Sophie Billington | Account Manager, MediaCom Leeds

It was a very snowy day here in Leeds with the ‘Beast from the East’ at full force. A number of Mediacom employees trundled through the snow to join Forward Ladies to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 at a #Pressforprogress event where successful and entrepreneurial women spoke about their journey to success and touched on how we can make changes for women in business.

Griselda Togobo, Managing Director of Forward Ladies introduced the event discussing how we close the gender gap and inspire women. It’s been 100 years since women got the right to vote and the day was about celebrating how far we’ve come and how we keep ‘pressing for progress’.

We then heard from speakers including Nicola Elliott, Founder of Neom Organics London and Pauline Wilson, Operations Director, Virgin Holidays. Both women had very different stories of how they reached their current positions and offered us a unique insight into their journeys. Following the speakers and a networking lunch, a panel (including Griselda Togobo, Pauline Wilson, Sarah Tulip COO, Aql and Suzanne Smith, Founder Soteria Asbestos) joined us to discuss how women in senior positions in business can help pass on the baton to the next generation of women and help to open doors for them.

Leading up to International Women’s Day it was great to hear different perspectives from successful women and how we can all #pressforprogress. The key takeouts for me were:

  • Find a mentor who inspires you – having a support network, and someone who can offer an objective point of view can really add value to your career
  • Network – find out what other women are doing and support one another – you aren’t in competition with each other, there is so much you can learn from, and offer to others
  • Know your own strengths – being really good at A, B, C but not as good at D and E is fine. Be confident in your own style and don’t feel you have to be perfect at everything. No one is!
  • Build your resilience – be positive. See challenges as an opportunity to grow and evolve. Take time and make effort to learn more to increase knowledge and skills.