Spotlight: Anya17 January 22nd 2018

When it premièred on 7th March 2012 in Liverpool, this incredible arts project was a unique, contemporary and highly topical new opera: Anya17. It has since gone on to amazing things.

Composed by ‘British Composer Award’ Winner Adam Gorb to a libretto written by Ben Kaye, Anya17 aims to raise awareness of the secret world of sex trafficking, where up to 800,000 young women and children are trafficked into the EU every year.

Anya17 exposes the intertwined lives of those sold into sexual slavery as they fight to survive.

Anya17 - A unique opera about human trafficking

The opera had its première in Liverpool on 7th March followed by a performance at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Why I support Anya17

I first heard about Anya17 when I was developing this charity comms and careers blog with designer Anna Celeste Watson. Anna had just started to talk to Ben Kaye about a website for Anya17 and I was shocked to hear about the living hell that trafficked women and children face every day.

NGO’s estimate that there is likely to be a sex trafficking victim forcibly working in a house or flat just 20 minutes’ drive from your own doorstep, no matter where you live in the UK. Just think about that for a moment. It’s a horrifying thought isn’t it, and one that should make us all want to stand up and do something to end this modern day slavery.

I helped with online promotions and recruiting the project’s two volunteer digital marketing managers. But there’s much more we can all do to get involved. And here’s why we should come together to fight this despicable trade.

Posted in: Charity Communications

Snow: Hot tips to keep working when the snow falls January 21st 2018

It looks like winter is about to hit, so what can you do to keep on top of things when the snow falls – and the trains, roads and buses grind to a halt? Thanks to social media and mobile technology, there’s no reason why you can’t keep on keeping on! Here’s my take on what you can do if you are stuck at home when the inclement weather arrives.

Be a good citizen

Use Facebook, Twitter and IM’s to let local friends and colleagues know the state of play in your area. It amazes me how the weather can be so different in the next village. Last year, our street was knee deep in snow, but the town centre was hardly affected! You might be able to get to the office after all….

Don’t cancel meetings – do them online

If you’re stuck at home on a day when you’ve scheduled back to back meetings, why not grab that hot chocolate and do them online? Sure, it’s not the same as being face to face, but I find that most people who have access to Skype or similar are more than happy to have an online meeting. This year, I’ve been working internationally with clients and partners, and video calls have been absolutely essential to this work.

Launch a winter-themed competition

Why not run a ‘snow-themed’ competition to drive traffic to your website or blog? Let your imagination run wild, and make the competition prize worth winning too! Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are great resources for this kind of activity.

Do ‘the thing’ that you’ve been putting off!

For me ‘the thing’ I usually put off is updating my contact lists, which seems to grow every day because I’m an avid fan of networking. So that’s one of the activities I’ll be sorting out if the snow falls. It always feels great when you finally get round to doing something you’ve been putting off, and it’s never quite as bad as you imagined!

Look to the future – it’s only just begun!

Now 2018 is here, take time to plan for the coming months. Use your enforced time at home to plan where you’re going to focus your efforts and resources. Do you want to more of the same, or something different? You may not come to any firm conclusions today, but once you get started, who knows where your thoughts might take you.

And of course, if the snow does fall where you are, go throw some snowballs!

What are your hot tips for keeping business moving when you’re stuck at home? Please share in the comments section.

Posted in: Career Advice, Cartoon, Top Tips | Tags: , ,

More Al Gore & less PowerPoint January 20th 2018

A few years ago, I was invited to attend the annual M&S Plan A conference where leading suppliers and NGO’s came together to learn from the CEO and senior managers about M&S and their commitment to sustainable and transparent business. M&S is a leading ethical retailer whose own label cosmetics, personal care and household products are certified by Cruelty Free International’s ‘Leaping Bunny’ programme as genuinely not tested on animals.

But the highlight was listening to the keynote speaker, US Former Vice President Al Gore, extolling the virtues of ethical and sustainable business.


He spoke in glowing terms about M&S and their innovative approach to such issues as animal welfare, fairtrade and environmental stewardship, but it was when he began to speak about climate change that he dramatically lit up the room with his knowledge, passion and personal commitment to making positive change.

The experience served to remind me that all the PowerPoint presentations in the world cannot hold a candle to a speaker who is truly passionate about his or her issue – and who has a burning and ever-present mission to make other people hear and understand their message.

Posted in: Charity Communications, Ethical Champions | Tags: , , ,

Digital charity comms: twitter tips November 29th 2017

Charities are used to making the most out of their limited resources, which includes finding fast, creative and engaging ways to communicate with donors, supporters and campaigners.

If you’re new to twitter, here’s another chance to read my popular, quick guide –  ’27 ways to get more out of twitter’ with some tips to help get you started!

Posted in: Charity Communications, Digital Marketing, Social Media, Top Tips | Tags: , ,

Vintage dresses are ‘fur free’ at Frock & Stole Vintage February 1st 2017

You will have seen from my blog that I have always worked with ethical companies and non-profits, and that includes cruelty free fashion and beauty companies (I managed the Leaping Bunny certification programme for non-animal tested beauty products).  So it will come as no surprise that when I decided to set up a vintage dress online shop that it would have to be fur free!

Frock & Stole Vintage

Fur free vintage

Some say wearing fur should be a personal ‘choice’, however, I will never be able to agree with this view point. If you have ever seen a live rabbit screaming in pain as the fur is ripped from its back, you might change your mind (if you haven’t already). Fur is purely about vanity and I cannot see why anyone should have the ‘choice’ to inflict such horror on a living creature for any reason, let alone for the sake of a fur trim. There are in my opinion some choices that we should not be allowed to make because the impact and consequences are just too barbaric to countenance. If I came into your house and did the same thing to your cat or dog, I would be arrested for animal cruelty, so how can this being done on an industrial scale ever be justified? It cannot.

If you still think fur farming really ‘can’t be that terrible’, then I suggest you take a look at some of the many videos on the web and educate yourself. Some say that the fur farming industry bodies prevent terrible things from happening, but sadly they are wrong. Having a ‘bigger cage’ to live in before you are ripped to shreds really isn’t a step forward for animal protection, nor in my view is it a step forward for us as human beings.

Fur Free Retailer Program

Frock & Stole Vintage – Certified by the Fur Free Retailer Program

So, if you like your vintage ‘fur free’, please do take a look at which is also the first online vintage dress boutique to be certified by the Born Free USA Fur Free Retailer Program.

Posted in: Personal Branding, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,