Lady (Michelle) Mone, Baroness of Mayfair OBE, is one of the most sought after inspirational speakers of our time. Recently voted the UK’s Number 1 Woman speaker, she is best renowned as one of Britain’s most influential ladies; both an entrepreneur and an advocate for equality for women in business.
Founder of Ultimo Brands International, the UK’s leading lingerie brand for the last two decades, she set out with a vision of helping woman look and feel their very best. It was upon that simple concept Baroness Mone built her career and influence, being honoured with a Life Peerage to the House of Lords by the Prime Minister and an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen for her outstanding contributions to business.
Baroness Mone grew up in the impoverished East End of Glasgow when, at the age of fifteen, her father fell ill and was subsequently declared paraplegic and wheelchair bound for life. This forced Michelle to leave school without any qualifications in search of full-time employment, sparking her instinct for entrepreneurship. At the age of just 22, she excelled herself to Head of Sales and Marketing in Scotland for the Glasgow-based Labatt’s Brewers, however was made redundant after two short years.
In 1996, after only six weeks out of work, Michelle was at at a dinner dance wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing bra. It was here the Baroness had an epiphany on what the lingerie industry was missing, and the world famous Ultimo bra was born.
After the launch of Ultimo, Michelle quickly established herself as one of Scotland’s finest exports, winning the World Young Business Achiever Award in 2000 at the Epcot Centre in Florida, as well as Business Woman of the Year at the Corporate Elite Awards in London. Her status as one of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs was confirmed soon after when Prince Charles invited her to join the board of Directors for The Prince’s Trust.
In October 2005, Michelle attended a speaking event with former US president Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev, leading to her involvement in setting up the Women’s Enterprise Project in the Middle East in support of The Sultan of Oman. It was then she began to realise that her experiences and wisdom could transform lives and inspire others in the face of adversity.
Despite facing a challenging few years in her private life, suffering an acrimonious divorce and battle to retain her business, Michelle is now one of the United Kingdom’s most notable global speakers. The Baroness has inspired, coached and mentored audiences and individuals in over 50 countries over the last two decades. This culminated in her being given her Life Peerage in 2015, then being asked by the Prime Minister David Cameron and the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, to conduct The Mone Review; an insight into helping start up businesses in deprived areas.
Toward the end of 2016, the proud mother of Rebecca, Declan and Bethany proceeded to sell Ultimo to global lingerie giants MAS Holdings – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of intimates, with a $1.4 billion turnover and 63,000 employees. And after officially handing her UTAN business over to her eldest daughter Rebecca at the start of 2017, Michelle has decided to focus on her speaking, mentoring as well as her love of design.
Having already established herself as the leading jewellery designer on QVC, Michelle proceeded to launch a global interior design business through which she is already heavily involved in the development of two residential and commercial towers in Dubai. Alongside these ventures and her continued investment in technology businesses, Michelle is also looking to broaden her reach through an exciting new initiative which is currently in development with the view of supporting the empowerment of women.
Michelle continues her work with the House of Lords and as start-up business Tsar for the UK government.