17th July 2019, we went up to the very beautiful Ramside Hall to attend the ‘Inspiring Females Conference’ put on by the North East Chamber of Commerce. On the agenda for the day was a line-up of incredible, accomplished women from a diverse range of backgrounds, each with their own unique, inspiring story and these are the 4 main lessons we’ve learned from our day:
1) Your staff are your greatest asset.
Brenda Coade – the owner of Designer Childrenswear – spoke of her determination to share her success with her employees and her ambition to become a company that people aspire to work for. Brenda’s ethos is a sentiment shared by us as a company, as many businesses forget that your greatest asset is your staff and showing genuine appreciation can increase loyalty and good feeling within a team.
2) The Curse of the Strong
Many of us in the office have children, and A New View’s, Steph Edusei, struck a chord with many attendees when discussing life demands.
“Being overwhelmed is not a sign of weakness; we just need to understand when to ask for and accept help – a true sign of strength.”
This was reinforced by the breakout session we attended led by Donna Elliott and Cheryl Lee from coaching business, ‘Now Is Your Time’. The theme was ‘Mindfulness’ and in the hour that followed, we took part in an emotionally charged guided meditation and learnt 7 powerful and practical mindset strategies. It left us feeling both uplifted and calmed and they encouraged delegates to take more time for themselves when we often come bottom of the list on a day full of responsibilities.
3) We’ve all got a part to play
Although they were telling very different stories, Go North East’s youngest ever depot manager, Sophie Moorby, Head of Corporate Affairs at Esh Group, Darush Dodds and The Wonderful Wig Company’s Nicola Wood were all sending a similar message.
Sophie, Darush, and Nicola have, and continue to use, their influence and experience to try and improve things for others. Sophie and Darush are both working to address the gender imbalance in their respective male-dominated sectors, whilst Nicola is using her skills and direct experience with cancer to offer other sufferers an experience which would help them to claim back some control regarding their appearance at a time when everything else is in free-fall.
Although they’re three individuals in different organisations, each person is setting into motion a chain reaction of positive outcomes and setting the example to others around them. From empowering people with hair loss, to realigning gender imbalance, each talk was extremely thought-provoking.
4) The two key ingredients for successful flexible working
Waterstons Susan Bell discussed the hot topic, flexible working. Many companies claim to offer it but few do successfully, and Susan stated that she believed that flexibility starts with team culture and made a profound point that ultimately “flexible working is about trust and empowerment” – fundamental points that we’re sure no-one can disagree with.
We are huge believers in flexible working and plan to continue to grow the company allowing flexible work.
We came away from the conference feeling enriched and looking forward to attending future events organised by NECC.