It was full house last night with over 100 women (and a few men) attending WUN’s latest event very generously hosted by Elexon, a key sponsor.
As always the event had three objectives-
- Provide learning and new skills
- Provide inspiration and insight from senior women in the industry
- Create a forum to build networks and meet new people
…and as always the buzz in the room was extraordinary and the feedback confirmed that the all the objectives were hit.
Last night’s topic was focused on self promotion and how to speak up.
Networking and the opportunity to have a headshot by a professional photographer, bookended the formal part of the evening.
Louise Parry, a Non-Exec Director on the Elexon board and a Network Development and Electrification Manager for ESB Networks was first up. Louise gave us an inspiring speech on her career path and how she has got to where she is today- most importantly giving hints and tips on the how as well as the what in getting there. Proactively putting her hand up for new roles, moving geographically, jumping into the unknown, grabbing every opportunity for development, and constantly building her network and range of sponsors all featured. Key was the ability to always have a range of focused business thoughts in the back pocket to be used with different stakeholders. In one of her examples she talked about getting in a lift with a CEO and putting a business issue on his agenda rather than talking about the weather. She finished off saying that luck had played a part in her career- but I think we could all agree that she had made her own luck!
Next up was Fiona Brennan- Scott an expert voice and speech coach who works with managers and small businesses to help develop their careers and growth. Fiona led us through a journey of some of the women who had inspired her in her career and what they had said that really resonated. She quoted Patsy Rodenberg, who many of us hadn’t heard of but had heard of one her high profile clients- Judi Dench. Patsy (which Fiona’s 20 year’s experience endorses) says that there are no bad voices, only voices with blocks in them. The key to effective public speaking is removing the blocks whether physical or psychological. Fiona then got the room on its feet and worked some practical exercises with us, actively teaching the power of posture, breathing and even a smile in improving speech and projection. ‘Power posturing’ and its effectiveness in pre-speech warm ups was a revelation and a practical tip I think we’ll all be using (out of public sight!).
Our final speaker of the evening was Louise Parry, Director of People & Organisational Development at EU skills. Louise was again inspiring and focused on the importance of personal brand in career development. She quoted Jeff Bezos (Amazon) on what personal brand really means- “Your brand is what other people say when you’re not in the room”. To make sure they’re saying the right thing Louise highlighted the importance of maintaining consistency across all social media, the importance of building a network of sponsors and supporters in putting you forward for jobs and the most important of all, the need to be authentic in how you work and engage with people.
Louise also shared some of the shocking statistics on diversity in the Utilities sector. 17% of the sectors workforce are female compared to 47% for all sectors. 81% of professional occupations are occupied by men, compared to 50% across all sectors. 84% of directors, managers and senior officials are male compared to 65% across all sectors. WUN is all about helping women help themselves and develop the knowledge and tools to build a future career for themselves in the sector. In the future we want a balanced and fully effective workforce.
Sponsorship from supporting organisations continues to grow, and enables WUN to increase its offer. We are always looking for new sponsors and supporters, so please contact any of the WUN founders if your organisation would like to get involved.
Our next event is on 31 March 2020 and will be focused on the challenges and opportunities in delivering Net Zero.