Surrey’s leading ladies
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Surrey women mean business! Here, we turn the spotlight on some of our county’s most successful – and discover what it is that makes them tick
We asked local businesswomen the following questions:
1 What is the secret of your success?
2 How do you achieve a work/life balance?
3 Who inspires you most, either in work or at home?
Shoba Aziz - Co-owner, RaysIndian and Rays Street Food, Woking Contacts
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An award-winning Indian restaurant in Woking, RaysIndian has recently expanded its offering with the opening of Rays Street Food in Market Walk.
1 Since the launch of RaysIndian, my husband Ray and I have worked hard to create a successful business together. I concentrate mainly on the marketing and creating a successful business profile. I am a hard-working city solicitor advocate by day and a successful restaurant manager by night, and have also appeared on a number of different TV shows, including Come Dine With Me and A Place in the Sun.
2 I have recently given birth to a baby boy and am now a stay-at-home mum. I have worked all my life as a barrister, solicitor advocate and restaurateur, so now the time has come to take a back seat and concentrate on motherhood. As my husband and I own RaysIndian and Rays Street Food, I am lucky to have the flexibility to work the hours I can so I am able to look after my little one. There has to be a balance between work and life, otherwise you can never enjoy the little pleasures.
3 My husband has always inspired me to become a strong, successful businesswoman and mother. I started in the restaurant business in 2013 when we opened RaysIndian. His dedication and hard work has made the restaurant the success that it is today, and I am happy and glad to be a part of it and working alongside him.
Chantal Baker - Co-founder, Champ Consultants Ltd, Caterham
• Contacts: 01883 349300 / champconsultants.co.uk
An independent firm of highly-experienced, qualified accountants and tax advisers, Champ Consultants provide a fully comprehensive range of accountancy and tax services.
1 I love doing what I do. I enjoy helping others solve their problem and especially helping them reduce their tax liability. I am glad so many new businesses are starting up and others are growing; it gives me great satisfaction knowing I can help them achieve their goals.
2 I make sure that I take as much of the school holidays off as I can and spend that quality time with my boys. I let them get involved in all the outside sport and drama and love seeing them perform and achieve their goals. Having three boys certainly keeps me busy!
3 There is no one person in particular but a number of people who have crossed my path. I admire people who never give up and are able follow the “never say never” rule.
Madeline Bard - Director, Source, Redhill
• Contacts: 0800 8600 324 / sourceplc.com
An award-winning provider of computer colocation and high-end networking services, Source pride themselves on their exemplary service.
1 I always try to remain positive and make a difference in whatever I am doing – sometimes tricky with the four children and three dogs, three cats and four ducks! Being happy within yourself is the magic ingredient for me, together with keeping as fit as possible at the local gym. I am a stickler for detail and like to do things properly (even if it drives my husband mad!)
2 With difficulty! My husband and I set up Source in 2010 and whilst we have burnt the candle at both ends many times over, we wanted to be at home for our children as often as possible. Running our own business allows us to share the work/life responsibilities. I am lucky enough to have immense support from my husband, Fenton, who is my best friend also (most of the time!).
3 Inspiration comes from many people, too many to list, but on a daily basis I guess it’s my children and the spinning instructors – where they get their energy from is a mystery!
Jane Brown - Co-owner, Fryer & Brown Auctioneers Limited, Cobham
• Contacts: 01932 865026 / 07966 259444
Fryer & Brown was established in 2014 by Justin Fryer, Lin Fan and Jane Brown. Though Fryer & Brown is Surrey’s newest auction house, together the staff bring over 50 years of experience with them.
1 Extensive knowledge – I started my career at Sotheby’s London and went on to run auctions for both Phillips and Bonhams. I am a specialist of European ceramics but was trained in all disciplines, including paintings, silver, Chinese and Japanese porcelain and works of art. One can never know everything but I also have a wide number of contacts who can assist when I am stumped!
2 Antiques and fine art are part of my life at all levels. I live with and use my collection every day. If one enjoys what one does for a living, is it really considered work?!
3 Strong and stylish women – the late Diana Vreeland, Melanie Clore of Sotheby’s and Letitia Roberts, doyenne of antique porcelain.
Paula Burgess - Headmistress, Bramley School & Nursery, Walton-on-the-Hill
• Contacts: 01737 812004 / bramleyschool.co.uk
Bramley is a leading independent day school, for girls aged from three to 11 years old, that is located in the beautiful village of Walton-on-the-Hill.
1 To create a ‘big picture’ and work towards delivering the school’s aims and objectives. This involves hard work and commitment, with focus and resilience, shared by all members of my team.
2 I have two great passions – education and dance. School is all-consuming but I do always set aside two hours every week so that I can attend my dance class; this is sacrosanct. Although a relatively short time, it’s about quality not quantity!
3 My family – my parents, who gave me a sense of adventure to travel the world and seek the passions in my life, and also my daughters, whose ongoing achievements continue to make me immensely proud.
Carole Cory - Owner, Parties To Go, Wimbledon
• Contacts: 0208 947 5337 / partiestogo.co.uk
Parties to Go is an events and catering company for everything from weddings to intimate dinners, corporate events to children’s parties. They provide ‘the food, drink and the fun’!
1 A personalised and friendly service. I make sure I see every customer as soon as possible and take into account that every event is unique and therefore deserves a different approach. We want people to have an amazing experience.
2 With difficulty! The nature of the business means unsociable working hours, so work and life outside work does seem to role in to one. However, I always make sure we have family time together.
3 My family, who are wonderful, and all my staff who are so supportive and enthusiastic about everything they do.
Syvia Crimi - Co-owner, The Green Rooms of Godstone, Godstone
• Contacts: 01883 740407 / greenroomsofgodstone.co.uk
The Green Rooms of Godstone is open every day for breakfast, brunch, lunch – and a “cheeky cakey munch”! They also cater for hen do’s, baby showers and afternoon teas.
1 Hard work, determination and being stubborn! I had no intention of running a tea room; it all evolved very organically and I couldn’t be happier with the way The Green Rooms of Godstone has flourished. I genuinely love what I do and my aim is to put a smile on people’s faces when they visit. The world is tough out there, so I wanted to create a place where people feel happy and can relax, eat and chat away to their heart’s content. For me, it’s about so much more than just food; it’s about giving people an experience, and I’d like to think I do that, as we have got a lovely, loyal fan base here at The Green Rooms and I treat everyone as if they are a friend.
2 The hardest thing to get right is the work/life balance. Having three children and a home to run as well as a business isn’t easy. The first year was particularly tough, but like everyone else I face each challenge as it’s thrown at me – with a smile on my face and a passion inside me.
3 I’m inspired by what Jeremy (my partner) and I have achieved here. Owning a business and working with your partner can test the best of relationships and I’m delighted to say that together we have got through everything (so far!) by being adaptable, passionate about what we do and, more importantly, by being genuine and true to ourselves.
Rae Denman - Owner, Rae Denman, Reigate
• Contacts: 07967 758714 / raedenman.co.uk
Offering a bespoke service, Rae Denman provides cosmetic and medical make-up and camouflage services for face and body, including daily and permanent solutions.
1 Constantly reading, learning and practising new ways to create symmetry, definition and structure of facial features. Giving 100 per cent to each client, and caring for each individual person I treat. Never giving up regardless of the years it takes and the hardships you face.
2 This is always in motion and often there has to be sacrifices across each area. We don’t have to have it, or do it, all at once – there is time.
3 I am lucky enough to receive inspiration from many people – ranging from my nan to my patients via my NHS work, and from my wonderful clients at The Harley Street Skin Clinic (Reigate) to The Katie Piper Foundation, all of whom have experienced their own trauma and still manage to get up each day, put one foot in front of the other and a smile on their face.
Bianca Effemey - Chief executive, Momentum children’s charity, Kingston
• Contacts: 0208 974 5931 / moment-um.org
Momentum is a local charity supporting children with cancer and life-limiting conditions across South-West London and Surrey.
1 The people who make Momentum unique – the families we support, our committed volunteers who help us in so many different ways, the incredible individuals in the community and local companies who raise vital funds, and my committed staff team. All these factors contribute to Momentum’s success.
2 To be honest, I am still trying! I have had to learn to delegate. And I have taken inspiration from those who do our Momentum sports events to raise money, and now go cycling and to the gym regularly!
3 Our families. Especially the children undergoing treatment. Their strength and resilience never ceases to amaze me. I learn so much from them.
Mary Georgiou - Founder, Designer Touches Ltd, Epsom
• Contacts: 01372 270211 / designertouches.co.uk
A top interior design studio based in Epsom, Designer Touches’ projects range from luxury Surrey mansions to mega-yachts owned by the rich and famous.
1 The secret to my success is that I love what I do. I don’t see my career as a job; it is a lifestyle. I enjoy constantly finding out about what is new within the market, as well as listening and pulling inspiration from all sources, both inside and outside of our industry.
2 I think to be successful, you have to have faith in the people around you; both your colleagues at work and also your family. I am juggling so many balls all at once that, without their support and help, it would be extremely difficult to keep them all in the air.
3 It has to be my dad; he has a brilliant work ethic and an entrepreneurial mind. From a young age, I have watched him grow a successful textile factory and build his clientele to include some of the world’s most renowned fashion designers. He has guided and supported me throughout my career and is a true inspiration to me.
Melanie Hurley - Owner, Rocket Catering, Great Bookham
• Contacts: 01372 800626 / rocketcatering.co.uk
A family-run boutique catering company, Rocket is made up of a team of creative and driven individuals who love what they do.
1 I think it’s all about listening to what the client wants. Also, my USP is that I have 15 years’ event management background, so I am able to ‘live the event’ in my head before it happens. The clients like this; they feel comfortable knowing everything is going to run smoothly. I love being able to say to them, so, all you need to do is sort out what you are going to wear – leave the rest to us! I also have a lovely team – I call them my Rocket Food Angels. Always happy to muck in, always smiling, and never watch that clock!
2 I am lucky because I have my lovely family close by who are always on hand to help me with my son (aged 11). I also think it is super-important to have ‘mummy time’, so I always try and fit that in at least once a week. For years, on Tuesday nights, we always have our ‘date night’, which is something I always look forward to! I also try really hard to fit in exercise at least a couple of times a week. Exercise releases those natural endorphins and gives me a time to think, create and conjure up my next menu!
3 The one person who inspires me enormously is Yotam Ottolenghi – a fabulous chef from Jerusalem. He has so much enthusiasm for fresh ingredients and, like him, I just love to create, fresh colourful food that explodes with flavour in your mouth.
Jo Judge - Head of residential development sales, Savills, Guildford
• Contacts: 01483 796810 / savills.com
Part of the national group Savills, this section works closely with developers to sell new-build houses and apartments, ranging from £150,000 to £4,000,000, in Surrey.
1 To have no secrets! Just sheer hard work and determination; what you see is what you get. Whatever it is you decide to do, just do it to the best of your ability and make sure you enjoy it. When I wake up in the morning, I like to go for a run so I can focus on what I need to do in the day ahead; often the list is endless, so I pick my top five priorities that are achievable. They will be the first things I do when I walk through the door at the office. Mission accomplished.
2 When I find it, I will bottle it and sell it! I would love to say the work phone and laptop are hidden away after a certain time in the evening but you can never escape when you have an iPhone!
3 There are many people who inspire me, both at work and within my social circle, but I would have to say two people: my father and Sir David Attenborough. Sir David for his enthusiasm and therapeutic tones and my father for also being in his 80s and continuing to work hard, always caring for others and having a positive outlook on everything.
Sarah Lambert - Matrimonial solicitor, Bowles & Co, Epsom
• Contacts: 01372 725241 / bowles-solicitors.co.uk
Offering a wide range of specialist legal services, Bowles & Co works with commercial and private clients across the south-east.
1 At Bowles & Co, we are fortunate to have a great team. We all work very hard and take pride in what we do. The majority of our clients come to us on recommendation. This is a major reason for our continued success.
2 With difficulty, if I’m honest! I do keep the weekends for family and friends. I enjoy my sport too. I love watching my son play rugby and I try to watch Harlequins from time to time. Last year, I also had a fantastic weekend in Valencia watching the MotoGP.
3 My family. They are a huge support.
Gina McAdam - Owner, Gina McAdam, Godalming
• Contacts: 07866 847523 / ginamcadam.com
A rising bespoke head-wear designer, Gina McAdam is known locally as ‘The Feather Lady’ for her full-feathered creations in beautiful colours.
1 Perseverance. Get yourself out there. It takes time for your audience to find your product, so you need to be prepared to keep trying, sometimes in the face of adversity. Some things are pure chance, so allow yourself to believe in magic just a bit; it helps!
2 I don’t think I do… but lists, lots of lists, definitely help!
3 Women who have a strong personal sense of style and are not afraid to show it always inspire me. It could be somebody I see on the street or greats, such as Grace Jones and Coco Chanel, and, of course, my mum.
Maria McLeary - Sales manager, Porsche Centre Guildford, Guildford
• Contacts: 01483 408800 / porscheguildford.co.uk
Porsche Centre Guildford is one of 36 official franchised Porsche sales, service and repair centres.
1 A day full of opportunities is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Opportunities are like sunrises: if you wait too long, you miss them. Be passionate. You want to make a difference? People can hear that in your voice; see it in the way you move. And guess what? Passion is contagious. Learn from other people’s mistakes; you don’t have enough time in life to make them all yourself.
2 Although I put 100 per cent effort into my working day, I also believe you should do the same with your downtime. Take time out to enjoy your friends and family.
3 Ordinary people doing extraordinary things inspire me every day. Social media is very important to me, both at home and work. I work for a fantastic company that build the best cars in the world; who wouldn’t want to share that?
Danielle Moss - Director, HM Accounting Solutions Ltd, Chertsey and Addlestone
• Contacts: 07490 236040
HM Accounting Solutions Ltd offers accountancy, payroll, VAT and tax return services.
1 Joining the family accounting firm over 12 years ago gave me the client base and much-needed experience in order to set up my own sister company to run alongside it once my uncle (the founder) retired.
2 I predominantly work from home, which can be both good and bad, but mostly all good though. When I am busy, I can work weekends and evenings to get things done. Being self-employed means I never have to miss out on anything as I can work around things to make a good work/life balance – unless it’s January; then I am chained to the desk because of the tax deadline!
3 My family and partner Daniel are very hard workers and have all been successful in their chosen careers so they inspire me every day. I also get inspired by successful women in their chosen career and those women who manage to juggle children and running a home whilst working, which is something I hope to be trying to do myself in the near future.
Charlotte Salaman - Co-owner, The Canbury Arms and The Wych Elm, Kingston
The Canbury Arms and The Wych Elm are two independently-owned, award-winning pubs with great food and drink. They are found tucked away in quiet north Kingston, between the Thames and Richmond Park.
1 Michael (my husband and co-owner) and I complement each other – his successful hospitality career, my extensive graphic design and branding background. This, coupled with a great team of experts and dedicated staff, means that I’m essentially loving the job.
2 Sometimes it’s tricky, of course, but I believe it relies on good communication, understanding, commitment and consideration to both work and home.
3 My mum and Michael. Mum, as finding herself as a single parent with two young children worked hard, lived frugally and gave my sister and me a fantastic attitude towards the rich tapestry of life and work! Michael, as he is a man of integrity and a true professional.
Nyms Sithole - Manager, Cedar Court Care Home, Cranleigh
• Contacts: 01483 275191 / cedarcourtcarehome.co.uk
A residential, nursing and dementia care home in Cranleigh, Cedar Court offers a homely, welcoming and caring environment for their residents.
1 Learning from the many talented people I have worked with over the last 25 years and always treating people with respect and kindness.
2 As manager of a care home for the elderly, I always have to be available either in person or contactable by phone. I am passionate and committed to my job so it never feels like my private life is compromised. However, I can always rely on an excellent team of staff when I go on holiday so that I can completely switch off.
3 Every day, I am amazed by my residents and enjoy hearing their life stories. One of our residents, Lady Ann, particularly inspires me with her determination to live life to the full. Her enthusiasm for keeping in contact with the local community outside of the home is uplifting.
Lyndsey Ward - Partnership manager, Skinade, Richmond
• Contacts: 07702 490297 / skinade.com
Skinade is a collagen-based drink with all the right micronutrients to help promote younger, healthier-looking skin.
1 Listening, hard work and education. I’m always updating my skills. If someone says I can’t do something, I show them on paper I can. Never stop evolving as life’s too short – and always be kind.
2 Aargh, the “balance” question! No such thing! How can you balance work, family, lifestyle and education? You can’t. I find if you want to be successful, you make it look easy. My life is like a treadmill on full-speed, but you prioritise what’s important at that time.
3 The mum and dad to Harrison at the Cobham-based charity Harrison’s Fund. Harrison has muscular dystrophy and this family have blown my mind with the challenges they face, but also the awareness they have raised. They are making time to try to change the future of muscular dystrophy and anyone that helps fix the world inspires me.
Sandy Watt - Round Square coordinator and sixth form careers advisor, Box Hill School, Mickleham
• Contacts: 01372 373382 / boxhillschool.com
Box Hill School is a co-educational day and boarding school for students aged from 11 to 18 years and is a founder member of the Round Square association of schools.
1 A supportive husband and family who have always told me that I can do anything.
2 This is something that I struggle with, as I am not too good at it! I enjoy my work so much that I do tend to let it spill over into my home life, which is not always popular with my family.
3 My pupils! Their shared smiles and warm welcome first thing in the morning set me up for the day. I am privileged to work with enthusiastic, adventurous and creative young people. I have always believed that teenagers especially are the microcosm of society and if you are in their company you know exactly what is going on in the world (and how to use the latest technology!).