International Women’s Day – Client Spotlight

International Women’s Day takes place on Friday, March 8th 2024 with the aim of celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The theme for this year’s campaign is Inspire Inclusion.

To mark this year’s awareness day, we profile a selection of female professionals and business owners based at Parallel House, our office space in Guilford.

Maria Lawless, Founder and Director Consultant at Signature Associates

Maria Lawless is Director Consultant and Founder of Signature Associates, specialising in strategic HR and finance support to SMEs and entrepreneurs and helping them navigate the complexities of today’s business landscape.

Maria’s background as an HR Director in the corporate arena means she understands the importance of fostering strong relationships and building trust with her clients. Together with her business partner Pieter, who heads the finance division and brings extensive corporate experience, they have worked with renowned brands such as KFC, RedSea, IFS, and Godiva Chocolatier.

Their expertise spans a diverse range of industries, from manufacturing to technology. While their primary focus is serving businesses in Ireland and the UK, they also extend services to clients in the Middle East and globally. Their priority is cultivating lasting relationships with customers, earning their trust as preferred HR and Finance solutions providers.

In addition to their core services, Signature Associates also collaborate with business owners and Private Equity firms involved in buying or selling businesses, offering invaluable insights and support in mergers and acquisitions. The team is dedicated to providing interim HR Directors and Finance Directors/CFOs, ensuring seamless transitions and sustained business success.

Maria is excited about Signature Associates’ continued growth and impact in the business world. Deepening client relationships, offering innovative solutions to meet evolving needs, and expanding their reach, particularly in the Middle East and other regions, are things she looks forward to this year. Collaborating with diverse businesses and cultures is something Maria finds both challenging and rewarding, and she is eager to see how they can leverage their expertise to drive success for clients on an international scale.

“We are passionate about what we do because we firmly believe that taking care of your people and finances paves the way for significant business achievements. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s continue to empower women in business and create a future where diversity, inclusion, and equality thrive.”

Find out more

LinkedIn: Maria Lawless

LinkedIn: Signature Associates

Eleanor Towsey and Nina Paul at K J Smith Solicitors

K J Smith Solicitors is a specialist family and divorce solicitors providing support and guidance for issues involving divorce and Family Law, Wills, Trusts and Probate, Powers of Attorney, and Deputyship Applications.

Through understanding and prompt action, the team of family solicitors provide practical solutions to help resolve family matters as quickly and amicably as possible. Highly regarded for their expertise in family law, K J Smith Solicitors is a recommended and ranked firm in the Legal 500, the leading guide to law firms in the UK.

Eleanor Towsey, Partner and Family Mediator

Eleanor joined K J Smith in May 2017 at their Basingstoke office as a solicitor and was promoted to Associate Solicitor. She then took over the Guildford office in April 2021, where she was promoted to partner in April 2022 and director in October 2023.

Eleanor is looking forward to growing each of the K J Smith offices. When she first joined, there were just four offices, and now there are 11, so it is an exciting time of growth that Eleanor is proud to be a part of.

Nina Paul, Paralegal

Nina is currently a Paralegal at KJS and is completing her training to qualify as a solicitor through the SQE route. In her role, she assists the solicitors with legal work on different client matters, such as preparing divorce applications, assisting in preparing for voluntary financial disclosure and Financial Remedy Court Proceedings, and liaising with clients about their matters.

Nina enjoys speaking with the next generation of future lawyers about their journey into law. She often attends career fairs to present to students about a career in family law and the routes to qualifying.

“I look forward to continuing my training and developing my knowledge and understanding of family law in practice. I am very lucky to work with an incredible team full of hardworking and ambitious women (and men!), creating an inspiring environment to learn and progress as a solicitor.” – Nina Paul

For more info:

LinkedIn: K J Smith Solicitors

Gillian Botte, Business Owner, the Great Big Event Company Ltd UK

The Great Big Event Company is celebrating its 18th anniversary in May 2024. The experienced outside catering operations company provides event and hospitality services, specialising in managing and outsourcing partnerships including chefs, marquees, ground control services, and unique and independently owned venues.

Gillian manages the business day-to-day, where no one day is the same! Primarily, Gillian deals with big budget plans for the events and the business; dealing with a large project enquiry on one day to concepting experiences for corporate clients on another. This year, the Great Big Event Company is moving some of its business into Berkshire and the Home Counties. Gillian’s personal goal is to nurture the growth of this new area and develop their great partnerships to create more sustainable events. She is also focusing on learning about sustainability practices in the event hospitality industry

“Our team is ever resourceful and I have been so lucky working with professionals I truly respect and admire and who offer me and our clients a positive strike between experience and fun.”

For more info

Instagram @thegreatbigeventcompany_surrey


Office space in Guildford

Parallel House is conveniently located a short walk from Guildford town centre and national rail services at London Road. To find out more about our office space in Guildford, contact us on