The IoD Women as Leaders Convention

IoD Women as Leaders Convention 2017

Yesterday a team from Franklins invited a group of women in business to share a table with us at the IoD’s third Women as Leader’s Convention. Here are some highlights of the day and what we enjoyed about the event…

The Attendees

We were pleased to see a real diverse mix of women (and some men) in the room, coming to hear more from the planned speakers for the day. We heard from a lady who works in promoting Basketball (as well as other pool-based sports) nationwide to girls and women.

There was Dr Janine Brooks who runs a coaching and training business specifically for Dentists and she shared some statistics around gender and socio-economic graduate levels in dentistry training that were alarming for her industry. It seems that there is a big majority of female dentists being trained, and yet…not many men. Her field is having the opposite of the stereotypical gender inequality issue.

Here is a picture of the ladies at our table:

Franklins Solicitors Table at Women as Leaders convention

(Picture - from left: me, Anna-Lou Dearden; Philippa Cutler; Amy Gregory; Marie Hammond; Jane Stevens; Rosie Wright)

The Speakers

The day was full of interesting speakers and we were not short on inspiring stories, heartfelt sharing of real agonising failures in business, as well as some sobering and very illuminating statistics.

We heard from Camille McLean the founder and proprietor of The Pickled Village. She shared her moving entrepreneurial journey of merchant bankers investing early on in her business, and then losing her business completely and having to start over in a little old village shop (that used to be a post office). Her products are now on Waitrose shelves and we can’t wait to try the samples she kindly left for us all. Look her up – she has a great story!

Camille McLean of The Pickled Village

Next up – we had a panel of 5 speakers…

Women as Leaders Convention Panel speakers

(From left: Sue Smith, Lt Col Mandy Davanna; James Jarvis; Fiona Baldwin; Rachel Hargraves)

We first heard from James Jarvis who is the Corporate Governance Analyst at the IoD. He walked us through some of the highlights of what he has been working on to produce the IOD’s ‘2016 Good Governance Report’. He was refreshing to hear in terms of delivery, and definitely someone you would want to talk to at length. He clearly is very well versed on his subject. On our tables, we received a copy of the report to take home.

IOD's 2016 Corporate Governance report

We then heard from Rachel Hargrave who shared some of the pivotal moments in her PR Agency business. Again, really genuine heartfelt sharing of some experiences that must have been really painful. Some of those were losing big multi-million pound contracts because of economics and even…a tsunami. Risks that she could not have ever forecasted and eventually led to her having to go into administration.

Lt Col Mandy Davanna is essentially a qualified tax adviser by day, but also volunteers for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland Army Cadet Force. She gave us some insights into how far the British Army has come in terms of how women can now comfortably build their careers within the Army. And it was great to hear about some of the very senior positions women are now holding within the Army and even within the Sandhurst Military Academy.

Fiona Baldwin form Grant Thorton was also a great addition to this panel. She had some good, balanced insights to share and also educate us as an audience about the kinds of things that Grant Thornton are putting in place (along with other businesses of course) to bring equality in terms of pay equality as well as looking after graduates and work experience people.

Last, but certainly not least was the effervescent Sue Smith who is stepping down as Joint-CEO of the Cherwell and South Northamptonshire Council at the end of this week. She talked to us a bit about how CPD has played a big role in her career and her job role choices over the years. She has led a really interesting life and it was great to hear how she chose her path at each point in her life. She really is a testament to how you should look at training opportunities, and how much value there is in knowing what you want to do, and what you don’t.

A big thank you to the IoD team for a well hosted and organised event. Our table definitely got a lot out of the day.

Image courtesy of 123rf.com