Member Spotlight 

Each month we profile four of our members so that you can find out a little more about everyone in Women that Connect. 

Anni Pekie 

What do you do, and how long have you been in business? 
I’m a photographer under the name Anni’s Looking Glass. The second part of that question is actually not as straightforward for me to answer as it may seem! Photography slowly morphed from being a hobby that I was passionate and ambitious about into a business idea. Once I knew I wanted to turn it into this, I still spent several months fine-tuning my portfolio, doing further training and building my website. Therefore, I can’t say my business has a specific birthday that I celebrate. However, this month it will have been two years since I took out business insurance and let HMRC know what I’m up to. 
 
Why did you create Anni's Looking Glass? 
I think most artists will be used to hearing the sentence “You’re so good, you should charge for this!” I never thought that much of it as I felt it was just flattery. However, with some gentle encouragement from my boyfriend I began to realise that I could actually really enjoy running a business. I have always loved independent work and I’m good at motivating myself. I knew that taking that next step would also enable me to really create a unique service for people, providing them with images and high-quality products that an amateur will not be able to create. The timing was right, too. As I was doing a PhD and had a part-time job at the university, there was not as much pressure for me to make the business work straight away, but I could easily fit it around my existing work. 
 
What do you think has been your biggest achievement since launching your business? 
I think my achievements are twofold. The way my work makes my clients react. For instance, every time a mum can’t hold back a tear of joy, in the corner of her eyes, when she sees the photos of her kids; that’s an achievement for me. Every time someone that thought they could not stand themselves in photos realises their portrait actually doesn’t look half as bad; that’s another achievement. However, I also see achievements on a very personal level. There’s a common disease among artists, it’s a sense of perfectionism that is always treading on the fine line between a desire to improve (great) and a crippling self-criticism (inhibiting and not so great). The latter has always been a major challenge of mine as I’ve struggled to appreciate my own work (and hence actually recognise my achievements). Lately I’ve occasionally found myself looking back at a photo of mine, thinking I did really well there. Any fellow perfectionist will know that this alone is in fact an amazing achievement. 
 
Is there something most people don’t know about you? 
I love to play World of Warcraft (or WoW for those in the know). It’s an online role playing game set in a Fantasy world. For some reason this one always surprises people. 
 
Is there a single person who you have learned the most from in your life? If so, what did they teach you? 
No. I should probably say my parents or grandparents or something like this, and they have indeed shaped me. However, I firmly believe that 1) no-one is perfect and 2) it doesn’t always work for us to emulate what we think other people are or want (i.e. what I think you think I should be or do). I have role models and I meet people that inspire me with their art, their life or their sense for business. I try to learn from each of them and incorporate aspects of them that I feel will suit me in my own art/life/business. However, I know that I need to first and foremost work on myself, improve on my personal talents and overcome my personal challenges. 
 
If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why? 
I of course have lost loved ones that I would like to see again, if only for one dinner, but I’m interpreting this question being more about the fictional dream celeb scenario. In that case, I should probably pick Ansel Adams/Robert Capa/Annie Leibovitz (they’re all famous photographers). I’m more about stories than only photography per se though. I’d definitely meet the man, who in my eyes is the greatest and most elaborate storyteller of all times: JRR Tolkien. 
 
What is your favourite film of all time? 
I’ll always prefer a book over a film, so only original screenplays will qualify for this one. The Star Wars Saga means a lot to me. Yes, all of them, despite Jar Jar Binks... my favourite is probably “The Empire Strikes Back”. Also, now thinking about it, I should have picked Leia Organa for the above question. 
 
What is your best advice for people starting out in business? 
1) Have a plan. 
2) Don’t freak out if it doesn’t go according to said plan (because it probably won’t). 
3) Readjust plan. 
4) Keep at it! 
 
What's next for you and your business? 
1) Have a plan. 
2) Don’t freak out if it doesn’t go according to said plan (because it probably won’t). 
3) Readjust plan. 
4) Keep at it! 
 
Clare Farrell
 
 

Kelly Payne 

What do you do, and how long have you been in business? 
I am a website designer and I have been running my business for 10 years. 
 
Why did you create Kelly's-Webdesigns? 
Because I have no imagination!! I’ve had several Kelly’s businesses, Kelly's-Computers, Kelly's-Scanning!! But luckily coding is more about precision than imagination!! 
 
What do you think has been your biggest achievement since launching your business? 
Creating a life I am really proud of and happy living – I have an illness that makes me really hard to employ. I didn’t want to sit on benefits my whole life so I started my business when I was 23. 
 
Is there something most people don’t know about you? 
No, I wear my heart on my sleeve and chat until there is no shutting me up!! But some fun facts, I have competed trampoline gymnastics at national level within the last 5 years. I enjoy knitting and am a rather enthusiastic person. 
 
Is there a single person who you have learned the most from in your life? If so, what did they teach you? 
One of my favourite things to do is learn, so I try and learn as much as possible from everyone I meet. I think the best think I have ever learned is exam technique from one of my teachers at school. It not only taught me how to pass an exam but how to think outside the box. 
 
If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why? 
No thought needed, my grandad. He passed away last year and I would love to talk to him about my new little boy, who is named after him.. 
 
What is your favourite film of all time? 
Calamity Jane, nothing beats Doris Day!! 
 
What is your best advice for people starting out in business? 
“Just keep swimming”, Dory has the best advice! You never know how close you are to achieving your goals, just keep going you will get there, its about hard work and persistence. That’s all luck is! 
 
What's next for you and your business? 
Another fun filled 10 years!! I really enjoy what I do, not only the coding but also running my business. I am going to carry on as I am and keep growing my business. 
Louisa Sando Patel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Melissa Royden-Lee 

What do you do, and how long have you been working in property? 
I cover most areas of Sales & Lettings, but I mainly cover the Property Management side as our Office Manager at the Nuneaton Branch of Martin & Co. I have been working in property since 2016. 
 
What made you want to work in property? 
I was a restaurant manager and myself and Mike (my husband) were on opposite shifts. I noticed a job advertisement for another company and I had a friend who worked in property, so I decided to bite the bullet and apply. 
 
What do you think has been your biggest achievement since working in yor current role? 
I think my biggest achievement would be making it to office manager within 6 months of being with the company. 
 
Is there something most people don’t know about you? 
I am very afraid of thunderstorms! So much so, that when I lived in the States, I made my roommate walk home in the pouring rain so I wasn’t alone… oops!! 
 
Is there a single person who you have learned the most from in your life? If so, what did they teach you? 
There isn’t a single person but probably my parents. They brought me into this world and guide me each and every day. I am very close to them and they are very loving and caring people. I learn a lot from my husband Mike, if he was anymore laid back, he would be horizontal! I can be quite hot headed so he keeps me grounded and on the right path. 
 
If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why? 
I can’t really think of anyone as there are too many to choose from but for non-living, it would probably be all my ancestors. I love learning about my history and where I’ve come from, so would love to have a good natter with them over a cuppa or a glass of wine!! 
 
What is your favourite film of all time? 
I am a bit of a film buff and I love reading up all the trivia after watching the film but I am a mad Harry Potter fan (check out my Deathly Hallows tattoo!) so it would probably be ALL of them! I watch a variety of different genres anyway. 
 
What is your best advice for people starting out in business? 
I’ve never set up my own business but from running an office I would say, don’t try and do it all by yourself, make sure you delegate and ask for help when you need it! 
 
What's next for you and your career? 
I’m not sure at the moment, I really need to do my ARLA which is a qualification for the Association of Residential Letting Agents so I will probably knuckle down and get on with that once we have moved house! 
 
Lisa Bacon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Eileen Larder 

What do you do, and how long have you been in business? 
I am an Independent Weight Plan Consultant with 35 years' experience. Although I am independent, the company I am attached to is the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan. 
 
What do you think has been your biggest achievement since launching your business? 
Helping clients to lose weight is a great passion of mine. I also help clients to become Consultants and run their own business. I am a top Diamond Consultant, 15 out of 5,000 in the UK and Ireland, my biggest achievement. 
 
Is there something most people don’t know about you? 
I am a twin I have two daughters, 4 Grandchildren. I am one of eight children born in Ireland, lived in England since 1959. I have a Diploma in Personal Development and Counselling. 
 
Is there a single person who you have learned the most from in your life? If so, what did they teach you? 
My Grandmother, she gave unconditional love, taught me to listen twice as much as spoke, and treat everyone in the manner I would wish to be treated. To pay attention to learning. 
 
If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why? 
Nelson Mandella, I have been to South Africa and visited his place of internment, Robin Island. What a man, so inspirational. 
 
What is your favourite film of all time? 
The Road to Freedom. 
 
What is your best advice for people starting out in business? 
Research the Business, walk before you run. Open a Business bank account, use other people's money i,e. Credit Card, pay when due, avoid paying interest. Keep accurate accounts, register with National Insurance and HM Revenue & Customs. 
 
What's next for you and your business? 
Convention 35 years Award, and any others they may wish to give me. Continue building my client base, consultant growth, motivate and interact with my team (140 Consultants). 
 
Gerri Moore
 
 
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