Lena Benjamin is an events and marketing independent consultant, speaker, online entrepreneur, investor, teacher and business coach. Known for creating the Empowering Women Summit and a keen advocate for enabling humans to live the life they desire.
What was your childhood like and how did it shape who you are today?
My Dad currently works as a senior director (an engineer) at the House of Commons and has been instrumental for me being the person I am today – a strong, resilient and persistent businesswoman. I grew up in the London Borough of Bromley and went to an all girls’ secondary school called Langley Park School for Girls (a couple of private schools in Beckenham and a primary state school).
Growing up, I was surrounded by the majority of boy cousins and so had to be quite feisty early on, which sees me to where I am today
Growing up, I was surrounded by the majority of boy cousins and so had to be quite feisty early on, which sees me to where I am today – outspoken and go-getting. I once spoke about this at a school speaking gig last year with a title of ‘Challenging Female Gender Stereotypes’. I love travelling and meeting new people from distant places. I am looking to travel back to the United States for business opportunities. I was in Chicago for the summer, which I loved.
What inspired you to organise the first Empowering Women Summit in 2014 and how was it received?
I organised the first Empowering Women Summit in 2014 outside the House of Lords, which my aunt (Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE) kindly hosted, while I was the then London Chair of the Women in Management Network. My decision to hold the event at the House of Lords coincided with me becoming the London Chair and my aunt becoming a Baroness.
It made sense to hold an event on women (I called it Inspiring Women in the 21st Century) at the House of Lords in 2012 and 2013. I had already held a number of events as the London Chair including Women on Boards. My decision after deciding to step down as the London Chair came when I founded House of Events in 2014, an event planning business, and took upon my own will and actions to develop the Empowering Women Summit. The Summit in 2014 was well received and we had people stating that it could not have come at a better time for their professional development.
For how long did you have this idea within you and how did you make it happen?
When I was an internal consultant for a global engineering consultancy firm while studying for the MBA, I saw the amount of women who were not fulfilling their true potential and it was at that point that I decided to create an online portal, connecting professional women with coaches and mentors. I had already partnered in an online multi-cultural book-selling business, approached by Amazon and commended by the Mayor of London in 2004.
The online professional women portal in 2008 then transformed into holding events and I utilised all the experience gained through starting my own business, while working full time and studying for an MBA, for enabling and empowering women to succeed. More events including the one at the House of Lords and subsequent events called the Empowering Women Summit came into existence.
How would you describe the role of women in the world today?
We are in an exciting place where we can connect with one another and explore how we can achieve on a global scale. I am so happy for the women and men that have paved the way for this and the next generation to succeed. There is still a long way to go but I look forward to working with organisations on their female talent pipeline to ensure the ‘High Potential’ candidates, who are often overlooked, achieve more responsibility and access to leadership positions.
We must all use our position of influence to make that wave of change and I believe more and more women and men are doing this
We must all use our position of influence to make that wave of change and I believe more and more women and men are doing this. I see women being and doing exactly what is in their heart to do – to be a housewife, entrepreneur, breadwinner, educator. Most profoundly a woman’s role in the world, like all humans, is to teach – to create awareness and cultivate communities and countries for the evolution of the human existence.
The Empowering Women Summit for 2015 is focused on technology and entrepreneurship – what made you select these topics?
Technology is a key opportunity to bring us closer together in this interconnected world and with that opportunity to do so, provides women with more scope to develop in business and within their career. I want to showcase how important technology is and will be to the empowerment of women and equally men. More women are now taking the decision to use technology to work from home, whether that be within their business or career and this provides the empowering opportunity to have work/life balance and to connect with colleagues and clients across the globe.
More women are now taking the decision to use technology to work from home…
I use technology on a grand scale within my business from Skype and telephone to conduct coaching sessions – to WordPress and Eventbrite to organise events that bring people together. When I was travelling I would use Skype to connect with friends and family. My aim is to also use technology to run webinars and discussions to empower and inspire on a Global scale.
What are your expectations for this summit?
That the women and hopefully men that attend the Summit will have the opportunity to ask questions of themselves and the panel as to how they can utilise technology within their own business or career, to enable their growth and development both personally and professionally. The delegates will have the opportunity to learn from the panel on how they have utilised technology to enable the business and their key stakeholders. The summit will also provide those present with an opportunity to connect with senior leaders within some well-known organisations, that could help them within their career or business.
The summit is about self exploration and to decipher if there are any opportunities to make key connections that could help them grow professionally through the use of technology and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is equally important whether you run a business or within a career as new ways of working and creating becomes everyone’s key objective. More importantly the Summit is how we can utilise technological tools in the twenty-first century to enable innovation, creativity and sustainable growth. The Summit is about learning, networking, and growing…
Entrepreneurship is equally important whether you run a business or within a career as new ways of working and creating becomes everyone’s key objective.
Empowering Women Summit partners with Lean-in (co-founded by Sheryl Sandberg COO and Board Director at Facebook) and the Global Entrepreneurship Week. Discounted tickets can be found at www.ewslondon.com by clicking on the main menu marked ‘special offer’ – an automatic discount will be applied. New members to the Empowering Women Network LinkedIn Group will receive an exceptional 40% discount on being accepted into the Group (this is a limited offer).
For personal coaching go to www.coach.lenabenjamin.com