This week I attended the IOD’s Enterprising Women’s Conference. It was held at the amazing Stockport Plaza – an incredible art deco building that was saved from recent demolition. We even had the old-fashioned music hall organ being played at lunchtime!

There was a super line up of women and men sharing their insights about women in business. I thought I’d share a few of the learnings and highlights that I picked up.

It was hosted by the hilarious Heather Wight (who incidentally is the keynote speaker at our next WLA event in November). Sharon Amesu began by talking about ‘Slaying the Giant Within’. We all suffer from that negative self-talk – you know that voice that constantly tells us we are not good enough or worse: “Who do you think you are to be doing……?” You maybe that woman who is blessed with a rich and positive inner voice. A voice that is telling you how wonderful you are. But my guess is and actually, most of the women I coach, are brilliant at holding ourselves back by our own limiting beliefs and thoughts.

Sharon’s advice was to ‘do it anyway’. And I completely agree. You have to step into the uncomfortable space, into that fear. You’ll find that somehow it’s never as bad as you had mentally rehearsed it to be.

There was a very informative presentation by Melissa Conlon who is the Commercial Director for AMRC.  She talked about women in manufacturing – how do we get more women into the sector and keep them. What was fascinating about her talk was her reference to how women make products to protect and keep others safe. Did you know that women invented the following:

How interesting is that!

Another interesting discussion was a panel on ‘Becoming a Non-Exec Director’.There were three excellent panellists: Mike Blackburn the IOD Regional Chair (OBE); Joelle Warren Chair at an executive recruitment company (OBE) and Vanda Murray, Chair at Marshalls plc (OBE). Here’s a couple of Fascinating facts:

It’s no wonder that so many men get snapped up for roles! We have to believe in ourselves, stop being so loyal and seek those opportunities to fulfil our potential.

There’s tremendous opportunities for women wanting to sit on boards particularly given the Government’s driver to seek 30% of women on boards by 2020.  One way to get into the field is to start off as a school governor or perhaps see if you can support a local charity as a trustee – they are always looking for help.

The key message once again, was stop holding yourself back!  Many of you know that I see this through something called the ‘Tiara Syndrome’. Women would much rather wait to be invited as opposed to putting themselves forward.

Unfortunately  had to leave at lunchtime. So I missed a packed afternoon of more panels and keynote speakers. Despite many of us having a full schedule it is so important to attend events like this.

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