Warwick Women’s Summit 2020 – an amazing event! – OurWarwick

Warwick Women’s Summit 2020 – an amazing event!

The second Warwick Women’s Summit took place yesterday on campus and I am so happy I attended this amazing event! I got the chance to hear from a range of very inspiring, talented and interesting women, take part in two useful workshops and to network with other like-minded women over pizza and drinks. The entire day was centred around empowering women in their careers, whether they are progressing within an established company or starting their own. In a world that remains very much male-dominated, the advice from all these inspiring women that are thriving and powering through was invaluable! 

For those of you who missed out, here is an overview of what the day looked like and my top takeaways from the various sessions!

The day was divided into three panel discussions with 5-6 different women who took turns answering the panel chair’s questions. I really enjoyed this set-up as opposed to a more traditional keynote speech because it really highlighted the difference in approaches and experiences of the women. 

Panel 1 – How did they get there? Working towards career goals and achieving them 

The women discussed their career journey and what they did to get to where they are today. The emphasis was very much on learning, having a growth mindset and seizing every opportunity that comes your way. They were asked to share some of their ultimate success factors. Here are my favourites

Plan ahead – be organized, know what you want, what is required of you to achieve it and how you are going to achieve it

– Just go for it – say yes to every opportunity! 

– Stay true to yourself – pretending to be someone you are not is exhausting and unproductive

– Learn by doing – you don’t have to be an expert at everything in order to do well. Be interested and motivated to learn new skills and learn from every experience. 

Workshop 1 – How to launch a side hustle? Miwa Da Silva

My first workshop of the day (we got a chance to choose a workshop from a variety of different options before the event) was delivered by Miwa Da Silva. She is a Financial Risk Management consultant at KPMG. Alongside her full-time job, she runs her own business academy called Lauchgrowscale. Her inspirational and motivational Women Who Mean Business Instagram is definitely worth a follow! If you are thinking of starting your own side hustle, however big or small it might be, Miwa’s tips might be of use to you.

Know your WHY – why do you want to take on this side hustle? What drives you?

Worried about burnout? – think back to your Why and let that be the thing that keeps you going and focused. Be organized!

Fear of launching? – do your market research, find the gap/problem that needs fixing and tell people you have fixing it

Panel 2 – How to take care of the body, mind and soul

This panel focused on mental health, the importance of talking about it and tools and strategies for taking care of your own wellbeing as well of that of others. Every speaker had experienced difficult or traumatic moments in their lives, from being a survivor of rape, handling the responsibilities of being a carer, to battling depression or being abused as a child. They each bravely shared their story and demonstrated that it IS possible to come back from dark places and overcome the things we struggle with. I learned a lot from these wonderful speakers and I will dedicate a separate blog post to go into a bit more detail. Look out for that upcoming content on Thursday 5th March, Warwick’s Mental Health Day. 

Workshop 2 – bringing balance into your life: our 3 emotion regulating systems

This workshop was delivered by Karen Liebenguth, a life coach and mindfulness trainer. She started the session by guiding us through a 5-minute grounding mediation before teaching us about our major emotion systems. We have three:

– the drive system, where we feel motivated, successful and happy

– the protection system, where we are hyper-alert, feel stressed, anxious, low and sad

– the contentment system, where we are relaxed, lighthearted and having fun 

The session was a great opportunity for me to reflect on which system I tend to be in the most, how I navigate from one to the other and what techniques I can implement to make sure I am as balanced as possible.

Panel 3 – Sisterhood: how to build each other up 

The final panel of the Summit was all about supporting each other, ensuring women not only are included in the workplace but equally that they feel like they belong, and how we can be drivers of change together. Here is what stuck with me the most: 

* If you want to see a shift in society, you need to commit to being that shift – Scarlett from Smart Girl Tribe. Scarlett’s message was very much about walking the talk, both for yourself and for other women. Don’t just talk about it – do it!  Be the woman who goes after what she wants. Be the woman who supports other women. Be the woman who includes men in the conversation. 

* Stop seeking permission or validation. Know your worth and trust your capabilities. Apply for that position, even if you don’t meet all the job requirements. 

* Everyone can teach you something. Be open-minded, be curious and recognize the open doors out there. 

* Men are our allies. We need men to hear us, to stand by us, to support us. A question was raised whether we ought to have called the Summit something along the lines of the “Everyone Summit”, to ensure men feel equally welcome to attend. Although not all the speakers or members of the audience agreed, the answer seems very simple to me – men should be showing up, regardless of the name we give to the event. The fact that they don’t says enough. 

Congratulations to the organizing committee for hosting such an incredible event. I can’t wait for next year’s! 

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