If you don’t know, this weekend we hosted our inaugural #SheStartedItLIVE, festival of female empowerment, at Home Grown Club in Marylebone. We had more than 90 attendees, listening to the wise words of over 40 speakers, from tech CEOs to self-care gurus, on the future of work, careers and progress for women. It was simply magical. The energy, vibe and love in the space reinforced everything I believe: that when you put strong, capable, powerful women in a room together, to share, learn and grow together, amazing things happen.
For those that weren’t able to attend, I thought I would share some of the key insights from the day. We’re organising 4 brand new #SheStartedItLIVE festivals next year, including a trip north to Manchester, so if you’d like to stay in the loop, sign up our newsletter here. Here’s a few takeaways that will stay with me from the day:
- On parenting, so much still needs to be done for working parents. Fixing a broken childcare system, pushing for flexible working as standard & making the process of applying for childcare funding more tech-friendly are priorities right now. Kathryn Tyler, Co-Founder of Digital Mums, explained that the working world is moving at a faster pace than ever before – and so digital skills become outdated very quickly. We need to create space for working mothers to develop skills and keep learning, even whilst taking time off, so that they can transition back into work more smoothly. And we need to stop hiding being a parent from our CVs! Being a parent is part of your identity & shouldn’t be something that we are afraid of “putting employers” off.
- When it comes to starting your own business, make sure you REALLY love your work. As heard in our IRL Entrepreneurship Forum, love and passion are the only things that really gets your through. The goal posts, vision & strategy can change, naturally, but make sure you love the work you do. And if you’re going into business with someone, make sure your values align. As Alice Asquith, Founder of Asquith London, said: “pick a business partner wisely, are they going to work as hard as you? Do they love your business like you do?”
- Whilst it’s great there are more female entrepreneurs than ever, certain industries are still woefully neglected. Pip Jamieson, Founder of The Dots, pushed for the need for more representation of women in tech – “I’m sick of being the only woman in the room” she said, “we need more women pursuing careers in tech & levelling the playing field for investment”
- Self-kindness can take many forms. Shahroo Izadi, behavioural change expert & author of The Kindness Method, took us through a masterclass of self-kindness. The takeaway? Speak to yourself like you would to a loved one – with kindness, compassion and encouragement. Self-care might not look like bubble baths & yoga to everyone – find whatever fills your cup, and make sure to do a little something for yourself every day.
- When it comes to building a business online, work out where your audience are hanging out & attract them in a clever, distinct way. So that might be Instagram for your business, or LinkedIn. Find the platform that works best for your audience and don’t try to be everywhere. Sapphire Bates, Founder of The Coven, talked about the importance of testing your product before taking it to market: “I worked on The Coven for free, for about 9 months, just speaking to our audience & finding out what would be really useful for them. It’s all about the audience, we just want to deliver the best service for them and be a really useful platform”
- We ALL need to learn to talk about money more confidently. In our Personal Finance panel, one of the key takeaways was the importance of women building their confidence when it comes to talking about – and looking after – money. Our financial literacy is, at the end of the day, power – and having a strong sense of your finances is super empowering. So whether it’s savings, salaries or spending, getting a sense of your personal financial habits, goals and abilities is really important. Tips for salary negotiating? Tamara Gillan, Founder of the WealthiHer Network, said it’s all about confidence – don’t be the first one to say a number and don’t rush into agreeing anything, either!
- On social media, consistency is king. That was the key message from Sara Tasker, Instagram expert, who said she carved out a visual identity for her Instagram profile by setting herself content challenges, such as a 365 project. And use Instagram Stories to gather feedback from your audience & ask questions – it doesn’t need to be glossy like the main feed, just a low-key way of chatting to your audience.
- On nutrition, health advice is more confusing than ever – so make sure to listen to the experts. Rhiannon Lambert, Harley Street Nutritionist, chatted to Rachel Hosie about the confusing state of nutrition right now: “There’s more confusing messages than ever before, so make sure to listen to registered nutritionist and not just get your health advice from Instagram!” Ask yourself: are you eating this because you want it, or because you think it will look pretty to photograph? Strange times we’re living in, people.
- When it comes to body image, there’s no quick solution to feeling happy and confident in our bodies, but one thing’s for sure: we ALL need to worry less. Womankind are holding themselves back through with constant concern over body image – in a way that I feel sure men aren’t – so let’s just say that our thigh gaps are the least interesting thing about us. Let’s strive for more. Like… the pay gap, for example? Natasha Devon, body image campaigner, talked about how running had helped her feel good in her body: “sometimes, it’s healthy to do something you’re really bad at. I run like Phoebe from Friends, but I’m OK with that – running connects my head and my body, making me feel more grounded and happy”
- Finally, my personal learning, is that women still need more spaces to share and grow together. Whether it’s talking about finance, hormones or business, we’ll progress much quicker by supporting and helping each other, so let’s carve out those spaces, for ourselves and future generations… And let’s start today.