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SI Canterbury held their second International Women’s Day Dinner on Wednesday March 8th. International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity reminding us that each of us – men and women joining forces – can collectively help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.

SI Canterbury President Yvonne with SISEE Region President Carol

SI Canterbury President Yvonne with SISEE Region President Carol



The dinner was once again hosted by Howfield Manor Hotel, Canterbury. It was attended by 50 guests, including Soroptimist International South East England Region President Carol Infanti and Federation Councillors Susie Forbes and Angela Edwards.

During the evening, guests enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and were entertained by the Maridadi Singers and Drummers, a local community choir and drum group.

This was followed by a delicious three course meal and an inspiring after dinner speech by Dame Heather Rabbatts.




The Maridadi Singers and Drummers proved a huge success, entertaining guests with lively drumming and singing which, this year, even inspired some of our guests to join them and dance.


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Heather RabbattsAfter we had enjoyed our sumptuous dinner and some lively conversation, we were thrilled to welcome Heather Rabbatts (DBE) who spoke to us about her inspiring life and career.

Heather’s biography ranges across law, Government, sport and media. This is particularly impressive for someone who was written off at school, leaving with no qualifications and the advice that she would not amount to much ringing in her ears.

Following a return to formal education she began her career as a Barrister, became a government advisor, a senior executive in public services and the youngest CEO in the country.


During this time she began an on-screen media career as a social commentator before moving behind the scenes, serving as a Governor of the BBC followed by an appointment as senior executive at Channel 4.

Heather has worked in private equity and public markets, including the restructuring of Millwall Football Club, and as Chairman in a publicly-listed media production and distribution company. She is currently Managing Director of Cove Pictures and a non-executive board member for Arts Alliance. She has a portfolio of non-executive roles including the Royal Opera House and the Board of the FA where she is the only woman board member.

HR talking


During her talk, Heather successfully demonstrated the International Women’s Day theme for 2017: ‘Be Bold For Change, and take ground-breaking action that truly drives the greatest change for women’.

She was an excellent and inspiring speaker and was enthusiastically received by our members and guests.




Meru Board


In addition to celebrating International Women’s Day, we were delighted to raise £400 for the Meru Women’s Garden Project in Kenya, a project supported by SI Canterbury and SIGBI.

We would like to thank the staff of Howfield Manor Hotel for their help and assistance in organising and preparing for this event, NOT JUST BALLOONS for their kind donation of balloons for decoration, the Maridadi Singers and Drummers for entertaining us and Dame Heather Rabbatts for giving up her time to inspire us with her after dinner speech.