In celebration of the C&C Search Flex Pledge Campaign and National Work Life Week, we are hosting an exclusive event with our most high-profile panel to date. The event is titled: ‘Let’s Flex!’

Our inspirational panel of leaders – hosted by Lucy Chamberlain, Founder of C&C Search – will share their stories around redefining traditional working patterns and how embracing flexible working can create a happier and healthier workforce.

We’re so excited to announce that Vanessa Vallely OBE, will be joining our panel for ‘Let’s Flex!’

Vanessa is one of the UK’s most well-networked women and has provided keynotes on a variety of career-related topics for over 500 companies worldwide. Vanessa is also one of the UK’s most prominent figures in gender equality and often provides guidance and consultancy to both government and corporate organisations who are seeking to attract, develop and retain their female talent. Vanessa was awarded her OBE in June 2018 for her services to women and the economy.

At the height of her successful 25-year career in the financial services, Vanessa launched the award-winning in 2008 as a vehicle to help women progress in their careers. now has over 120,000 members and provides resources/conferences/awards/jobs to women across the UK. Vanessa is also the founder of UK wide diversity forum Gender Networks. Gender Networks (formerly The Network of Networks) brings together diversity leaders from 85 cross-sector firms to share best practice on a quarterly basis.

Over the past ten years, she has been named Women in Banking & Finance’s Champion for Women, Financial News Top 100 Rising Star, The International Alliance for Women Top 100 Women globally & Brummells Top 30 London Entrepreneurs. In 2015 Vanessa was in GQ UK’s Top 100 Connected Women and the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners. Vanessa is a regular guest on TV and radio and also sits on the Government Digital Services advisory board.

Vanessa is also the Pearly Queen of The City of London, a tradition that has been in her family for over 100 years. She is an avid charity worker and sits on the board for Cancer Research UK as one of its Women of Influence. Vanessa also sits on the Centenary Action Group founded by Dr Helen Pankhurst.

We introduce Vanessa with our quickfire questions below:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Vanessa Vallely and I am the Founder of WeAreTheCity. WeAreTheCity is a resource website for women who wish to drive their careers and access organisations who can help them develop their skills and networks. WeAreTheCity also host the Rising Star and TechWomen100 awards, provide quarterly skills events as well as running several large conferences a year around leadership and technology.  WeAreTheCity has a membership of 70,000 women and works with over 125 different corporate organisations to help them to attract, retain and develop their female talent


What does flexible working mean to you?

Flexible working means being able to fit work in around everything else you have or want to do.  I have worked flexibly both in my senior roles in banking and since becoming an entrepreneur.  My whole team at WeAreTheCity work flexibly too, getting the job done, but also have a life and time to support their families and children. For me, flexible working shouldn’t even be an option or a nice to have, it should be a given.


When it comes to flexible working what is your message to employers?

If you don’t adapt, you will lose the war on talent! Most firms have state of the art technology, there is no reason at all why people cannot work from home, flex their hours and vary their locations of work.  It is time to trust your employees to get their jobs done, whilst giving them the opportunity to manage their lives outside of work. You will reap the rewards in terms of happier employees.


How do we change the attitudes that continue to prevail against flexible working?

Unfortunately, the mindset of presentism still exists in pockets. It tends to be the attitude of a certain generation who believe you have to be visible and at your desk to be delivering, it’s an outdated attitude.  I do believe there are times when you need to be in the office, building relationships, contributing face to face to meetings and projects, but not all the time!


What inspires you?

I get to hang out with a number of individuals and companies who are actively supporting gender equality.  They inspire me every day. Outside of work, it is my two daughters, Mia and Ella. Both are studying politics, one at A level and one at University, they are determined to change the world in some way!


What’s next for you?

Personally, to continue to balance work and life! As an entrepreneur, there is a tendency to work every single hour of the day.  I promised myself this year that I would finally try to find some form of balance and ensure that I spend adequate time with my family and friends. It’s work in progress and can go to pot in an instant, but so far so good. On the work side, we have our TechWomen100 awards coming up and our wonderful WeAreTechWomen conference, the future world of work on 22 November. On the speaking side, I have eight talks before year-end all over the UK. A busy Q4, but I wouldn’t have it any other way ☺


This event is strictly invitation only for HR professionals and will be held at the brand new Morton Society on Thursday 10th October 2019.

For more information on how you can attend please get in