Prepare to be inspired...
The Saturday saw 300 career-focused women, of all ages and industries, gathering in the London hotel for inspiration, advice and skills to advance their careers, change direction or set out on their own.
This year’s theme was ‘playing to your strengths’, with a powerhouse line-up of CEOS, entrepreneurs, influencers and career coaches giving killer advice in a series of game-changing talks and workshops, closing with a keynote discussion between MC Editor-in-Chief Trish Halpin and singer and TV personality Alesha Dixon.
From talks on starting a business from scratch and Facebook Lives on creating a social media following, to a workshop in coping with stress and a lecture on determining what’s not your job, every session served up practical advice and some very inspirational quotes.
Here are some of the best takeaways from the event…
‘If we eliminated fear, we would fly. The universe only wants good things for us – you just have to be fearless.’ Alesha Dixon
‘Someone once described me as courageous and it was the biggest compliment I’ve ever been given. You don’t have to be born with courage. If you want it, you can have it.’ Victoria Pendleton
‘The biggest prison we live in is the fear of what other people think – if we change that mindset, we can be whatever we want to be.’ Aimee Bateman
‘Women are socialised to be perfect. We should be socialised to be brave.’ Stephanie Phair
Be open to mistakes:
‘We need to redefine the word “mistake” – mistakes are important and necessary, and that’s true in all walks of life – it’s just that you’ll only find that out in hindsight.’ Pavan Ahluwalia
‘I nearly went bankrupt. I remember crying one night because I couldn’t afford to pay £16k in wages to my staff the next day. I had to go and tell them that I couldn’t pay them, and it was humiliating. But it was a huge learning curve and it changed my entire business, because I had to make sure it would never happen again.’ Rachel Flanagan
‘You can’t just copy someone else as you’ll only ever go as far as that person. You have to be you to reach your own potential.’ Sebina Hussain
‘I’ve been told my whole life I need to act more like a boy, which is a bit boring, isn’t it? I’m going to be that feminine person, I’m going to do it my way and it’s going to work.’ Victoria Pendleton
‘Be emotional. Be exactly who you are, and if people don’t like it, they’re not your tribe. What three words do you want people to use to describe you? That’s your brand.’ Aimee Bateman
Be open to help:
‘Don’t be a busy fool. I know what I’m worth in my business and every time I put something in my diary, I think “Is that a job a director should be doing?”‘ Rachel Flanagan
‘Be inquisitive. If you’re stuck on a hurdle, ask and people will show you the way. And don’t spend your time doing something someone else can do. You need to be the person who’s improving the top line and bottom line therefore – stick to what you’re good at.’ Anna Gibson
‘Don’t dim your light, shine. It’s ok to be different, we can work together to make collective change. Even superheroes can’t do it on their own.’ Aimee Bateman
‘When you’re a young girl and you have dreams of your future, the path seems clear, but then reality kicks in. I wanted to be a doctor, and I was told that people like me couldn’t do it. I didn’t listen. When one door closes, you find a window with a tiny crack open and you find every bit of strength inside you to shatter that crack and jump through.’ Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP
‘Let’s not think change happens to us. Let’s take the reigns and be the change makers. That will ensure we are not negatively affected by change – we will be driving the change.’ Brita Fernandez Schmidt
‘You have to communicate why you do what you do. There’s always going to be someone who dresses better than you or uses longer words, but the way you can win is giving people something to connect to.’ Aimee Bateman
‘It’s not about pulling the ladder up behind you, it’s about trying to let down lots of ladders to give other women a leg up too.’ Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP
‘It is such a privilege to be able to help others – we must use that privilege.’ Brita Fernandez Schmidt
‘People will fall in love with you if you give them something to fall in love with.’ Aimee Bateman
Ok, we may not have got a direct quote on the importance of pampering oneself but it was still an equally important take home from the day. In between being inspired and planning our next career move we found ourselves being pampered in the Neutrogena beauty lounge. Thanks to our favourite brands a total makeover was on offer. Neutrogena were on hand to deliver facials and hand massages, Headmasters offering hair styling, KIKO Milano on make-up and Pavan adorning our hands in stunning henna.
Thirsty Planet were also on hand to keep guests hydrated throughout the day, leaving us totally refreshed. Whilst Zubrowka were serving up the cocktails during our networking drinks reception. Our favourite? Apple Zu (Zubrowka, Cawston Press, cloudy apple juice and lime).
Special thanks also goes to Collective Two who helped to produce an amazing event.
Feeling inspired? Come along next year and experience the first hand empowerment yourself.