Empowered women, empower women. That’s the phrase on everyone’s lips on March 8th, as women around the country turn up to events celebrating how amazing women in business are, and how far we’ve come. No day of the year makes women feel more empowered than International Women’s Day, and this year Desk Life Project decided to spend it with the lovely folks down at IdeaSpace London, a Clapham-based co-working space that’s changing the way people work, not to mention offering no-stress networking events like this one, where not one person in the room felt out of place. From the fascinating speakers on the night, we got the perfect insight into how they started their business, and what it means to be a career woman today. Here are the highlights from each inspiring woman:
Director of The Pixel Pusher
Anna’s inspirational story about aiming high even when it seemed that women in design were few and far between at her previous job, was enough to put a smile on everyone’s face. 10 glass pods, each with 2 people working inside them, and out of all 20 of those people only one was a female copywriter. There were no female designers, but that didn’t stop Anna from giving it her all. The big takeaway from her talk was that despite trying to climb the ladder and fit in among high-powered men, we shouldn’t be afraid to embrace our feminine side as women in the workplace. These are some of our best assets, and we should never feel the need to suppress them.
“WE ARE FEMININE, AND WE ARE GENTLE, AND WE DO WEAR OUR HEARTS ON OUR SLEEVES.”
Sarah is so likeable that you can’t help but take on board every piece of advice she has about being a woman in business. She has clearly learnt a lot throughout her career, and proudly talks about what she learned while taking the time to discover what she wants in life and what she is truly passionate about, something she urges us all to do. Two of her stand-out pieces of advice were to not be afraid to step away from one opportunity in order to make room for something bigger and better down the line, and never to let imposter syndrome win. These are things that everyone has struggled with at some point, not knowing when to let go, and comparing ourselves against others’ success, so the words hit home for many of us in the room.
“DON’T LET IMPOSTER SYNDROME WIN”
Actor, Writer and Theatre Maker
Being primarily a business event, it was refreshing to hear Isabella discuss what it’s like to be a woman in the performing arts. The role of director and producer is still often seen as a man’s role, but, as Isabella told us, this is slowly changing. Her current production, Yokes Night, is a play set in Dublin about a mistaken loophole in the law which sees all drugs become legal for 24 hours.
Inspired by true events, Yokes Night deals with this unthinkable and funny subject on the surface, but also opens up discussion on the current abortion laws. It’s exciting to see the depth and expanse of subjects that can be touched upon when we start to see more women taking on these important roles within the performing arts.
Life Coach, The Mental Movement
Hana’s all-too-real account of burning out in a corporate job and experiencing depression when everything on the surface seemed to be going well, is something that many people have experienced. Her clients are primarily women who’s lives look great on the outside, but something feels missing.
Hana reminds us that many of us invest money into the upkeep of our physical body, but disproportionately hardly any of us invest in our mental health, something that she feels is key to preventing issues such as burnout later down the line. She encourages us all to take some time exploring our own mental health, and surround ourselves with people who support us.
“WE ARE ALL DEEPLY CONNECTED TO MENTAL HEALTH”
If anyone has reservations about how a stylist can completely change your life and business, then you haven’t listened to Lauren Manville talk so passionately about the power of a new outfit. After a career in the therapy field, Lauren decided to start her own business doing something that she felt could further help people.
She shed light on how certain colours can have a huge impact on the way that we feel, and had everyone in the room questioning their outfit choices, as well as how taking some time to discover who you are and what style makes you feel your most confident can have a huge effect on how you approach your business and life.
Stephanie quite hilariously reflected on 3 lessons that she has learned during her journey as the co-founder of a hugely successful London-based fitness app. She encourages everyone to let go of their comfort zone, assuring that we’ll need to if we want to start anything new. Being in business means getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, and Stephanie’s nervousness when it comes to public speaking isn’t evident, even though she assures us that she is putting herself through one of these very uncomfortable moments as she speaks.
Her second piece of advice is to not be afraid of the answer ‘no’, and to simply ask for things that we want. She recently landed a deal which almost tripled the reach of her company just by sending one message on LinkedIn to the founder of another business. The worst that could have happened is he could have said no, she says, but he didn’t. Her final piece of advice to us is to ignore the standard networking back and forth of ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’. Be helpful for the sake of being helpful, and do things for your fellow women in business that will help them rise. If we all do this, she says, London won’t know what’s coming for it.