Business Networking Event ‘On The Sofa’ May

26th May 2022

On The Sofa Business Networking May 2022

This exceptionally successful Business Networking Club became a part of The Clifton Club fabric bringing together our “working” members regularly to network and grow mutually beneficial relationships. We kicked of this new series in April with two Clifton Club members, Nick Pugh and John Laycock who shared their life and career experiences to date. This was attended by 50+ Clifton Club members and their guests who enjoyed the hospitality provided by event sponsor Arbuthnot Latham.

Members and guests received a complimentary glass of wine before moving into the dining room where two Clifton Club members were interviewed ‘on the sofa’ by past Chairman Mike Beesley.

Two more current Clifton Club Members shared their life and career experiences this month:

First up was Ashley Leon, born in Scottsdale, Arizona, Ashley is a European Winemaker at Accolade Wines. A chance visit to an Italian winery whilst travelling with her parents ignited Ashley’s passion for wine. Ashley went on to secure a place at California State University in San Luis Obisbo to study Winemaking. Graduating four years later the next step was to join a grape harvest in Napa Valley where Ashley’s international horizons were broadened leading to a period in New Zealand learning how to make Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling wines. Members and guests learnt all about Ashley’s winemaking journey from here on plus her early life in America.

Second up was the inspirational Stephanie Wheen, CEO and Founder at Gympanzees, a multi award winning charity providing play and exercise for disabled children. Gympanzees have just launched their capital fund-raising appeal called Project Home Appeal – a campaign to secure a permanent home for Gympanzees in Bristol. This facility will offer play, exercise and social inclusion for the 66,000 disabled children and young people who live within an hour of Bristol, supporting their health and wellbeing and taking their families out of isolation. Stephanie is a physio by trade – specialising in working with children with disabilities and started Gympanzees in response to the massive lack of options for exercise in the community for her clients.

The On The Sofa Events demonstrate the diversity and experience of our Members, and is just one of the fantastic social events provided by The Club for it’s Members.

The next event is on Tuesday 28th June, with Club Members Jerry Barnes, founder of the Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC) and Dr Mark Mason MBE, a serial entrepreneur; mentor, chairman, charity trustee, angel investor, university governor and hot air balloonist. To find out more about our Business Networking please email