Fiona Macdiarmid, Tanya Hine and Ann-Maree Morrison attended the world congress in Rome this week for FCEM, our International organisation. Also present were Louise Oliver, UK President, and Julia Marino, from BAWE UK. Five of us were there and for the first time in five years that the UK has been present and the first time with so many numbers. This was a great show of strength given Brexit negotiations and showed support for our wonderful new World President, Marie Christine Oghly of France. Marie Christine takes over for two years and may be in office for up to six years. The previous President, Laura Frati Gucci stepped down after six years in office.

Fiona, Tanya and Ann-Maree stayed at the Residenzia di Ripetta as the FCEM negotiated great special rates for delegates attending the conference. There were over 800 women in attendance from all over the world. All these women, like our members, own and run companies and employ staff. What a fantastic buzz! The congress included talks on female leadership and empowerment and on equality with speeches and business panels including:

  • Laura Frati Gucci – of the Gucci family
  • Marie Christine Oghly – new President FCEM
  • Gioia Ghezzi – President of Gruppo Ferrovie della Stato, Italy
  • Eva Duringer Cavalli – daughter of Roberto Cavalli and designer
  • Alkalifa Shaikha Hint Bint Salaman – DEO Rashid Investmetn, Member of the Royal Family, Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Luisa Todini – President of Todini Costruzioni Generali SPA, Italy
  • Alexandra Palli – Vice President of Athens Traders Association, Greece
  • Franco Turconi – Accenture MD
  • Sheika Hissa Al Sabah – Princess of Kuwait
  • Maria Teresa Brassiolo – Member of Advisory Board Transparency Italy
  • Leyla Kayat – Honorary President FCEM Tunisia
  • Teresa Meares – NAWBO President USA
  • Chiara Corazza – CEO Women Forum France
  • May Lu – Most influential women in Taiwan 2016 and FCEM Commissioner of Asia, Taiwan
  • Irene Natividad – President, Global Summit of Women, USA
  • Claudia Torlasco – President Aidda, Italy
  • Ana Maria Sanchez Sanchez – President Association Mexican Empresarias, Mexico
  • Regine Sixt – Senior Executive Vice President Sixt International Marketing and Honorary Consul General of Barbados in Germany

There were a number of events organised for the 3 days of conference. One day free except for Presidents meetings for each Country. The registration was held at the Ferrajoli Palace, Piazza Colonna 355. We then walked to the Opera with 3 Tenors at the Anglican Church for a great concert of opera tenors.

Day 2 was at the Palazzo Doria Pamphili and the Quirinale Palace. The Palazzo is one of the largest and most magnificent palaces in the center of Rome and home to the Galleria Doria Pamphili, an exquisite art collection of paintings and sculptures. Due to numbers we had to be split into groups of 35 for these tours! The Quirinale Palace was home to the Royal Family and is now home to the President of Rome. Interesting start with the tour being started off speaking Italian and then when the group questionned the guide we were told “The tour has been organised to be in Italian only”! A security guard stepped in to take the tour in English for everyone. What a star!

The conference was a great success. Scotland has even formed a WhatsApp conference group with the German delegation, some of who are hoping to make our next September meeting at Cromlix!

The highlight of the congress was the Gala Bal en Tete Dinner at the Brancaccio Palace. Head dress was compulsory though some did not bother to wear any. Scotland made one of the best shows with Fiona Settery of Icareknitwear having made these for Fiona and I with Thistles on and Morrison Ancient Tartan for my throw. Tanya wore a real Russian Kokoshnik. Very funny but a little awkward to wear during a disco at the end! Was a great event and the Scots drew a lot of photographic and networking attention as a result. Many thanks to Fiona. We definitely needed her artistic talents to achieve this.
So get ready for next year ladies as the 66th World Congress is to be in Moscow next November with a post Congress historic ball in Saint Petersburg where they plan to order in our old ball gowns for us from one of the women who runs a ball dress rental company. Save your money for a week of business networking as hoping to see more Scottish business women there.

Ann-Maree