Based around an annual conference, the WIE Symposium, the idea is to provide professional women with a place to share ideas, encourage each other and improve their networking skills, with the ultimate - albeit ambitious- aim of reaching gender equality in the workplace.
"Companies say they haven't got enough women on their boards.
But as soon as I see spy June, now 35, in leopard-print trousers and a broad smile on her face, I’m reassured.
Soon we’re discussing the Downton Abbey Christmas special, “I’m Ob-sessesd,” she shrieks, and the problems (she's currently single) of the New York dating scene, “Men are always looking over your shoulder for something better to come along – what’s that about?
After spending five years working in the US, living in LA then New York, the former T4 presenter from Walthamstow has been lured back." I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed London until I was here last Christmas for the first time in two years, and then I had an out-of-body experience in M&S over a trifle,” she says with her distinctive throaty laugh.
There is a non-dessert-related reason for her return: the expansion of WIE, the women’s network she founded with fellow Ghanaian Brit Dee Poku three years ago, which is now increasing its UK presence.
The idea for WIE came after a talk by Sarah Brown, Gordon Brown's wife, who at a dinner asked the assembled crowd to pledge to do something to help other women. So far they have held three conferences in America, attracting speakers such as Tamara Mellon, Melinda Gates and Diane Von Furstenberg alongside leaders from the worlds of politics, business, fashion, media and entertainment, among others.
" Mixing the fun with the serious business is her trademark.
Now she’s putting her experience – and contacts - to a new use.Since 2010, she has combined TV work (chiefly co-presenting Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura) with WIE, or Women: Inspiration and Enterprise.Part of that is because women are not so confident in putting themselves forward.” “We want to empower women to go to the next level," says Sarpong.She thinks British women have a lot to learn from their American counterparts: “Women in New York hand over their business card at ‘hello’, I think that might be a bit much for British women, but we should at least hand over our cards at ‘goodbye,’” she says.
The move also coincides with the end of T4, Channel 4’s weekend morning ‘hangover slot’ which finishes this month after 14 years.Sarpong spent nine of those presenting in between episodes of Friends and the OC and as the go-to interviewer for celebrities from Brad Pitt to Britney Spears. “We [follow presenters Dermot O’Leary, Steve Jones, Miquita Oliver and Vernon Kay] are grown-ups now.” The distinctly adult setting she’s chosen for our meeting - a quiet private member’s club in Mayfair, complete with Hockney prints on the wall – seems appropriate for the “new phase” in her life, if not a little sedate.