Hela Wozniak-Kay: Co-Director of Sister Snog
Supporters of Women in Law Awards 2020

Can you summarise top key messages that came out of your last Table of Twelve debate and discussion?

Table of Twelve is an initiative created, managed and facilitated by Hela. It's a monthly debate, discussion and brainstorm, over a two course dinner held in central London, for #forwardthinking women-in-law & women who provide services to the sector.

After the January launch, February’s guests were sent a questionnaire, which was inspired by the key areas of discussion from the previous month. The purpose of the questionnaire was to:

• Give everyone a platform
• Ensure all voices are heard
• Allow everyone to pin-point their pain-point
• Discuss challenges within

At Table of Twelve there’s a degree of peer-to-peer mentoring combined with like-mind-masterminding. This means the collective casts a fresh pair of eyes over the pain-points and makes suggestions about short, medium and long term solutions-&-strategies to the challenges.

Here’s a link to the questionnaire: https://bit.ly/2HEMzll

Top key messages:

57%: ENCOURAGE mentoring between women within law firms, so seasoned and experienced Partners can share their wisdom and experience with junior associates on the road to Partnership

45%: SALUTE the increasing trend of female lawyers taking the leap to become independent, founding their own firms and crafting new game rules

45%: APPLAUD the importance of creating cultures and building brands that attract next the generation Partners

33%: APPRECIATE the many benefits offered by entering awards such as the Women in Law Awards 2020

33 %: CLOSE the gender gap within law firms by focusing on gender integration & collaboration

Describe an experience when someone has held you back - what should they have done differently?

I have been empire building since 1999 which is when I jumped from the world of employment to the world of self employment. Today I’m an entrepreneur. Then many thought I’d lost my marbles. Since making the leap, the only thing that has held me back over the past two decades has been inexperience running a business and the many lessons I’ve had to learn at School of Hard Knocks.

Before then I worked in the Agency world (which I fell into quite by accident having failed Civil and Criminal Procedure in the Bar Finals - repeatedly. I did eventually see the light and passed two years after first sitting the paper).

I spent just under 3 years working for one of the leading Agencies in London. I never felt the gender disparity with my peers or immediate managers. However, there was one individual who contributed to to my decision to leave. On the one hand he definitely recognised I was not a mainstream tow-the-line kind of employee but on the other hand did nothing to encourage me to flourish. I always felt very uncomfortable going into his office. Often tongue tied. He had piercing eyes that I felt could look into my soul. And he chewed gum (that could be my memory playing tricks). Had he actually taken the time to find out what made me tick, asked me what my goals and aspirations were and given me a side project to work on, I would have still left to run my own business eventually. But remembered him as a far sighted manager rather than someone who reminds me of original The Master in Dr Who played by Roger Delgado.

Name a public or professional figure you believe is making a major contribution to the diversity and inclusion agenda

Marathon Man. Stand-up comedic. Actor. Writer. Transgender hero. Political activist. Eddy Izzard.

“I am Labour and I’ll always fight for us,” he said. “I am a proud British European, absolutely committed to Labour values. I believe in equality, fairness, social justice and compassion.” Source : Rowena Mason The Guardian 23.10.17

Why is supporting The Women in Law Awards important to you?

Who doesn't relish the buzz of being nominated for an award, going home with a gong or making it into a Hall of Fame full of peers?

Winning awards matters. They're so much more than shiny statuettes. They're accolades that acknowledge sweat equity, energy, passion and perseverance. They're a recognition of ability, a boost to credibility and result in increased visibility. Awards are a benchmark of success and a hallmark of excellence.

Last year the winning mindset took hold at Sister Snog with a flurry of members making it into a Hit Parade and attending award ceremonies as Judges, Finalists & Winners. Including Sister Snog who won Best Networker at the Best Business Women Awards and were selected as one of the 100 trail-blazing small businesses in the official count-down to Small Business Saturday, which took place across the UK on 7 December 2019.

Sister Snog has declared 2020 as the Year of the Gong. As well as continuing to encourage and motivate members to enter awards our plan was to actively support one or two awards as supporters or sponsors.

If Sister Snog were a tree - it would be a silver birch. A natural pioneer species that despite its graceful appearance, is one of Britain’s hardiest trees.

And there’s a real pioneering spirit behind the Women in Law Awards 2020. From the way the categories have been conceived to the genuine desire to champion and recognise those who are actively, practically and creatively crusading to address the many faces of diversity within the sector.

What’s next on the horizon for Sister Snog?

The Yin & Yang of Sister Snog, Annie Brooks & Hela Wozniak-Kay, have been connecting remarkable women in business for almost two decades. Time to take all the lessons learnt at The School of Hard Knocks and turn it into a best seller called Wish I had a Sister.

The deadline for entries is at 5pm on Friday 28 February 2020.


Taken by Yolande De Vries

Visit www.yolandedevries.photography for more information