A Monaco resident for over 20 years, Vanessa Ilsley has certainly helped shaped the local community for the better. Outside of her daily work and family life, the hardworking mother has been involved with several charitable organisations within the Principality. However, her greatest contribution has arguably been her leadership of the respected British Association of Monaco (BAM), an organisation which discreetly provides support to many British and Commonwealth residents in need. Here, we catch up Vanessa and discover what inspires her to continue helping others.
Q: How long have you lived in the Principality?
I first met my husband in 1994 and moved to Monaco in 1995.
Q: What three traits define you?
I consider my self hardworking, loyal but also enjoy life.
Q: Who are your heroes?
I am rather traditional and have always admired those intrepid female explorers who, despite the lack of all the amenities we have today, travelled the world and recorded wonderful experiences. I also have the greatest admiration for all those people who cope with whatever life throws at them in adversity and manage to overcome and inspire others.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
If we consider BAM, then moving the association forward during my 4 years of Presidency and ensuring Monaco is aware of our existence and the quiet, but essential, work that we do in the Principality.
Q: What has been the greatest challenge of your career so far?
Same as the last question!
Q: Where is your favourite place to eat or drink in Monaco?
There are so many places to go to in Monaco but in general, I very much like Quai des Artistes as a restaurant, especially for visitors to Monaco. Recently I have been visiting Cremaillere as a place to drink. The staff are very friendly and accommodating. I also like Maison de Caviar and regularly attend as do many of my friends.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
Probably still banking!
Q: How do you define success?
Finding your niche in life that allows you to achieve your goals.
Q: What is your favourite book?
My favourite has always been The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. However I have read quite avidly in the past and am happy to try out any genre, this includes reading up my teenagers school books!
Q: Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I seem serious, but underneath I am fun! In addition, if I could I would love to go off and save the planet!
Q: What do you love about Monaco?
The security is a priority, especially with children growing up here. I like the village atmosphere.
Q: What are the benefits of being a member of the British Association of Monaco?
The association offers social events on a monthly basis; some are fund raising to enable us to provide support to those British and Commonwealth residents in need. Despite Monaco being considered a ‘rich’ place, there are many residents who came here many years ago to work and have fallen on hard times. We are very discreet about providing help.