Celebrating Northern Power Women: 2015 Conference

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the first ever Northern Power Women conference.

The event took place at the Hilton in Liverpool and was organised by the lovely Simone Roche to encourage women from across the North to celebrate and champion equality. The conference welcomed speakers from the heads of large corporate giants, to local MPs, to passionate youngsters who were making a real difference in their own communities.

The day was themed around the idea of “making it happen” and the Guardian’s Harriet Minter who chaired the event was fantastic at encouraging all of the day’s speakers to share a tangible “take away” from the day – something I think really helped make the themes of the day more meaningful.

Although the day was packed with fantastic speakers, here are just three of my favourites:

Founder and MD of New Collective, Emily Karatay
An entrepreneur and social activist, Emily spoke passionately and insightfully about the value that the younger generation can bring to organisations. Her experience to date is testament itself to why young women should never be overlooked or under estimated.

Founder and Chair of Inspirational Journey, Heather Jackson
Taking part in one of the day’s panel discussions, Heather was asked what one piece of advice she would have given to her younger self. She said “Stop being Joan of Arc” – she wished she had stopped thinking of everything as a compromise and instead wished she had had the confidence to make the choices she did and not to let guilt of self-doubt turn her into a matyr. I thought this was an extremely insightful one and one I am sure a lot of the women in the room could relate to!

Minister for Women and Equality, Jo Swinson MP
Jo spoke passionately and knowledgeably on how the family unit is changing and the vision she had for the parental leave changes that she has been able to implement from April this year. Although each of the MPs who spoke at the event were extremely inspirational, Jo applied her real life struggles into the conversation and represented exactly what I feel we need in modern day politics – intelligent, relatable and truly inspiring female role models.

So what was my main “take home” of the day?

I think it was advice that came from Sodexo CEO Debbie White, who said that each day and every day, we should try to do something that helps to empower and encourage another woman. This struck me as a simple but effective way to be the change you want to see!

And in the words of Madeleine Albright, and many of the North’s most powerful women who I heard from today…

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