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Tough times, but Lisa stays solid

CATCHING UP: Jasmine and Lisa Maffia

ONE ILLNESS that has affected most people’s lives is cancer. A few of my nearest and dearest have lost close ones to cancer and when people in my life have been affected by it, it’s been hard to know what to say. So when a long time friend, So Solid Crew’s leading lady Lisa Maffia revealed to me over lunch that her mother has been diagnosed with the illness, I felt the familiar dry mouth of fear that I would say the wrong thing.

Lisa was extremely calm and positive, and in her strong as ever manner, told me she, along with her friends and family, was taking part in Race for Life on July 30, to raise money and awareness for the cause.

“It’s made me realise how precious life is,” said Lisa, who is herself a mother. “Thinking about the possibility of losing my mum has shown me how important a charity like Cancer Research is and how important events such as Race For Life are.”

Lisa told me she is looking to gain as much support through sponsorship via the Just Giving page at: www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/teammaffia

Running alongside Lisa in ’Team Maffia’ are her mates Su-Elise Nash (Misteeq), Keisha Buchanan (Sugababes), Anna Richardson (presenter), and many more friends and members of her family.

You’d think that with this and bringing up her daughter that she’d have her hands full. But she’s still managing to juggle business with her House of Maffia projects, as well as her solo music career.

She enthused: “When it comes to music, I'm heading in the dubstep direction. The scene is changing rapidly each year and I've been waiting for a new sound that I like and dubstep is that sound.”

Of her So Solid brethren she confessed: “I don’t see all of them as much anymore, but I have love for the times we spent together. I mostly see Romeo as we still regularly work together doing club PAs.”

Also revealing that she’ll be featuring in a new film coming out soon, it’s clear that she remains focussed, despite the fact she’s going through a difficult time. Go Lisa – see you on July 30 on Clapham Common, where the London 360 News TV crew will be filming you at your team at Race For Life.

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SISTERS DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES

FROM one strong woman to another set of strong women. I recently received an invitation from the African & Caribbean Diversity group to attend an event that one of their corporate sponsors – law firm Slaughter and May – were putting on.

The theme for the evening was ‘Why diversity matters – being an ethnic minority female professional in the city’. This was an idea that one of the BME Network Committee members, lawyer Isoken Idemudia came up with.

I was pleased to meet two ladies that are doing pretty well for themselves in the high-powered, male dominated world of law. Lawyer Ngozie Azu and Caron Johnson, systems support administrator were meeting and greeting all their guests and playing perfect hosts.

After drinks and mingling, we were all seated to hear a brief talk from a few selected ladies that have achieved above and beyond and their thoughts were thought-provoking and made me acknowledge that we all experience similar things in our career journeys. Diahanne Rhiney, who’s now the chief exec of her own marketing and PR agency 15 Degrees, told how one year early in her career, she made £3 billion for her then-employer and only got a £2,000 bonus! Outraged, she set up her own business.

There was a Q&A session straight afterwards, where the usual dilemmas of juggling family life with the career dominated the conversation (solution: have a great house husband!) There were also questions about the issue of black women having natural or relaxed hair in the workplace, and how their hair has affected their careers. It was a very enlightening evening that made me feel confident about the number of strong, articulate, ambitious women of all colours that are striving for diversity and high positions in the professional world.

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BOXING CLEVER

DAVID Haye came, chatted enough hype talk and alas didn’t conquer. He did really hype himself up ahead of his fight with Wladimir Klitschko, but isn't that what makes a great personality? Furthermore, had he not done so much talking before the fight, I’m sure plenty of people wouldn’t have bothered to watch it.

He did a pretty impressive job lasting 12 rounds; something many fight experts predicted wouldn’t happen. And while he didn’t win this time around, he's still a winner. A proud and cocky south Londoner, his post-fight talk wasn’t as gracious as it could have been. In fact, his opponent, who I really wanted to dislike, was so a well-mannered and gracious in his victory, I was won over in seconds.

Still, don’t write David off. This man is a huge, ambitious personality and he’ll be back with a vengeance. I’m sure he’ll take another path to his inevitable victory.

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