to the small business community are a team of Member Advisors, self employed / business owners, are the very people FBS seek to encourage to its membership. I’m Angela Lock and I am one of these people, acting as a Membership Advisor as well as looking after my own business interests.

With an early career in retail management I moved into the world of recruitment and later established my own consultancy, specialising in senior retail operations for both major high street and out of town retailers and preferred supplier to brands such as IKEA, Asda, House of Fraser, Hobbs and the Arcadia Group. Also during this period together with my husband developing a property portfolio, before moving into project management supporting businesses in a range of sectors, including a period in Welfare to Work.

Still having an interest in property but also a love of nature and of the outdoors a recent venture has been converting a cart lodge into a rural retreat which has received a Visit England, Quality in Tourism 4 Star Gold Award and so after being a Member of the FSB for a number of years in August 2014 I became the Membership Advisor of North and West Essex and Herts.

Angela visits businesses across her territory and is among the top performing membership advisors for the FSB, speaking at training seminars and network events as well as visiting businesses on a one-to-one basis, playing her part in ensuring that the FSB remains the largest business organisation in the UK

The FSB looks to business people like Angela to raise awareness and ensure business owners are fully briefed when it comes to the support mechanisms, benefits that it has in place as well as activities and events that it organises or sponsors such as The Business Womens Network summer event. Angela herself joined the FSB because ‘It’s very reassuring to know that when a legal issue arises I can immediately turn to the FSB and that advise is just a phone call away. They are on hand to help in so many ways and although I do not have any employees anymore, I have still found the legal team very supportive of a few personal disputes I’ve experienced. Not only that, Tax investigation Insurance is a real must for any business these days and not only does that FSB provide this as part of the Rights of Membership but its provides peace of mind and the reassurance that one needs as the tax team are there every step of the way and deal with HMRC on your behalf’ . The Federation of Small Businesses also adds her voice to the many other of thousands it has when it takes its messages to Government. Messages that come from the membership through Big Voice, the FSB’s online research community. Big Voice is unique amongst the business organisations, and makes the FSB the Voice of Small Business in the UK

The FSB website is a wealth of information for business owners www.fsb.org.uk and to find out about membership call Angela on 07899 843583 or email angela.lock@fsb.org.uk

Thank you for sharing Angela, If you are a member of the BWN (which means you pay no membership fee just for the events you wish to attend this year in one go – so we can spend our time promoting you and your business and not dealing with admin, click here to learn more.)












  • September 30, 2015