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Issue #25: A Retro(Intro)spective Issue

Dear <<First Name>>

A Very Merry Christmas to you and welcome to the final edition of Suit & Pie for 2014! 

Christmas is traditionally the time when we cozy up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and reflect on the year gone by (before we forget all about it as we down shots on NYE). Here at Suit & Pie we are no different, although our 'fire' is a little electric heater and we prefer jasmine tea to hot chocolate (although easily swayed by mini marshmallows). 

In our 12 Lessons of Christmas issue, we take a look back at what we have learnt this year (turns out it was a lot!) and thank those who have come along for the journey. Mr Smith also teaches us a few things as he takes over the Men's Corner.

In the spirit of retrospection, we hope you have also been enjoying our #suitieflashback countdown to Christmas on twitter (24 back issues of S&P in 24 days!). We have been busy guest blogging on the My Family Care website as well - check out 'Me, Myself and My (Work) identity'

Suit & Pie will be undergoing some changes (and hopefully moving to its own website!) in the new year so do bear with us and watch this space for all your favourite content and more!

In the meantime, have a great New Year and see you in 2015! 
x  foong
 on twitter 
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Issue #26 of Suit & Pie is out in the new year. Subscribe here to receive it straight to your inbox and catch up on past issues in our archive. You can also read the Suit & Pie story here courtesy of
12 Lessons of Christmas
Now I am not usually one for nostalgia (onward and upward, I say!) but sometimes, especially in a fun-packed, full-to-the-brim year like 2014, it makes sense to take a look back and appreciate the great things and not-so-great things that happened in the last 12 months. So, here goes...
2014 was the year that I:

1. Stood up for what I believe in

Launching Suit & Pie, a newsletter that would highlight gender inequality in business, was a big step for me as someone who doesn't like rocking the boat! Although, with over 2,000 reads per issue, I realised there was an amazing community of men and women out there who believe in the same thing I do.

2. Realised 'Feminism' isn't a bad word

2014 is being hailed as the year the Fourth Wave of Feminism began, with celebrities like Beyonce and Taylor Swift adopting the feminist title. #womenagainstfeminism helped to provoke a vocal reaction from women (including myself) who believe in the political, economic and social equality of the sexes and launched Emma Watson as the most credible proponent of equality with her heartfelt and hard hitting #HeforShe speech.

3. Pushed myself outside of my comfort zone

If you had told me 12 months ago that I would be meeting and featuring award-winning photographer Nancy Honey, Women's coach of the year Jenny Garrett, one of the most connected women in Britain Vanessa Vallely and the first ever professor of networking Julia Hobsbawm in my own newsletter, I would have probably raised an eyebrow (then laughed incredulously). But, as it turns out, great things can happen when you try something different!
My work(out) plan
2014 was the year I realised:

4. I love my job but I am not my job

I have written a few blogs this year (in Womanthology and My Family Care), where I have adamantly claimed that I love my job. This is true (96.5% of the time). I truly believe that my job allows me to be the best version of myself. But this can sometimes mean that I take work criticism very personally. I realised this year that I am not defined by the person I am at work.

5. Work/life balance is very important

2014 has probably been one of the most challenging and busiest years I have had at work. This coupled with writing Suit & Pie on a biweekly basis and training for a marathon, meant there wasn't much time for chillaxing (as the kids would say). As the year went on, I noticed that I wasn't giving myself enough time to recover and re-energise which meant I wasn't doing my best work. In 2015, I have promised myself more spa days...   

6. I have a personal brand

I hadn't paid much attention to it before, but there is actually a brand Foong and it needs nurturing. The image I project and how I want to be perceived aren't quite the same, so I am working on how I get there and taking a cue from the amazing role models I have met throughout this year both at work and as part of S&P. 
I get by with a little help...
2014 was also the year that I:

7. Made some amazing new friends

Turns out you're never too old to make new friends! It is incredible how a single cause or common interest can create a bond, endless debate and the feeling you have known someone for years after only a few months. Fee and Sitara, you have been my #suitie champions and absolute superwomen this year.   

8. Needed my support network

Now, I like to think of myself as a strong (bad-ass) woman, but there have been some rough patches this year which have meant that my (bad-ass) attitude hasn't been enough to pull me through on its own. That's when I've needed reinforcements - cue Mr Foong (my rock) and Mama Foong (the wise one).  

9. Have felt very grateful

This is to say a massive THANK YOU to every single person who has taken part, read and contributed to the Suit & Pie journey. I am constantly surprised, amazed and touched by the willingness of people to give up their time and effort to provide quotes, have a coffee and promote S&P. I would like to thank in particular Mr Smith for agreeing to come on this journey with me and for never (but very nearly a few times) missing a deadline!  
                                                         ... and in other news
10. I started drinking coffee... without then turning into The (coffee) Hulk - so proud.

11. Confirmed I could survive (maybe not for a sustained period) on a diet of chips, cake and green tea.

12. Realised it's ok being me (actually it's pretty cool)! In the wise words of Martha Graham, the incredibly talented pioneer of modern dance:

"There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”
Socks & crumbs (or the bit at the bottom)
Heard it through the (corporate) grapevine...

- Chicks with Bricks, a network of women in the construction industry, will be hosting a 'Celebration of Women in the Built Environment' at the House of Commons on 7 January. 

Speakers include the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, and Jane Duncan, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects. 

- If you're thinking of starting a business in the new year, The Escape School's Startup MBA may be for you. The next intake starts on 30th January.

- Get ready to be inspired with a day of talks by pioneering women at the First Women Summit on 4th February 2015. Check out the impressive line-up here.
This week I will be...

- getting some inspiration from L'Oreal's 2014 Women of Worth (our fave is the teabag quote!)

- re-living this year in food with the Foodie's 2014 bucket list - err Nutelasagne needs to be brought to the UK, like, now (and we love the marshmallow shotglasses too)

- feeling like a 'B*tch in Business' watching this excellent parody of Meaghan Trainor's 'All about that Bass' by three Columbia business students 

- booking myself into Hawaiian restaurant, Pond Dalston, one of OpenTable's Top 10 Restaurants of 2014

- voting for Stephanie Roche's goal to win the FIFA Puskas Award - the first ever female footballer to be shortlisted for this award!
It's a man's world - maybe we aren't so different after all 

Mr Smith's Corner

It's been a pleasure assisting on S&P this year, it surprises me slightly that I haven't broken it with my ramblings! Apparently (per Miss Foong) I must have 'loads of content stored up as I haven't had to write anything for a month'... mmm... I am pretty sure it doesn't work like that! 

Anyhow here's 3 lessons I have learnt in 2014 that I will be taking with me into 2015!

1. Celebrate what you have... 

Blokes discussions on cars send me to sleep, partly due to the fact that I have never owned a good one - I blame my parents, we had an Austin Allegro when I was growing up and I have never fully recovered. However it now seems sports car drivers lack ambition and real men only drive people carriers... which is helpful 'cos that's all I have!

2. Secure an audience with the King in 2015 for less than £1...

A funny thing happened at the school fair. Having won a bottle of wine at the adults tombola (pays to be early in the queue with sharp elbows there I find), I strayed to the second hand books and CDs stall and there he was all slick and impossibly cool, 'The Essential Elvis' for £1. I haggled them down to 75p and the rest is history. 

I know lots of white people who wear suits and some can even jump... but there's only one man who wear 'white jump suits'. Put me down for some bigger collars in teh new year, please! Sit back and enjoy 'I Just Can't Help Believing' from 1970. Miss Foong, this will help get you through the worst of that worrying Neil Sedaka phase you were having and that 2nd helping of Christmas pudding. 

3. Fail to prepare... prepare to fail!

Often cited quote from Benjamin Franklin, Roy Keane and my mother (the latter often used it in conjunction with 'patience is a virtue' and 'Jesus was born in a barn, you were born in Selly Oak so 'shut the door'!'). Having bemoaned my lack of time to do anything all year, it was pointed out to me that whereas I did spend 3 hours at the gym most Saturday mornings, they were all in the coffee bar watching the kids play sport and chatting. All noted, preparation is key, switching to a skinny cappuccino in the new year to assist six-pack development...

I hope Santa has visited you all, Merry Xmas!!!
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