Category Archives: News

Congratulations to us!

Winner Best Networking Group - FSB Bedfordshire Business Awards 2016For the fourth consecutive year, Bedfordshire Business Women have been crowned FSB Bedfordshire’s Networking Group of the Year! Thank you!

We believe it is because we are so much more than just a networking group, and that our values and ethos are simple: we try to offer support, meetings and other services that give women in business so much more for their money. We will always be a not for profit organisation and we make sure to reinvest any surplus funds back into the group by adjusting our membership and meeting fees wherever possible, as soon as possible, so that current members benefit.

And we continue to ask for new ideas to make our meetings even better. In the next few months we will make sure we act on the feedback from our current survey, and of course we will continue to raise funds for our charity of the year: FACES.

The BBW legacy is one that each President in turn makes sure to continue, and is remembered through our annual awards, our meetings and our involvement in the wider community.

This award really is a testament to all members, past and present, who have contributed to BBW’s continued success.  So thank you all!


Paula Muller (Nee Ockenden)

President 2010-2011

Paula Muller (nee Ockenden)We are sorry to announce that one of our past members and past president sadly passed away on 17th March, aged 60 years. Through her work at Woburn Estates, Paula will be remembered for her strength of character and passion for Bedfordshire Business Women and her ceaseless charity fundraising.

She will be sorely missed.


Donations may be given by either going to Paula’s JustGiving page or by sending a cheque made payable to Dogs Trust to:

South Downs Funeral Service
13 The Square
PO17 5JG
Tel: 01329 833920

Awards: equals recognition: equals growth

If you have been wondering whether to invest the time in filling in an awards application form then here are 5 very good reasons to get straight to it:

  1. It is a great way to reflect on how much you have achieved. Compiling evidence to fill in the application form is a great opportunity to review what has and hasn’t happened over the past few months, and to see if things have worked out to plan or taken a totally different path without you realising. We are always too busy to take time out of the business; spending half a day on an awards application is the perfect excuse to do just that and to gain some clarity on performance to date.
  2. You can get free publicity from the organisers. Most awards organisers will ask for your social media information – they will include your business in their social media schedule. You can also do the same and maximise on the free marketing.
  3. It is a great talking point. If you go to networking events, then this is something to talk about and helps fill those 60 seconds. Even if you don’t win, you can build up the excitement at meetings, which encourages others to speak to you too. People will also perceive you as being good at what you do – why else would you enter awards if you weren’t!
  4. People like to be associated with others who are successful. It is often said that success breed’s success and we would probably agree that we would prefer to be surrounded by successful people in order to try and catch the mood and luck! Association is powerful and relationships are key to our success.
  5. It will build your confidence. If nothing else, you will feel better in your own abilities by looking at what you have done, learnt and achieved. You will grow in confidence just by completing the process and if you get to the finals this will only increase.

As an award winner, I have been really grateful for the opportunity to express my passions, ethics and dreams and to share with others just what my business is about. I would encourage everyone to consider entering awards if they can, not only for the 5 reasons above, but to ensure you and your business gain the recognition you deserve.

By Jennie Bayliss, award winning owner of Office Wings and Bedfordshire BusinessWomen President

Nominations are now open for the Bedfordshire BusinessWomen Awards 2016 – complete an online nomination TODAY!

Bedfordshire BusinessWomen crowned Best Networking Group

FSB Bedfordshire Business Awards 2015 Winners logoIt was another successful night of recognition and success for Bedfordshire BusinessWomen, as we were crowned Best Networking Group at the FSB Bedfordshire Business Awards 2015. The evening was held at Centre Parcs Woburn Forest and had all the glitz and glamour of any Hollywood awards ceremony. It was a fantastic showcase of business talent from across the county with several members amongst the finalists, including Emma Garrett from The Kiosk in the Park and Philomena Watton of Watton Recruitment Ltd.

Bedfordshire BusinessWomen are crowned Best Networking Group

Bedfordshire BusinessWomen are crowned Best Networking Group at the FSB Bedfordshire Business Awards 2015

Tamsin Bromley-Rahlke, BBW President expressed her thanks to all the members of the group, and added “BBW has been going strong for nearly 28 years. We are truly passionate about helping our members to be successful and to share in each other’s journeys along the way, and last night’s success is to be celebrated by every member, past and present, who has come along to a BBW event and helped to make it as successful as it is. Together, we really can help to make Bedfordshire a better place to be in business.”

Bedfordshire BusinessWomen: Running A Good Cause

Primrose Unit, BedfordIn November 2013, Bedfordshire BusinessWomen launched a running club. Initially the group only contained two members, but interest soon began to build and now a small group of ambitious runners has been formed. With an aim to get fit and more importantly, raise some money for The Primrose Unit Research and Education Fund, the Bedfordshire BusinessWomen running club has entered into a sponsored race!

With the help of networking member and newly appointed team coach, Kate Barnard, together with the NHS couch to 5k programme, the Bedfordshire BusinessWomen runners soon began to see improvements in their fitness and were all delighted to complete their first Parkrun in Bedford Park in January 2014. The ladies had reached their 5k goal and so Kate suggested they set themselves a new challenge and run a 10k sponsorship race.  Whilst feelings were a bit mixed, true to form all of the team stepped up and agreed to take on the 10k challenge.

BBW Running Club

Gill Lake, Emma Garrett & Maureen Hallett

Training increased with the group meeting up once a week for their normal training session as well as additional workouts and speed training thrown in for good measure. The running club team have been so dedicated in reaching their goal that training hasn’t stopped; even whilst on holiday with treadmill running in the Canaries, beach running in Jersey and rainy hill running in Scotland keeping them, quite literally, on their toes!

On the 28th of September 2014 Bedfordshire BusinessWomen running club members Gill “Hill Killer” Lake, Maureen “No Brakes” Hallett and Emma “The Hare” Garrett ran a sponsored 10k race around Draycote Water Reservoir in the Run for Rotary Race.

BBW Running Club at the end of the Draycote 10km

Gill Lake, Maureen Hallett, Kate Barnard & Emma Garrett at the end of the Draycote Water 10km.

The course itself is very challenging. Situated in the Warwickshire countryside the Draycote Water Reservoir is made up of hills and exposed, windy straights, and it was the furthest the club had run. Not only that, but on the 5th of October, Emma Garrett is also planning to take part in a Sprint Triathlon (400m swim, 15 miles cycle, 5km run) for the charity.

The dedication of these ladies to raise money for the Bedford Hospital Primrose Unit Research and Education Fund has been outstanding and they are looking for support and sponsorship for this worthy cause. They all have their own very personal reasons for supporting this particular unit.  The Bedford Hospital Primrose Unit opened in 2003 providing high quality cancer care treatment and support services for a range of patients at different stages of their illness. The unit also boasts a highly skilled research team, whose work has received international acclaim.

Sponsorship for the hard work and dedication that the Bedfordshire BusinessWomen running club have put in over the past year would be gratefully received. Visit the Justgiving site for more information.