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Published on 29th November 2023

Women Leading, Innovating & Role Modelling Reflections by Lillian Philip, WUN Advocate.

Blog, Events

You can’t beat an in-person event. Especially when you’ve views of Tower of London and St Pauls Cathedral 41 floors up on the Ohana Floor of Sales Force Tower. Being surrounded by so many women in Utilities and having a chance to speak to them in a group or 1-on-1 is incredibly energising and thought provoking for my career as well as my day job, and I know many shared that feeling.

I heard people talk about the EMEX event on Net Zero and Energy Management that they’d just come from,  the impact of the Autumn statement, Channel 4’s documentary ‘Great Climate Fight’ with Kevin McCloud that had aired the night before just to mention a few. It was wonderful and fantastically topical with a huge range of perspectives from water, energy, transport and marketing and I got a sense of the wider industry that I’m part of.

We were all there though for the panel, 4 seasoned C-suite women chaired by Jo Butlin, co-founder of WUN and a force in her own right. She was joined by:

  • Charlotte Kirby, Head at Manufacturing, Salesforce.
  • Carly Leonard, Head of Environmental Strategy, Anglian Water
  • Katy Taylor, Chief Customer Officer, Southern Water.
  • Frances Caldwell, Chief People Officer, Gentrack.

Whilst I could never justify in a summary how insightful, funny and relatable the session was that evening, I can share a few take-aways:

  • Have I reached my full potential, if not, keep going!
  • Beware of being a ‘busy fool’ Jo Butlin
  • Colour code your calendar to attribute to your agreed objectives to stay focused – Katy Taylor
  • Own your personal space and take your time back to stay strong – Katy Taylor
  • Know what boosts your well-being and take responsibility to find and hold onto it. There are always choices and compromises, know which ones work for you. E.g. “I don’t go to sports day for my children, but I do go to every play” – Katy Taylor
  • You may not be able to have more women around you, but you can elevate the EQ skills in the team you have. – Frances Caldwell
  • Draw inspiration from all areas including books – Charlotte Kirby recommended “Essentialism” and “Atomic Habits”.

Other book recommendations were “Unbound” and “The loudest Duck”.

Whilst the panel had plenty of practical tips around setting boundaries, the one thing they all unanimously agreed on was the need to network.

Networking is so easily de-prioritised by women given the time constraints, particularly during parenthood, but it’s the one area that can bring a hugely important support network both in role and when finding your next. Even when you’ve ‘done it’ and got to the top like Carly and Katy, they met for the first time on the panel and swapped details to catch up afterwards – role modelling networking in real-time.

My biggest take-away, you don’t need to wait for the next ‘networking event’ to build your network. You can build it one by one.

Enjoy building your network and for more events, blogs, podcasts or to find a mentor/mentee to share your knowledge, visit the WUN Website.