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p//h balanced is a series of interviews of inspiring and accomplished women. Each month we chat with different women from a variety of backgrounds and life paths to learn a bit more of what drives them. Through this series we hope to inspire others to understand that style is nothing without substance.

 
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Continuing on our p//h balanced series, we sat down with the woman behind Susan Posnick Cosmetics. 

Susan Posnick, the woman who turned a skin cancer battle into a successful makeup line. 

Oddly, Susan’s journey started with her teaching degree in elementary education in the Virgin Islands. While she was studying, she was introduced to people in the make-up industry, which led to her passion for cosmetics. From there, she started her make-up artist career painting the faces of celebrities like Tom Cruise and Cindy Crawford. After working as Mary Kay Ash’s personal makeup artist for over 18 years, Posnick grew a deep interest in the makeup industry. In the late 90’s, Posnick was diagnosed with skin cancer and it was then that she discovered a niche for an all-natural mineral makeup with added sun protection. She soon found out that nothing similar was available in the cosmetic market and in 2002 Susan Posnick Cosmetics was born. She believed putting her name on her brand really spoke to her customers because it showed that she stands behind her product and believes in it.

Her entire journey developed into her thriving cosmetics line known as Susan Posnick Cosmetics. “There’s nobody doing it the way that we’re doing it”, says Posnick speaking about how she believes her company stands out from the rest. For instance, her most famous product COLORFLO is a bottle packed with a powder consisting of foundation and sun protection in an all in one refillable package topped with its own brush. Susan has since created a complete cosmetic line of multi-purpose lip, eye, face products for women on the go; and slowly but surely she is building an empire of natural protective cosmetics that stand out from all the others. 



 
 
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We spoke to the award winning actress, comedian, and content creator of multiple Netflix projects, Ever Mainard. At our palmer//harding studio, Ever spills the beans regarding her career as a natural born comedian, from her start-up gigs at Club Image in Temple, Texas, to the point where she moved to Chicago with only $17 dollars and recently becoming a three time Best Actress Award Winner for her roles as Regular Helen in ‘The Feels’. Now, Ever’s success is evident as her one woman show, 'Let Me Be Your Main Man’, was chosen as one of the best U.S. Imports at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

At only 10 years old, Ever spent her evenings staying up late watching Saturday Night Live, Mr Bean, MadTv, and other comedy shows until she was able to memorise the sketches and then reproduce them in front of her classmates the next day. Thereafter she knew that comedy was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. With her family’s support she started studying improvisation as an acting technique and this was only the beginning of what turned out to be a series of accomplishments in Ever’s career.

Mainard spoke about her favourite part of being a comedian and she stated that “the best part about my job is making people laugh” and frankly it is our favourite part of her career as well.

With such joy, Ever filled the room with laughter as she spoke about her road to success, and even when asked about how she would define success she just mentioned that she considered herself successful when she was able to “spread as much joy as she could”.

In the interview, Ever spoke about her projects, her habits and her fears. Her fear, much like many of us, is the fear of failing, which is the reason why she keeps pushing herself to be better. “We need fears in order to keep the drive going, the second we stop having those fears, we would all just settle for mediocracy”, and with those final words, Ever did more than just make us laugh in this interview, she ended up inspiring us to be better.

 
 
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Recently, we set down with Gemma Godfrey for another p//h balance interview. A delightfully energetic woman whose background includes a degree in quantum physics, Godfrey founded the award-winning digital investing service for financial wellbeing, Moola in 2015, and has been helping people financially ever since.

With many accomplishments under Godfrey’s belt, such as hosting Channel 4’s “My Money Makeover”, becoming money expert and presenter on ITV’s “Eat, Shop, Save”, and even being hired as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s financial advisor for “The Apprentice” in 2016, she explains to us how she used media platforms to reach a broader audience and can essentially help everyone achieve their financial goals.

Throughout her interview she spoke about her growth as a successful woman in the financial industry and how she faced obstacles when they were presented to her. She often asked herself “what is the formula to success [when starting a business]?”. In this interview, she tells us how she was unfamiliar with the entire process and how she has learned from her experiences and then created her own strategy.

“I wanted to help people achieve a money goal, or at least help people sleep better through the night”, and she definitively did; Gemma’s success has been heard from all around and she has even been named one of the “Most Powerful Women in London” by CityAM, and telegraph’s Top 35 Business Women in Britain, 2015.

Godfrey’s feature in the Times as a “route to the best financial advice” is a recognition to her financial success, through her Moola platform, given that it has reached such a vast audience, while also helping so many achieve financial wellbeing.

 
 
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For the next episode of our p//h balanced series, we sit down with Káryyn, an artist and musician who composes what she categorises as “electronic, post-classical pop music”. Her Armenian Syrian heritage, along with her upbringing in America, have influenced her style but do not define the artist she is, and is becoming.

“I am constantly trying to get away from identity. My music is about processing and being aware of my emotions, and what I find out about them… it’s about deep excavation,” Káryyn expresses. She shares that her compositions start with her voice and sounds that awaken her. During the interview, Káryyn hears distant laughter from the palmer//harding office and explains that her sensitivity to sound is companied by a deep sense of feeling that takes shapes in visual forms. The laughter triggered a sensory experience in Káryyn that allowed her to feel and see the escalation of sound. Her unique point of view, and deeply passionate and inspiring music is paving the way for her future in the music industry.

After living in Los Angeles and Berlin for some time, Káryyn decided to sign with Mute Records, an independent electronic and experimental pop record that is based in London. She released her first album in March, The Quanta Series, which included past EPs and new singles. The album is quickly gaining well deserved attention and praise, and has been featured in Dazed, The Guardian and Vogue. Káryyn also composed music for an opera in Reykjavik, Of Light, which was highly regarded by Björk in attendance. Káryyn has high hopes for her future in music, but hasn’t lost touch with her personal happiness. “Money will come and go. Success is about deep self approval in whatever you set out to do,” she shares.

Check out Káryyns’ music on her website here and on youtube here.

 
 
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Introducing Rachel Wang, our next p//h balanced woman, and self-taught filmmaker with a law degree and a dream to share her cinematic point of view. 

Eighteen years ago, Rachel and her husband founded Chocolate Films. Chocolate Films now operates two offices in London and Glasgow, employees 26 people and has an award-winning documentary series. The film production company specialises in documenting the public sector working with various clients across the art, education, corporate and charitable industries around the world. Chocolate Films’ ongoing and most well-known project, 1000 Londoners, exposes the cultural and social diversity of the city by featuring new people each week from various backgrounds, each with their own story to tell about their life and their personal connection to London. Rachel shares that through the project she has discovered just how similar people are even if they live opposite lives, and how many unexpected friendships have been born through the experience. As what she describes as a “community cohesion project”, 1000 Londoners is truly making impactful strides to make London a more unified, positive place well worth of celebration of all of the inspiring people who call it home. 

Rachel shares that the best advice she has been given is from her mother who told her to never take no for an answer. “I have a lot of energy so whenever I put my mind to something I just do it.” Rachel’s dedication and passion for her work has been a true inspiration in and outside the film industry. She has been awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Black British Awards in 2015, the Social Enterprise of the Year award by the UK’s Black Women in Business Awards in 2018, and most recently, the Community Person of the Year by Visionary Arts. Rachel is also a Trustee to the National Portrait Gallery where she has a mission to use her digital and media background to make it a more accessible, diverse community. Rachel’s entrepreneurial spirit, creative vision and perseverance to the people and city of London make us proud and excited to have her as a p//h balanced woman.

 
 
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Georgia Spray, our fourth p//h balanced woman is the founder of Partnership Editions, a platform for emerging artists and art collectives. Georgia has a reputable background in the contemporary art industry, working at well-known art powerhouses such as, Christie’s and White Cube. She also launched the Contemporary African Art department at the Auction Room where she curated multiple exhibitions and launched international buyer networks. After spending numerous years in the corporate art world, Georgia decided to start her own company with a mission to take the “eliteness and mystique” out of it. She wants to allow more people to have the ability to have a conversation about their relationship with art, and build their own personal collections without the notorious steep price tag. “A lot of people buy artwork as investment pieces, not to live with on their walls, and there was a lack of curated platforms for people who have or were never able to buy artwork before”. Partnership Editions offers a more accessible, curated collection ranging from £50 to £1,000, and currently represent 17 artists with unique and varied styles. Georgia is so inspiring to us because she saw a gap in the industry. She created Partnership Editions with a vision to give more people the opportunity to expand their knowledge and truly experience not only the beautiful aesthetic of artwork, but also the relevant and important cultural discussions that arise from it; all while simultaneously supporting young, emerging artists. Georgia shares that she is where she is today because of her honesty and her principled view of success as a personal objective that she takes day by day.

 
 
 
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We are delighted to introduce Mimma Viglezio, creative consultant and Editor at SHOWstudio, as our third p//h balanced woman. Mimma’s prestigious 25 year tenure in the corporate fashion industry included roles at luxury houses such as, Bulgari and Louis Vuitton. She also held the position of Executive Vice President at the Gucci Group (now Kering), where she managed and controlled the corporate image of eight brands in the conglomerate. Mimma has been a freelance consultant since 2010, taking interest especially in emerging brands, and has been a key mentor for the future of many young, aspiring fashion entrepreneurs. 

Mimma chose the freelance route because she craves freedom, independence and the opportunity to explore the increasingly sustainably focused and progressively diverse fashion industry. She shares that she has been exposed to exciting new and different experiences and endeavours, and that she learns just as much as she gives. The key behind Mimma’s success is her ability to speak candidly and build her network through her admirable knowledge and passion for the industry. “I like that I’m quite outspoken; being honest makes people trust you.”

Mimma is involved in various human rights organisations including the Swarovski Foundation, Women For Women and The Fund For Global Human Rights where she plays a large role in bringing awareness and attention to artistic education, gender equality, environmental issues, migrants’ rights and numerous other resource and corporate accountabilities. Mimma is also an Advisor on the Board of Modern Meadow, a biotechnological company that is disrupting the materials industry through their introduction of biofabricated leather. 

Mimma’s many accomplishments and achievements aside, is a woman who does not categorise her success by her money, age or job title. Mimma defines success as being truly happy with your ups and downs and the ability to be free in your career and life. 

 

 
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In our second episode of p//balanced accomplished women series, we interviewed CEO and Founder of Bloody Good Period, Gaby Edlin. Gaby is an activist who is working towards ending “period poverty” by aiding sustainable sanitary products to asylum seekers, refugees and women who cannot afford to buy them. She has also been recognised as a key activist in abolishing the VAT on women’s sanitary products in the UK, and was named one of Evening Standard’s progress 1000 top Changemakers in 2018; and, was featured as Stylist’s Women of the Week in the same year. Gaby’s creative and lighthearted approach to helping women’s needs is what drew us to her for our accomplished women’s series.

Gaby shares “when you see an advert with a woman who is suffering and that’s what you’re supposed to be motivated by- there is just no dignity in that”, and thus Bloody Good Period was born. Having graduated as a masters student from CSM in Applied Imagination, Gaby has taken an innovative, comedic approach to the serious concerns regarding women’s menstrual health. She reveals that there is attention regarding menstruation but decided to combat the seriousness and conservativeness of the movement with humour in efforts to make the topic an approachable and comfortable open conversation. 

Gaby expresses how taking part in social change started when she was growing up in her Jewish community. She remarks that she isn’t particularly religious but it was more the cultural upbringing that gave her the incentive to begin volunteering and creating change.  Besides that, volunteering has always been an internal part of her being. She claims that she is particularly passionate about issues of injustice especially when it comes to feminist-related issues. Gaby’s sense of humour and heart shines through with everything she does, whether it’s fighting the next social corruption or singing her favourite Sting song. “I’m not a particularly good person, I just hate injustice,” Gabby humbly states. 

As for the future for Gaby, she hopes the awareness Bloody Good Period has brought will equally make it non-existent, simply because it will self implode and the problem of lacking sanitary products will hopefully be resolved. Her definition of success is quite simple- make a difference and leave a legacy behind knowing that you’ve changed the way people think about things; and with Bloody Good Period now providing over 5,000 sanitary products across the UK a month, Gaby has truly met her definition of success in every sense of the word. 

 

 
 
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For the premier of our p//h balanced series we decided to interview Alison Macdonald, a human rights barrister, and exceptionally stylish woman. Alison has been long time supporter of palmer//harding, as far back as 2014 when she bought her first p//h shirt. We remember it well as, at the time, the team consisted of just Levi and Matthew, who hand delivered it to her law offices in Holborn. Since that time the p//h team has grown a lot larger and so has Alisons’ collection of palmer//harding shirts. However these lists pale in comparison to Alisons list of accomplishments as a barrister.

Alison Macdonald's defines professional success as “finding something that matches your abilities and temperaments”; and, expresses that finding true value in what you do and realising that not everyday will be fun is important to feeling happy and challenged in your career.

Balancing practices between public international law, international arbitration and criminal law at Matrix Chambers and appearing before both international and domestic courts, Alison has a unique role in being a barrister who “works at the confluence between criminal, public, and commercial law.”  Her experience includes distinguished cases in front of the European court of human rights and she is a specialist in the field of international business risk and corporate governance, such as modern slavery, bribery, money laundering and sanctions. 

From graduating top of her class at Oxford to her appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2017, Alison has always been a leader and and pioneer in her field. She said she “wanted to do it like the boys” after deciding to cut her maternity leave short to ensure she did not fall behind from her male colleagues. Her dedication and hard work has not gone unnoticed, as she was listed in the Chambers Global as a leader in the field of public international law, and is named in the Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration- Future Leaders 2018.

Her favourite part of practicing law is the ability it gives her to travel around the world and immerse herself into many different cultures and governments. Alison says, “the knowledge crystallises in my head and I do what I need to do.” She also reveals that her favourite quality about herself is her ability to not let other people’s opinions and expectations depict her agenda and happiness. However, she shares that she has recently developed this mindset as she has gotten older and more confident.

Culture runs deep in Alison, who has many hobbies outside of her demanding job. At nighttime she enjoys taking photographs of architectural landscapes, most recently subjecting personal offices and window boxes. She says that she finds people’s attempt to personalise their small office space very interesting, and admits that if she wasn’t a barrister she would enjoy working in a dark room developing photographs. 

A stylish woman in her own right, Alison’s views towards fashion is not only sartorial. During our chat she shared that she recently became very interested in corporate social responsibility cases involving modern slavery in the fashion industry. She hopes to help companies who want to do the right thing and ensure that this important issue is given more attention and justice. Alison’s devotion and commitment to both her own happiness and towards her field truly makes her an exceptional inspiration for the palmer//harding woman.