8 March was International Women’s Day. The theme of the day was #BeBoldForChange, and I had an awesome, unforgettable, game-changing day for 2to3days. I wanted to share with you what I got up on behalf of our fast-growing community.
2to3days is only 18 months old, still regarded as a ‘startup’ comprising a small team of ambitious people who are on a mission to end one of the UK's biggest current dilemmas – how do we unearth the employers who ‘get’ the value of hiring a smart, ambitious mother on terms on anything other than your traditional full-time contract and connect them to the most hidden but ‘most’ capable and committed workforce in the country, if not the world!
Our aim is to be the UK No 1 site and the message I would like to feedback to each and every one of you brilliant mothers and forward-thinking employers is we are making tremendous headway in achieving that goal.
So here’s a quick snapshot into my day what I did, what I learnt and who I met.
It started with me forgetting to make a packed lunch for my daughter who was off on a school trip! Suffice to say she didn’t go hungry and I think I am forgiven.
1. Breakfast with Sadiq Khan and Allbright (funders of female-led businesses)
Sadiq Khan opened the breakfast session telling us that he is a feminist and totally committed to getting more women working in the capital, as currently 1/3 of all senior jobs are done by men, who earn 12% more than women – complete shocker!!
The press team were in full force and I had a split second to grab his attention to tell him about 2to3days and I did, phew! The upshot of which is I am now in touch with his colleague who is responsible for talent acquisition, so watch this space.
We then had a panel discussion with three female founders, Cat Gizzoli of Piccolo, Aneeqa Khan of ePorta and Emily Forbes of Seenit who shared their entrepreneurial journey and their pearls of wisdom included:
- Grab the silver lining of every situation
- You grow with likeminded people around you, not by doing it on your own
- Self-confidence – separate personal from business – social media makes it tough and brilliant so surround yourself with people who will champion you
2. Lunch with Real Estate Women and BNP Paribas
The man responsible for the event (which I didn’t know before I arrived) had been my Head of Talent 20 years ago when I was a Chartered Surveyor – so you just don’t know what connections you will reignite when you turn up to an event!
Two brilliant women addressed the room, Ainslie McLennan from TH Real Estate and Dr Clare Eriksson Director of Research at the RICS. Their talks were peppered with great insights.
Dr Clare had been told in order to get ahead
- Never pour the coffee
- Don’t take too many notes in case you are asked to write up the minutes!
When looking to do anything that will help you progress always ask – the worse anyone can say is ‘no’ and they will, but ask anyway!
- #BeBoldForChange – ‘Be’ your own personality
Dr Clare went on to talk about financial security for women vs choices:
"...childcare should not in my opinion be a woman’s issue but a family issue. When my children were tiny my husband saw our childcare cost as an investment in my career not as a cost that had to be worn heavily on my shoulders ( I won’t lie, at times it still did, as that is the mind set of our society but it made those tough conversations a lot easier to have due to his mind set!)"
Whilst Ainslie McLennan encouraged us all to:
- ‘fire our line managers’ if they don’t ‘hear’ you and help you progress!
- ‘Be’ curious, look for solutions
- ‘Be’ upfront – don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to the person it was meant for!
3. Afternoon reception at No. 10 Downing Street
Yup, I got to walk through the famous black door! The Prime Minister hosted an event to celebrate and thank all the people from the armed forces, charities through to business who are collectively making a contribution to the empowerment of women and I made the cut – this was a landmark moment for me both personally and professionally and one that will be cherished for years to come. I made some fabulous connections with captains of industry who loved my story about 2to3days – I now have some very key sales meetings in the diary – the jobs are coming and just for you!
4. Evening cocktails at the Power of Women Awards by Dress for Success hosted by the CBI
I was humbled to watch women from across industry receive awards for their contribution to female empowerment in the workplace – I also made some more great connections from more captains of industry who just love the 2to3days mission!
By 9pm I crawled home – both exhausted and exhilarated by my day.
#BeBoldForChange – my takeaways from this incredible day:
- Be your true self – my authentic self is powerful
- 'May I say hi?' or 'May I join your conversation?' – that’s all you ever have to say to join a conversation to make your next great connection
- ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ – Be you!