Those of you who know me well know I am a woman of my word. I pride myself on it. I am reliable and consistent, and I try to have none of that “say-do gap”. You know the gap that appears when someone says something, then does the opposite? Yeah, that one. I hate that.
So, we had been in lockdown for a few weeks, and I had to move all my work online. This included “Lunch with the Queen”, which was slightly strange, as there was no physical lunch! Instead of simply cancelling the event, I decided to do a Zoom BYO and not charge for it, because #connection. We had a great time, and I turned my mind to the next month.
I wondered out loud (always dangerous!) what would happen if I could get 100 women to have a BYO lunch together via Zoom. What would it take to do that? Why would I want to do that?
How did you contribute during lockdown?
Early on, when COVID-19 first hit, I was challenged by one of my awesome friends and colleagues. She asked me a very simple question: “Once all this is over, how do you want to be remembered for how you contributed as a leader in your field?”
I tried to shake it off. I really did, because the question blew my mind. Then I started thinking about the impact I could have, and “Lunch with the Queen – with a Twist!” was born.
Let’s take a step back …
When I started Lunch with the Queen, it was a way for me to connect with other women in business, and to help them connect with each other. I created this lunch at the back end of 2018. Serena (Serry) works my calendar in the background (she also happens to be my sister), and she jokingly put the event in my diary as “Lunch with the Queen” – a play on my surname. I couldn’t think of anything else as creative, so we went with that!
We started with 5 – 6 people each month in 2019, and it felt like really hard work. I had always wanted to keep the numbers low (10 maximum) to allow space for people to chat and create deep connections. In December 2019, I opened the last lunch up to 30 places. We filled them and had a wait list. So, in 2020, we changed venues to accommodate a larger group, and we increased the numbers to 15. These were booked out months in advance. There were always new faces, as well as old friends who continued to come along.
Ditching the venue entirely and hosting Lunch with the Queen online was a real challenge. Never had I run something as big as this on Zoom. Face to face, yes, but Zoom – totally different kettle of fish! But I am one for putting it out there and seeing what can happen.
A week out from the online event, it sold out (the event was free, but you know what I mean), all 100 places! So, I turned my focus to the logistics: how to make it meaningful, how to make it engaging (when everyone is Zoomed out), who to place where (breakout rooms are totally cool in Zoom) … the list went on.
Was I mad?
This question kept beating me around the head. I’m a risk taker – always have been, always will be. I learn by doing, jumping in, making mistakes and growing. I’m a go-getter, giving it a crack, all the time.
And I’m happy to say that the virtual Lunch with the Queen was a resounding success! Everyone had a fabulous time, and real connections were made. Despite some uncertainty and learning on the go, I’m thrilled with how the event turned out.
Maybe I am mad, maybe I’m not, but here’s what I do know: if you want something badly enough, visualise it and go for it. You never know if you don’t give it a go. Don’t wait for the perfect set of circumstances, or a new week or a new month. If you want it, start working towards it straight away.
Is there something you really want to do that you’re holding off?
I’m Emma, and I’m a business and executive coach who believes wholeheartedly in the potential of women. My coaching philosophy is simple- taking action leads to results- and I love working with women in business and in corporate roles to take their passion and drive and transform their professional and personal lives.
Be enthusiastic, optimistic and energetic, every day.