As anybody who's met me knows, tennis and Luluvise are my two great passions. That's why I decided to host a Luluvise Ladies Day at the AEGON tennis championships last week. I pulled together some major heavy hitters in the London tech industry -- all women, natch -- for a downright lovely afternoon at The Queen's Club in West Kensington, London.
The AEGON Championships, for the uninitiated, follow the French Open and kick off the grass court season in earnest. The best of the best come every year -- it's the warm-up to Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Llyeton Hewitt and Sam Querrey have all won at Queen's.
It's a very exciting time of year for me, since tennis holds a special place in my heart. I played for my native Jamaica, and I now play for the Ladies' First Team at Queen's. Being a former professional tennis player has proven a huge advantage as an entrepreneur. Investors like to sense an entrepreneur's competitive drive.
The afternoon was about networking with new and fascinating women, all creating original and inspiring products in the London tech industry. And they were out in full force: Microsoft, Jawbone, Seedcamp, Osborne & Partners, and Girl Meets Dress were all represented.
It was a full -- if slightly damp -- house. Yes, as it happened, the weather was appalling. Dark clouds and lots of rain -- a truly British summer. A less hearty crowd might have been discouraged, but the gloomy weather did not deter our group in the slightest. Take that, Mother Nature!
But then we had our double fault. Not only was the weather a great disappointment, but I'd invited the girls for an afternoon of tennis and there was not even one game of tennis to be seen on Centre Court! The entire day of tennis was cancelled.
That worked in our favor though, because it gave us much more time to bond, without getting distracted by the cute tennis player's score of the game. We talked about everything from how to manage a crisis at the office to the most popular rentals at Girl Meets Dress, all while nibbling scones and English strawberries.
I am so excited to count the women as my allies as I work on growing the Luluvise brand. The talk, after a while, shifted to relationships, one thing we ALL had something to say about. I was giddy each time a girl piped in with her tale of glory or tragedy. Seeing that even these strong, inspiring women talk about relationships made me even more confident that we are on to something at Luluvise.
Feeling the pressure to deliver at least something in the way of tennis, I took the ladies on a little excursion around The Queens Club, which has hosted the famed grass tournament since 1890. We spotted the Brian Brothers in the midst of a training and stretching session. That put a smile on all of our faces...
As it turned out, the championship ended on Sunday dramatically for the tennis players. In a pique, David Nalbandian kicked an advertising board, which in turn whacked the linesman's shin and there was blood everywhere! Nalbandian was disqualified for 'unsportsmanlike behaviour,' giving both the match and title to Marin Cilic.
But for the girls, our Ladies Day was a lot less violent. It was a fun day, start to finish. Or as one lady said, it was a "proper 'girl geek' networking day!"