Dear Members and Friends,

It is the greatest pleasure for the Women of Strategy International to take the lead on this week’s newsletter. To celebrate International Women’s Day the entire Strategy International team, 60% of us women, will be coming together on Thursday, 8th March between 17:00 and 19:00.  We would love to see as many of you as possible for an informal, slightly impromptu, reception. If you will be able to join us, please drop Melina an e-mail so we will have an idea of numbers. All women, and men, will be warmly welcomed.

Meanwhile, a round-up of the week. 


Battling past the ‘Beast from the East’ more than 20 members attended this Wednesday’s lunch with Alex Chisholm, the hugely impressive Permanent Secretary at BEIS. Taken together with Greg Clarke’s visit last year, he offered a clear and very encouraging view how, despite the daunting width of BEIS’s remit, it is committed to methodical engagement and consultation. At a time when, elsewhere in the HMG and Business relationship, matters are, unfortunately, often too confrontational, it is clear that BEIS is completely committed to engagement with the experts in the key sectors that will define the UK’s creative, industrial and digital success in coming years. Doubtless not perfect but having the will is half the battle.

(For those under the age of 30 the photo is of a ‘phone box’; a static location from which one had to make phone calls using coins)


On Wednesday we were joined by Andrew Bacchus, Head of the Sports Economy at DIT, for a roundtable on opportunities for British business at the 2019 PanAmerican Games in Lima. With a whole raft of tenders coming up in the next few months for projects in sports infrastructure, overlay, and games delivery, Andrew was keen to emphasise how focused DIT are on using the Games to promote British trade in the region as widely as possible.


The other major event amidst the snow and ice was the very well attended event addressed by Her Excellency Mrs Louise de Sousa our Ambassador to Tunisia and His Excellency Nabil Ben Khedher, the Tunisian Ambassador to UK. The two ambassadors made a strong case for engagement around the commercial opportunities in Tunisia. With 47 projects in 7 different sectors due to be completed by 2020 and worth a total of £5bn it is clear Tunisia is open for business and the opportunities for UK Plc are vast.

Photo: Alexandra Barnes – Mission Leader, British Expertise International; HE Robin Ord Smith – British Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan; Minister Artem Novikov – Minister of Economy, Kyrgyzstan.

Photo: Alexandra Barnes – Mission Leader, British Expertise International; HE Robin Ord Smith – British Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan; Minister Artem Novikov – Minister of Economy, Kyrgyzstan.

Some 3000 miles away our colleague Alexandra Barnes led a UK trade delegation to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The country’s digital transformation strategy, ‘Taza Koom’ (Smart Nation) was a big theme throughout the visit – this is a big project that involves almost every sector of the economy, with capacity building and digital transformation being undertaken across the board. Kyrgyzstan’s broad and progressive reforms make it an attractive place for international companies and investors to do business, and British expertise has strong potential in supporting growth and progress there in the years to come. We look forward to reading Alexandra’s full mission report next week.


With best wishes from,
Tracey, Alexandra, Luisa, Sue, Melina, Margot, Nicola, Nadia, Amina, Farah, Frances, Stephanie.

Event highlights:

Thursday 15th March – D Group Breakfast
Surviving the Digital Age
Tom Fletcher, Author, The Naked Diplomat: Understanding Power and Politics in the Digital Age
Thursday 15th March – D Contemporary Private View
‘Crowded’ by Philip Williams
Wednesday 21st March – D Group Lunch
IoT disrupting the way industries are delivering their product & services age
Deborah Sherry is the Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of GE Digital in Europe,