Meet Jana Bakunina- the founder of Ladies Who Impress!

Jana Bakunina is the Founder of Ladies Who Impress ,which is a forum celebrating genuine female role models. She quit her job as corporate financier to channel her energy into starting and promoting her new ventures and allowing herself at the same time to get the business going in a healthy and sustainable way. Thought It might be more challenging financially than staying in the job and get the the new ventures up and going, but she believes it has  a greater chance for success by acknowledging that she is not a superwoman and that she needs to balance work and recreation.

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1. On your website you describe yourself as a broadcaster and founder of Ladies Who Impress and Life Tonic.
You have a 1st class degree in Economics & Management from the University of Oxford and previously spent a decade advising media corporates, such as Sony Pictures and Zodiak Media, on corporate finance. What made you change your career? How did it all start and what inspired you to set up your own network?

I suppose my professional career in finance has been solely utilising the analytical part of my brain, until I did some soul searching and realised that I craved creative fulfillment. It all started with the first Ladies Who Impress event I hosted at the Groucho Club, when I invited friends to support my charity fundraising project. On the night I interviewed three inspiring women – a theatre director, a space scientist and a graphic designer – in front of a live audience of 70 guests and discovered my passion for live storytelling. Since then I’ve hosted seven celebrations over the last two years, interviewing such amazing personalities as Olympic rower Katherine Grainger, writer Xiaolu Guo, Shadow Cabinet Minister Chi Onwurah MP, to name a few.
2. You describe ” Ladies Who Impress” as a global forum to celebrate female role models and inspire other women to follow their passions and make the most of their talents. By whom were you inspired and why? And how did you incorporate their inspiration into your life?

It’s a great question: I am inspired by so many women – be it an athlete, a scientist, an entrepreneur or a mother – and their stories. My role models are talented, courageous, tenacious, successful, but also grounded. In broadcasting, I admire Clare Balding, Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey. Their interviews make me laugh, cry and inspire me to continue my own journey of telling stories via Ladies Who Impress.

3.What are you hopes for the business “Ladies Who Impress” ? Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years time?

In July 2014 I’ve launched Ladies Who Impress Club offering more opportunities for like-minded women to socialise, try new things, learn new skills and have fun in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere. In August we are doing a furniture up cycling workshop, supporting a social enterprise, run by an inspiring woman, and going to a morning dance party! Looking ahead, I’d love to grow Ladies Who Impress into a global brand, celebrating and inspiring women worldwide.

4. You were born in Russia, but you have been naturalised as a Brit and live in London. Being an Expat myself for many years, I have been very much influenced by the countries where I used to live and work at the same time many of my character traits remain very CZ and German. Where do you see have that you have become more British and which part would you say is very Russian?

I’ve learned to queue and I forever aspire to be more subtle but I am passionate, honest and gregarious, which must be my Russian heritage. I have been fairly well ‘anglacised’ but I do miss Russian spontaneity.

5. Do you have a power dressing code when you are conducting your interviews with all these amazing ladies? Which of my dresses in which colour would you like the best to wear to one of your interviews with “Ladies Who Impress”

I like the look of Anya and Alana in red and blue.


Thank you for your time!


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