Are You Ready To Press For Progress?

This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, justice and gender equality. Now, more than ever, there's a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There's a strong call to #PressforProgress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

Photos: Thomas Duffield; Group shot of our panellists: Griselda Togobo, Forward Ladies; Susan Clark, LCF Law; Pauline Wilson, Virgin Holidays; Sarah Tulip, aql; Suzanne Smith, Soteria Asbestos; 

In the year that marks 100 years since the first women got the vote in the UK, Forward Ladies in partnership with aql and LCF Law, marked this milestone with a conference which was held at aql, Salem Chapel in Leeds, last Friday.

Despite the weather, we had a fantastic time celebrating International Women's Day. Guests arrived to join us for a networking session and listen to our two guest speakers for the day, followed by the panel session with the experts. Our speakers Pauline Wilson and Nicola Elliott joined us to share their insights about their lives as prominent women in business.

Griselda Togobo, managing director of Forward Ladies said:

“Our speakers and those joining us on the day are everyday heroines, trailblazers and role models who are unapologetically pursuing their dreams and breaking through new barriers – inspiring their communities." 

Although from totally different sectors of the business world, Pauline is Chief Operations Director of Virgin Holidays and Nicola Elliott, founder of Neom Organics, they both shared some common opinions about being successful in your chosen field.

Pauline talked about her life as a woman in a male-dominated world and how difficult it had been with some of the scenarios she's faced, but in her career, she has definitely trail blazed the path for women and is passionate about encouraging females into the corporate world.  She talked about her life and gave her tips to keep it real - being authentic, never to over promise and under deliver and to lead by example.

Pauline also mentioned that no matter how successful you might be, you can’t rest on your laurels and we all need a helping hand from time to time. It’s not enough to assume we know it all and you will be surprised at just how generous others can be with their time, sharing of experiences and knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s ear… and never be “too busy” when someone asks for your advice or support too.

Nicola shared her inspiring success story and reminded everyone that success is whatever you choose it to be and that if you want that success, you have to take a seat at the table. Nicola urged us to own our success and to take advantage of our women’s intuition.

Nicola’s speech encouraged us to go out there, step outside our comfort zone and do what needs to be done. Business can be fun but it can also be tough. She warned us that we might face a lot of rejection, criticism and fall several times, but we have to be tenacious. We have to be strong and we have to believe in ourselves.

Nicola left us with the thought that there are no barriers to success, only the barriers which we create for ourselves.

The panel Q&A session uncovered personal tips from our speakers and panellists on how to be a good leader, and their advice for being successful in business. This session delivered strong messages with warmth and humour in a setting which enabled all the attendees to meet like-minded business women, network and take home valuable insights to use in real life.

Our speakers and panellists demonstrated a great passion for what they do and achieved their success despite facing a lot of adversity. What can we learn from these women? Here are a few key messages from the event, to help live a bold and enriching life:

  1. Love what you do or do what you love. Go the extra mile and so become a huge success at whatever they put their hands to. Follow your dreams and your passions. You only get one shot at life.
  2. Speak up - you have a voice. Use it. We have to be ready to speak up for ourselves and for others. Nothing great was ever achieved when people failed to use their voice.
  3. Don’t underestimate what you can achieve. Put yourself forward for that project, for promotions, start that business. Dream big and go for it.
  4. Take control and lead - be ready to lead. I see far too many women who are not ready to lead because they see leadership through the lens of male stereotypes. We need more female leaders to redefine and rebrand what leadership looks like in the 21st century and beyond.

Always remember – a 100 years ago, women fought for the rights and privileges we now take for granted. What will they think now about how we are using those same privileges they fought so hard for? Ultimately, pressing for progress is about self-belief. Believe in yourself and your ability to make a difference.

It's a great time to be a woman. Nothing can change that. Our success is vital to the success of the global economy.

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Do you have trouble planning for the future because you’re so bogged down by the day-to-day? Well, you’re not alone. And we have a great solution. Join us on 23rd May to get the essentials you need to start or grow your business in just one day! BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE

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