10 brilliant things we learnt from Marie Claire @Work Live

Marie Claire’s @Work Live 2016 was inspiring for everyone involved...

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Marie Claire’s @Work Live 2016 was inspiring for everyone involved...

Marie Claire @Work Live 2016 was a day of game-changing talks, practical advice, invaluable mentoring and hands-on workshops – all packed into one bespoke event at Altitude 360, designed to take your career and working life to the next level.

It brought together career-focused women of all ages and industries looking for inspiration, advice and skills to advance their careers, change direction or set out on their own.

First up was an insightful debate on career change chaired by MC's very own Editor In Chief Trish Halpin with a panel made up of TV presenter Anita Rani, Google’s Nishma Robb, psychologist Laverne Antrobus and the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, Laura Bates.

Our morning breakout sessions taught us the secrets of personal branding, such as how to turn a blog into a viable business and negotiating success in a changing work climate, followed by inspirational thought bursts from Karen Blackett OBE, Stella Creasy MP and bestselling author Sophie Kinsella.

Next came the fashion masterclasses from the Marie Claire team at the Next Style Lounge, consultations at the Work Lab and multiple beauty treatments before the afternoon breakout sessions began.

The talks varied from ‘Top tips for starting your own business’ and ‘Demystifying coding’ to ‘How to avoid burnout’ and ‘Unlocking your inner zen’. The day finally concluded with a keynote speech by the amazing Isy Suttie and some delicious Cointreau Fizz cocktails to enjoy whilst networking.

Here's what we learned from the day... 1 Ask for help… Asking for help can make a world of difference and is something that is necessary to succeed, explained Lind&Almond’s Pernille Lind, highlighting that you should never be afraid to ask for anything, whether it’s for a promotion, support or more money. ‘It took me a long time to put my hands up and admit “I’m not good at everything, and that’s ok”’ explained Google’s Nishma Robb, but ‘it’s ok to reach out and ask for help, it’s not a weakness’ agreed Laura Bates. 2 Don’t be afraid of failure… One of the key things that the inspirational speakers taught us is to not be afraid of failure. ‘The way the world works now you have to constantly put your neck out and take risks’ explained Isy Suttie in her keynote speech, and failures are inevitable. Laverne Antrobus described them perfectly during her debate as ‘the building blocks for change’ with TV presenter Anita Rani agreeing ‘I never feel failure. What’s the worst that can happen?’ 3 A few staples can create an on-trend SS16 work wardrobe… The Marie Claire fashion team hosted a work wardrobe masterclass with Next and gave us the very best fashion tips, teaching us how to creating a work wardrobe that showcases our own personal style. The white shirt is ‘a key building piece in your wardrobe for work & weekend’, they explained, and ‘the off-the-shoulder shape is the new favourite for SS16’. In terms of trousers they explained that ‘this season’s key item is the wide leg trouser and they should be worn long’ and to top the outfit off ‘the sleeveless jacket is the go-to this season and longline is most flattering’.

4 Embrace technology… If there’s one thing that the breakout sessions taught us, it’s that technology is fundamental. ‘The role of technology in social mobility is huge’, explained the CEO of Code First: Girls, Amali de Alwis, ‘get your nieces, cousins, nephews into tech – it’s such an important thing.’ 5 Writing a book is one hell of a commitment... The vast majority of us have all proclaimed at some point or another that we are going to write a book, but bestselling author Sophie Kinsella warned that it’s a lot harder than you think and compared the process to ‘having a baby’. Her top tips for making a bestseller are faith, courage and time, ‘I was honest and authentic’ she explained, ‘and people related to that’. 6 You need more than one skill... One skill is not enough to launch your own business or start a career. It is necessary to develop a wide variety of skills and tools for success. ‘Build a hybrid skill set’ Kitty Sax explained, ‘Be a 7/10 at a myriad of things’.

7 Trust your intuition in business... There was a recurring theme throughout the event of trusting your business intuition. ‘We’re all intuitive – it’s our most important sense’ explained Katie Winterbourne, ‘I believe that your first thought is your best thought’. 8 Don’t discount meditation... We discovered how to unlock our inner zen and how to avoid a meltdown by factoring in a bit of meditation. 'When we commit to just 10 minutes of meditation a day, the stress centre of the brain shrinks' explained Veronica Winterbourne, 'the ABC of mindfulness is Awareness, Breath, Calm.' To make your week that bit more relaxing she suggests walking for just 15 minutes at lunch three times a week to clear your mind during the working day.'

9 The people that you surround yourself with are important... A lot of important and influential women credit the people around them for their success, ‘find people to turn to… who are your cheerleaders?’ asked Karen Blackett. ‘Create the board you can’t afford from the people you know, people who can help, people who inspire’ explained Kathleen Saxton.

10 Go for it... ‘Don’t sit on the sidelines. Recognise that you have the power to change things’ said Stella Creasy, encouraging women to just go for it and make a change. Other speakers agreed, highlighting the importance of passion, ‘it goes a hell of a long way. Tell people what you love – even if it sounds mad – and never shy away’ and ‘take opportunities when they come, it leads to others like a domino effect.’ Karen Blackett OBE left us with this inspiration statement: ‘Be resilient. Move on. Accept the things you cannot control.’

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.