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Lynne Parker

Founder and Chief Executive of Funny Women

As an award winning producer, Lynne has combined her interests in entertainment and charity with her experience in media and marketing. She came up with the idea of Funny Women after years of working with entertainment, fashion, beauty and health brands largely aimed at a female market.

Originally trained as a journalist Lynne spent the first years of her career working in women’s magazines for publishing groups Nat Mags and IPC writing about fashion and beauty topics.

“If you’ve seen the film, the Devil Wears Prada, this gives you some idea of what I went through when I started my career!” explains Lynne. “I even knocked my teeth out when I worked on a particularly posh publication – I’m sure I was the inspiration for Ugly Betty!”

After editing a fashion trade magazine Lynne went on to set up a lingerie boutique where she gained even further insight into the psyche of women. “Your underwear says a lot about you,” she explains. “I learned so much from watching women purchasing their most intimate items of clothing. Very revealing.”

When Lynne sold the shop she began a new phase of her career in public relations and marketing along with stints as a TV presenter for cable television channel, Living. Lynne eventually set up her own PR consultancy and managed many successful promotional campaigns for well known brands like Asda, W H Smith, The Prince’s Trust, Thames Water, Hyundai Car UK, Pepe Jeans, Umbro, Nike, Avon, Almay, Innoxa and Yardley.

“Funny Women grew out of a creative idea for a client who went on to tell me that women aren't funny,” explains Lynne. ‘I am enjoying my 13th year of proving him wrong! I am proud to be the founder of the UK’s leading female comedy community.”

The first Funny Women event took place in 2002 and since then Lynne has produced 12 Funny Women Awards, numerous charity events, 11 runs of Funny Women at the world famous Edinburgh Fringe, and Funny Women runs shows and workshops all over the UK. Funny Women has also raised thousands of pounds and awareness for a range of female related causes and charities under the banner of ‘laughing about life to help and heal women’.

Funny Women has attracted sponsorship from major brands including Babycham, Lee Cooper, Sheilas’ Wheels, British Airways, Avon, Moschino, Nivea, Boots, RBS and NatWest. Funny Women has been working with Benefit Cosmetics for the last three years in a relationship that is expanding and developing the brand into new and exciting areas.

Lynne launched Funny Women into the business arena five years ago which offers a training and coaching programme for women based on stand up techniques to build self confidence and present with humour. This has proven to be a successful formula helping the women in both their professional and personal lives.

“I am passionate about giving women their voice and I’ve seen how learning to use humour helps women to become more assertive and confident. We started running comedy workshops for women alongside the Funny Women Awards and our business activity gives us the opportunity to extend these techniques to women from all walks of life.”

Lynne’s commitment to her works has been recognised with two prestigious Awards at the NatWest Ladies at E11even Business Awards. The first was the Inspirational Woman Award, for overcoming personal hurdles and challenges in business, and the second was the NatWest Award for outstanding business success.

Lynne was nominated as one of One Hundred Unseen Powerful Women ‘who change the world’ in recognition of her outstanding work in the area of arts and media. The list was created by the charity, One World Action to celebrate its work promoting women’s leadership around the world. She was also the recipient of the Women's Champion award in from the Achievers Academy for Women in 2012.

Lynne is married to composer and music producer, Richard Lightman, and has two grown up (ish) children, aged 26 and 22. She had a long association with the Certified Institute of Public Relations and was the president of Women in PR from 2001-2003. Lynne is an active member of Women in Journalism, Women in Film and TV, and a partner in the government’s Women’s Engagement Programme.

Lynne regularly appears on television and radio, writes and comments in national newspapers and is working on a book based on her experiences of working in comedy.

If you would like to speak to Lynne or find out more about the Funny Women Awards, Workshops or business events, please call 020 8948 4444 or email info@funnywomen.com . You can also visit www.funnywomen.com and www.lynneparker.co.uk.

Remain of the Days - Why Brexit Broke My Heart

My remaining days as a European are sadly numbered. I have just spent the last week away on business in Italy and Germany as a guilt-free Europhile. I was still in Germany when the EU Referendum results were announced and at breakfast in my hotel I felt like I had to apologise on behalf of Great Britain for the ghastly reality of Brexit.
27/06/2016 16:30 BST

Comedy Is a Serious Business

A couple of weeks ago I bumped into a married couple who I know from my PR days at a comedy gig and was asked by the husband if I was still doing 'that comedy thing'. The oddness of this, quite apart from the dismissive tone of his question, is that they are both perfectly aware that Funny Women is my business rather than just a 'thing'.
08/03/2016 11:24 GMT

Hipster Replacement

In the last few weeks I've been to Hoxton, at least twice, bought trainers and a lightweight high-performance puffa jacket, adjudicated two short film awards and harvested enough menopausal facial hair to constitute the makings of a fine beard. Do I qualify as a 'hipster'? In fact, what is a 'hipster'?
05/10/2015 11:59 BST

What TED Taught Me About Myself

I am not alone. A New York Times survey in 1984 placed death third in a list of people's biggest fears. The first two were walking into a room full of strangers and speaking in public. So the whole TED phenomena taps into our inner fears and, as somebody who sends people o
15/06/2015 12:59 BST

Why All Women Line-Ups Are Still a 'Big Deal'

It all started with a glib remark by a male comedy promoter 15 years ago who replied to my question about why he never booked any women by stating that <em>'women aren't funny'</em> and furthermore that <em>'there aren't any funny women on the circuit'</em>.
08/05/2015 17:34 BST

Women Making a Stand for Equal Political Power

There has to be change in government and not just in terms of political parties. The biggest change must be a broader representation of women at all levels. This is why I particularly applaud and admire the efforts of modern day suffragette, Frances Scott, founder and leader of the 50:50 Parliament campaign and petition.
29/04/2015 15:43 BST

Missing Pieces and New Horizons

A little piece of me has evaporated. Two little pieces in fact. I have a new home which is occupied by two of us rather than four; there is a full fridge and no pile of shoes and coats in the hallway. I am in silent mourning for something that is missing yet still not far away.
16/03/2015 11:55 GMT

Fat Isn't Funny - When Two Become One

I have not done this quickly either and the project is very much ongoing. Four months or thereabouts in, the benefits of being more like my former trim self are beginning to become apparent. Along with the jeans a plethora of other favourite garments banished to the nether regions of my wardrobe are now reinstated for everyday wear.
06/11/2014 11:42 GMT

Why I Am an Accidental Entrepreneur

Falling back on my journalistic training, a surprisingly successful 25 career as a public relations consultant followed, during which I developed the courage and confidence to promote my own business as well as those of my clients. By the time I accidentally became a 'comedy producer', I had accumulated a wealth of experience and a collection of useful skills to grow my own brand.
04/10/2014 14:27 BST

Acting up at The Poor School Can Make You 'Rich'

What does matter is what you take away from it. Four days away from emails and social media banter made for a very welcome break and to spend an hour working out where my diaphragm exists in my body, or sing about 'Clambake' surrounded by assorted foreign accents puts a whole new perspective on life.
21/07/2014 14:45 BST

Improvise Your Way Through Life

I cannot actually remember where this particular bit of advice began and believe it to be deep rooted in my childhood somewhere. It is very simple - 'improvise your way through life'. I remember my late father saying things like 'You hum it and I'll sing it' when I came to him with a challenge. This was his way of reiterating the art of improvisation and no task was ever too large.
04/07/2014 16:41 BST

The End of Innocence

A few days later my friend took me aside at school to show me his latest letter to her which implied more of a relationship than was acceptable to our adolescent sensibilities. He professed undying love with the first glimmer of what he would like to do to her behind the elephant house!
06/06/2014 12:11 BST

Even Up the Odds to Beat Everyday Sexism in Comedy

A 19 year old novice stand-up comic of our acquaintance was recounting the experience of her first ever gig. She told us that she had been announced on stage by a comedian who said that she had just performed a 'sexual favour' on him backstage.
28/04/2014 13:48 BST

The Beard: What Lies Beneath

Is the rising popularity of the beard a reflection of men's role in society today? Like hemlines rising with the onset of votes for women, full on masculine facial hair is making its own break for freedom and has become a 21st century fashion statement.
24/03/2014 16:27 GMT

When 'Madness' Is Confused With Genius

It takes a particular kind of creative, self-obsessive, imaginative, observant and courageous person to bare their very soul on stage. It is not always funny either, the image of the sad clown and smiley face, sad face masks of comedy and tragedy are emblematic of the tortured genius that inhabits some of the world's greatest comedians.
20/01/2014 18:02 GMT

Live to Work or Work to Live? Thoughts on the Third Metric

I have chosen vocation above money and success and that, unless you have sensibly accumulated a nest egg that you then use to fulfill your dream, is where I believe there is a place beyond Arianna's Third Metric to be explored.
05/08/2013 11:23 BST

Are Men the Fairer Sex? Challenging Perceptions with Comedy

In a moment of madness I decided to take on the challenge thrown down to us after last year's Funny Women Challenge to celebrate our 10th Anniversary by training up 10 business women to perform stand up, and take on the men! Sounds relatively simple, doesn't it? We'd done it several times before, albeit not on such a large scale, and the men seemed 'well up for it'...
05/06/2013 17:32 BST