As the Charity Commission finds Presidents Club trustees 'failed to protect female staff', in episode two of SheSays Says, The Drum talks with previous club hostess and entrepreneur Alexandra Prinze about her experience.
Earlier this year, an undercover investigation from Madison Marriage and the Financial Times exposed alleged instances of sexual harassment at the Presidents Club, a controversial (and male-only) black-tie event held at the Dorchester Hotel.
The expose led to an investigation from the Charity Commission, resulting in a report released today finding “significant failures” at the Charitable Trust, and that the trustees were in breach of a number of “key charity law duties” at the now-defunct club's most recent event.
“The trustees failed fully to recognise or address risks to the reputation of the charity – and its purpose of raising money for good causes – arising from holding an all-male event staffed by female-only event staff, who were subject to instructions on their appearance, including that they wear ‘smart, sexy shoes’,” the report said.
The trustees, mired in the allegations since January this year, have been censured by the Charity Commission. “The trustees thought insufficiently about the welfare of the women hired to work at their charity’s event while taking careful steps to protect the privacy of the male guests attending the dinner,” said the regulator’s chief executive, Helen Stephenson.
After the FT investigation we sat down with entrepreneur and empowerment coach, and previous Presidents Club hostess Alexandra Prinze, as part of The Drum's ongoing podcast series SheSays Says, in association with Frank & Lively and powered by Scramble Studios. The topic of conversation on the table was the culture of male entitlement, and how we can achieve change.
With some incredibly honest and some could say controversial views on the #MeToo movement, the media's role in shining a light on sexual harassment and how to balance the power in male-dominated environments, Alexandra talks openly about her experience as a hostess at the Presidents Club, citing it as positive on the whole, but agreeing the time has come to change and for women to 'take back their personal power'.
Alexandra also weighs in on the 'Kardashian Chaos', whether it's better as a woman to 'fit in' or challenge and fight to succeed in business, and how we measure real success in the modern world.
She said "I honestly believe when we talk about what success is, we think immediately of external things. We need to have a house, or be promoted, or millions of dollars in the bank. We don't actually ask why do we want this money, what is that car going to do for us? Is it going to validate us?
"What we need to work on and with young people especially, which we're not doing, is empowering them with their own sense of confidence that the best thing you can possibly do is to give yourself permission to be yourself. Whatever that looks like."
You can listen to our other episodes of SheSays Says with The Drum, here.