Monday 16th October 2017 - Posted in
By Lindsey Davies, Director at Open Communications UK

With the promise of decadent cocktails, sumptuous canapes and a room that would be packed with strong, ambitious and successful business women, it’s no surprise that ladies were queuing around the block to take advantage of Leeds Business Week’s (LBW) first-ever dedicated women’s networking event.
With hundreds of women in attendance, from across the Yorkshire Region and beyond, the event was set in the breath-taking surroundings of Tattu, which really set the scene for the afternoon.

Encouraging the sharing of ideas and support amidst a background of informal business networking, a strong dose of inspiration and encouragement came courtesy of talks from our trio of event sponsors and inspirational women in business.
Carat, the world’s first media agency and a member of Dentsu Aegis Network – the global communications network ‘Innovating the Way Brands Are Built’; KC Communications, the Marketing, PR and Social Media Agency and 8 Outdoor, the UK’s fastest growing digital Out of Home (OOH) media owner all took to the stage.

Inspirational Women in Business

Carat kicked off the series of talks with Meriel de Lacey, Director of Leadership and Development at Dentu Aegis Network and Andrea Bagan, Director at Carat, discussing the organisation’s commitment to gender equality in the workplace and the initiatives that are underway to address the imbalance.
Encouraging women to take up the leadership positions that are traditionally dominated by males, the group offers its employees training to equip women with the skills and confidence required to excel in senior roles.

What’s more, recognising that the gender imbalance impacts both men and women, time flexibility is offered to both genders allowing parents the opportunity to fulfil important engagements without feeling that time away from the office is compromising on performance at work.

Not forgetting the next generation, the agency network also engages with schools to ensure that youngsters are instilled with the confidence and self belief that is vital for future success.

Further encouragement was offered by 8 Outdoor when Marian Okai-Charles, Client Sales Manager, and Fiona Ravlic, Head of National and Regional Sales, took to the floor to share how they support women, both in and out of the workplace. Discussing the organisation’s support of several women’s charities including Women’s Aid and breast cancer charities, alongside work with the LGBT community and women’s equality causes, the ladies addressed some of the self doubt and confidence issues that can hold women back from pursuing the opportunities that they deserve.

In addition, the duo shared ways in which the business encourages flexible working; giving women the option to succeed in the workplace whilst balancing their career with family or other commitments.

The final addition to the line-up was Katrina Cliffe, Managing Director of KC Communications. Running a successful business of her own, Katrina has experienced first-hand the challenges that business women face.

Sharing her own journey and experiences of being a female around the boardroom table, Katrina detailed her progression from Admin Apprentice to MD. Acknowledging that there were struggles along the way, Katrina’s story showcased the potential of women to work hard and to reach the top of their game, even in the face of adversity or imbalance.

Kate Hutchinson, General Manager at the Yorkshire Mafia (YM), comments:
“We had a fantastic afternoon at the Women’s Networking Event and it was great to see and meet so many strong and successful business women who are a fantastic example to us all.
“Hearing about some of the initiatives that are taking place locally to support women in business to overcome common challenges were a reassuring sign that organisations are making important changes to remove some of the barriers that we have seen impacting upon the progress that a female workforce can make in the workplace.”

Support, Challenge and Inspire

As a 22,000-strong network of professionals, the YM endeavour to bring together businesses of all kinds to think, learn and share. Whether this be in focused sector-specific sessions or informal business networking, which serves businesses of all sizes and sectors, we aim to offer choices that provide support and inspiration to benefit all of our members.

For this reason, we invite feedback and suggestions that can help us, to help you, and put businesses in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region at the very forefront of their industries. If you have any feedback or suggestions of events that you would like to see taking place, please contact Tara Halfpenny, Commercial Events Manager at the YM, tara@theyorkshiremafia.com.

Seize Opportunities; Expand Professional Networks
Following the success of our first LBW dedicated women’s networking event, it’s safe to say that we at the Yorkshire Mafia (YM) are keen to maintain our new-found business connections. This is why we couldn’t wait to host our next women’s networking event, which will take place over breakfast at Blackhouse, Leeds, on 24th November. Keep an eye on the YM events page for further details of this and other events: http://theyorkshiremafia.com/events.

Finally, don’t forget that sponsorship packages are available for future events. For further details, contact Kate Hutchinson, General Manager at the YM, kate@theyorkshiremafia.com.

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