We sponsored Quarter Club’s NOISE event in trendy Lower Marsh near Waterloo in London yesterday – 125 strong women came together to discuss the issues that really matter…and in their goody bags were our tagine kits 🙂
I’d never heard of the Quarter Club before. My first encounter was when one of the founders got in touch to ask if we would sponsor them because she felt our values were aligned. Boy, was she right! We had a call and I was immediately struck by her instinct for going the extra mile, doing the right thing and challenging the status quo – our brand values. I knew we would work well together.
Saskia and Jo are the wonder women who founded this movement and I have to say I’m SOLD on what they are doing. It’s an informal gathering with phenomenal speakers (more about them in a mo) who each speak for around 10 minutes. Saskia and Jo know how to put on an event – you get pizza, a goody bag, a glass of prosecco, amazing talks and networking for a measly £10! I knew I would like them but I hadn’t anticipated how much – seriously impressed by this dynamic duo.
The theme of the evening was NOISE – the relationship between noise and change, perfect food for thought at a time when we are seeing seismic change in attitudes towards traditionally suppressed segments of society. A perfect fit for us at Virtuelicious – we set out to make NOISE about food and packaging waste by showing how easy it is to do things differently. Our portion sized kits mean there is no food waste and the compostable packaging means nothing goes to landfill. If you like what we’re doing help us make some NOISE – follow and share our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts.
First up was the hugely talented Sophia Thakur who conveyed her message through poetry. My takeaway from her poem was that what we see in life is not always born out of what we think, but often from a much deeper and darker, maybe even sinister, behavioural quality. Her smooth voice carried her words to me…and those words whirled in my mind long after she stepped off the stage.
Second was Seyi Akiwowo – OMG does this lady have things to say…and boy oh boy should we be listening. At the tender age of 26 she speaks with the wisdom of a woman twice her age. I had a lump in my throat listening to what she had to say. She’s a high achiever, the youngest black councillor but that didn’t keep her safe from trolls on social media whoo hurled racist abuse at her when she spoke out at the EU Parliament in Brussels. What did Seyi do? Did she hide away? Nah, ‘course she didn’t. She set up GLITCH to educate and support people who are abused by online trolls. And this girl gets it – she’s all about championing each other, she wants others to speak up in a joined up way because she knows we are stronger when we stand united. My takeaway from her talk: be strong, be powerful, use your voice and make some noise.
Next up was was Hannah Whitton who let her vulnerability show through. She told us that as she is recovering from major surgery she is trying to block out the noise so that she can focus on getting back on track. She spoke about how hard she can be on herself, thinking she’s being lazy. I guess she’s working on also quietening her internal negative noise. My takeaway: be noisy but nurture yourself first.
Gaylene Gould spoke about the changing times, how our faster paced lives and social media mean there is so much more noise now. She shared my thoughts about life before smart phones – when we had time to think, to switch off, to watch, to daydream. We don’t do that now – each spare minute sees us reach for our phones, easily spending half an hour switching from app to app. My takeaway: I’m not the only one who want to dull down the pointless noise so I can turn up the meaningful noise.
Last of the scheduled speakers was Coco Khan, what a beautiful name! And what a great speaker! She said she’s been making noise for a long time but it’s only over the past couple of years that people have started listening. It all changed when she published a well received book called The Good Immigrant, and now she’s a journalist at the Guardian. She talked abut her transition from being the “female muslim” journalist to a journalist in her own right. My takeaway: keep on making noise, be yourself and be happy with your own message – people will listen when you are ready to be heard.
There were many other impromptu brave speakers, some of whom made me want to get up and start making noise and some of whom moved me almost to tears.
We are proud to have sponsored The Quarter Club, I am humbled to refer to Saskia and Jo as my new friends. If you are a Londoner and want to be inspired by the power of real women I urge you to attend the next event – you never know, you might even find one of our quick cook kits in your goody bag!