Monday  7th March was a very special day for Susannah.

She met one of her all time role models, Arlene Phillips, at the Forward Ladies Open Networking Event at The Midland Hotel in Manchester.

Arlene came to prominence in the dance world by creating the often controversial but hugely popular dance group Hot Gossip. Since that time she has become a world-renowned Director and Choreographer with her work seen widely on stage, feature film, concert arenas, television, music videos and commercials.

Since 2004 Arlene has been notably popular as a judge on the UK’s BBC1 Strictly Come Dancing.  Her popularity has been far reaching and she continued as a judge until recent controversy ended her involvement.  Not to be deterred since leaving the show she has been appointed as the Government’s ‘Dance Tsar’ to help improve the UK’s health and fitness in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Arlene’s relationship with dance has allowed her significant accolades including nominations for Tony Awards, Olivier Awards, a National Broadway and a FaNY. Awards include an MTV, a Drama Desk, a BAFTA and an Emmy for best choreography.  In the 2002 New Years Honours List Arlene was awarded an OBE for Services to Dance and in 2004 a Companionship Award from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts for her contribution to dance, presented by Sir Paul McCartney.  She has also been awarded Honorary Membership in 2006 by the International Dance Teachers Association and a Carl Alan Award for Services to Dance.

At the Forward Ladies event Arlene talked about how eventful her life had been and how she was prepared to take risks and simply go for what she always wanted to do in life – dance.  She talked about how hard her life had been as a young girl growing up, and how she had overcome hardship to do what she loved.  Throughout her life she has never lost that focus.

Arlene also reflected on how difficult it was for young people to succeed in such a competitive industry nowadays. She mentioned the occasions she had come across parents who had unrealistic expectations of their children’s talents and who were pressurising them to achieve in the harsh world of entertainment.

Susannah had a brilliant time at her first Forward Ladies Open Networking Event, and is looking forward to attending again.

Forward Ladies is a business networking organisation for professional women which was founded by Etta Cohen in 2000.  The aim of Forward Women is to offer a network of support and opportunities to women in business, and help them to overcome the specific challenges in achieving business success they sometimes encounter.

Forward Ladies has grown to be the North’s largest women’s networking and business support organisations supporting over 13,500 women throughout Yorkshire, the Humber, Isle of Man, Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside.

Forward Ladies membership is made up of professional women from all sectors and stages of professional life offering a community for women to learn, share and encourage one another in a supportive environment.

They run over 400 events a year from business development workshops and inspirational speakers to networking lunches, award ceremonies and trade missions.

For more information on Forward Ladies, visit:

For more information on Arlene Phillips, visit:


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