Women Are Stronger Together

Dare to Succeed!    Be the Change!    Be the Influencer!

Are you held back by your circumstances?

Has your self-esteem taken a battering?

Do you want to shake things up?

 

We can help you do just that with our Woman to Woman project.

 

Part 1 – FREE WORKSHOPS

Over four sessions we will help you grow in confidence, develop leadership skills so you can speak out on what is important to you. See the Events page for details.

Part 2 – ACTION DAY

With our full support you will organise a free event in your local community to help other women express their views about what needs to change and how.

Women working together to bring about change #W2W

Inspiration: where do YOU get it from?

Picture of woman on the beachOur guest blogger is Katie Day from RDPI.  Katy has run a number of businesses in her career and is particularly keen to help women develop as leaders in their organisations.  Katie has her own way of being inspired and is sharing that with us.

 As women, we have to be all things to all people, all of the time!  Exhausting in the extreme.  So, as we inspire others around us to be the best they can be, who is inspiring us?  Are we so bogged down with ‘life’ that we sometimes forget to stop and listen to our subconscious mind?  We have all the answers we need, we simply don’t sit still long enough to hear!  Here’s what I do when I need a little inspiration for my business and / or my life.

I pretend to be six years old!  I have a ‘play box’ at my office that is filled with all sorts of random items – a heart shaped small cushion, cufflinks, a woolly hat, a leaf, dried flowers, coloured pens and crayons, anything that catches my eye as I’m out and about walking or in novelty shops.  When I’m stuck and need inspiration I close my eyes and rummage around in the box and pull something out.  I then look at the item and allow my conscious brain to be still and quiet so that my subconscious brain can be creative and bubble up with an idea or thought.

Daydreaming is essential, for our emotional and creative health.  Einstein credited daydreaming for all his genius, as adults we should allow ourselves legitimate daydreaming time every day.  That could be sitting at our desks and just looking out of the window or going for a walk.

Living by the sea I try and walk every day looking at the waves, whatever the weather.  The sea is especially brilliant when I feel stuck for ideas or inspiration.  I just stand by the water’s edge and when the waves come in I imagine my ‘stuck-ness’ being picked up by the water and washed out to sea and taken away from me.  When I feel that enough has been washed away, I then look at the waves coming in and imagine new ideas and creative thoughts being held in the water and I visualise those ideas washing over me as the waves break on the shore.  If you don’t live by water, you could do this by simply walking in nature – in a park in a busy city will do too.  The trees could do the same for you – imagine your ‘stuck-ness’ being sucked in by the roots of the trees and dispersed underground and then imagine the branches and leaves full of creative ideas and inspiration and shaking them out to fall all over you.

People watching can be hugely inspiring.  If I feel really caught up in my own thoughts going round and round in my head, I’ll take myself off to a café for a coffee and just people watch.  The dynamics of human interactions can be incredibly inspiring, we just need to allow our own imaginations to have free reign without judgement or censor.  We can imagine all kinds of scenarios for the people we are watching and observing.  I have found this can suddenly spark an idea for a training course about leadership or communication.

I live my life like a triple A battery, I try to always be: Alert – Awake – Aware.

So, go back to the carefree days of childhood, where everything was possible and creative inspiration surrounded us in its wonderful randomness.

A Common Cause

We took the Heritage project volunteers to London to see the new suffragette statue in Parliament Square and then a guided tour around the Women’s Library, which had its own suffrage exhibition.

It was one of the hottest days so far and whilst glorious, the walk from Victoria to Parliament Square and then to the Women’s Library challenged even the hardiest of walkers!

The Women’s Library was like entering a cave of wonders: full of light and air with centuries of records about women, including some of those we had researched for our project.  What struck us was that until the point that this library was established, women’s role in society was deemed not worthy to record in a systemised fashion.  There was a wealth of information which excited our own readers and to hold the passport of Elsie Bowerman in our hands, or the letters from and to Edith Nesbitt was a real treat.

Perhaps though, the most significant take-away from the day was our encounter at the statue of Millicent Fawcett.  Whilst we were gathered around looking at the statue and the photographs around the plinth, one of our party started a conversation with two other women who had had their photograph taken at her feet.  They were from America and were equal rights workers for low paid women.  We talked about our various roles, the issues we were dealing with and the commonalities of women’s barriers.  We had made our own individual pilgrimages but it turned out for a common cause.

Millicent then was not only the rallying point for women of her generation, but now she is the rallying point for women of our era and those who come after us.  Truly inspirational.

The Postcard Challenge

As I’m sure you are aware, 2018 is the year we celebrate 100 years of a woman’s right to vote. A change bought about by the staunch belief that women should have equal rights to men and whilst much has changed, there are still obstacles to overcome when it comes to the equality of women in society.

Our latest project at the Wayfinder Woman Trust is the ‘Postcard Challenge’. We have been writing to influential women across the UK  asking them to write, draw or sketch something that celebrates female achievement and/or the 100 years of women’s emancipation.

Women in the public eye are a hugely positive example for the women we encounter but there are also unknown women throughout the country that similarly inspire their friends and neighbours. We would ask all of them to pick up a postcard and take part.

Plain postcards can be picked up from our office at Wayfinder Woman, 4 The Labyrinth, 7 Mark Lane, Eastbourne, BN21 4RJ between 10am – 3pm. OR send us a stamped addressed envelope and we will send you some (please say how many you require).

Completed postcards should be returned by 31st August in an envelope please to the above address, or drop in with it and have a chat.

We will be displaying the completed postcards at an exhibition from 7th – 23rd September at The Labyrinth that will inspire the women we support through our charity, The WayfinderWoman Trust and then auction them to raise funds with the aim of developing a fully staffed 5 day a week drop-in advice and support centre for women in Eastbourne.

WayfinderWoman was set up with the express purpose of enabling women to be the best that they can be. We work within our community to promote the confidence, employability and success of women through workshops, seminars, exhibitions, coaching and an annual conference. We have been recognised locally for our work and by The Prime Minister, Theresa May, under the Points of Light Scheme.

We would be delighted to have your contribution to celebrate 100 years of achievement, thank you so much for your help in inspiring the next generation of women.

A Musical Celebration of 100yrs of Suffrage

Wednesday May 9th saw us host a musical celebration of the centenary of votes for women at Christ Church in Eastbourne.

We had some beautiful and haunting music from Fiona Hosford and her golden harp, all of which was either composed by women or had a strong link with female harpists; music to make us smile from the a capella group, Bourne Chorus, who sang some well known classics such as True Colours and With a Little Help From Your Friends.

Kay Cadell delivered some fascinating narration from the Suffragette Diaries and news articles.

The whole event was possible due to our wonderful supporters: SOLegal, Sign Shop Sussex, Tudor History Tours, Ross & Co, Ginger & Sanders, Peter Willson Semi-Grand Piano, Dawson Hart, Crossland & Dudson Training

A lovely evening was had by us all and thank you all for coming.

We all need support

Our guest blog is from Shirley Wardell For many years Shirley has been working with teams on developing leadership skills and was one of the first people in the UK to embrace Nancy Klein’s Thinking Environment approach to her work.

When you listen to people they feel supported, this is what participants on the Research Team Leadership programme tell us. Support is something that stops things from collapsing or crumbling; support is a critical function of a leader, a colleague and a friend.

We all need support for the task we are undertaking, support for our team, if we are lucky enough to have one, and support for ourselves. I turn to Nancy Kline’s Thinking Partnerships® to think about how to get the support I need, but don’t always want.

Thinking Partnerships provide a rare opportunity to think aloud with someone listening profoundly. I have lots of colleagues who can do this and I am also happy to pay for it. Nancy Kline’s suggestion ‘if in doubt, ask’ seems like a good maxim when deciding how to support anyone, including myself.

Here is a glimpse of what ideas came up for me during my thinking time, and thank you to Caroline Homfray, my thinking partner:

Take time to think
Be aware of the needs of others
Create a supportive atmosphere
Be responsive to my feelings
Ask for the support I need early
Facilitate social activity and have fun
Resolve conflicts quickly

What I need often is a listening buddy. When I don’t have one, I crumble a bit and slow down. When I have one I feel I can get around anything. Do you have one?  I would recommend that you do.  If you both learn to listen you can help each other.

When music really can change lives

Our guest blogger is Jade Powers. She has spent a lifetime in music and theatre, both as a performer and director, travelling the world as a result.  She has been involved for a number of years with the popular Sussex Dance Studios:  her latest ventures being The Broadway Players and Jade Powers Entertainments.

 Jade Powers is your stage name so how did you start in the business?

 Where do I begin…. Cue for a song – my life has been based on Theatre – and I guess to this day this is one of my favourite songs – back in the 60’s as a little girl my passion for performing started with the church and school choirs and they told my Mum I had a big voice – so after many years of training -in the 80’s JADE POWERS was born.

When you sang for the King of Tonga in 1990 you said it was a life changing experience. Why?

I was introduced to many local Zimbabwe dignitaries – and over my time with them I was so privileged to visit places of interest as a VIP and making friends with the locals enabled me to then teach Drama / Dance and Singing to the Outback children – this was the life changing bit seeing how they lived in mud huts and their staple diet of mealy meal – a corn meal mixed with water which tasted disgusting and added with potatoes – yet they were so happy – I loved going to see them – and I had been back in UK over a year when Zimbabwe Sun – sent me a brochure – and there I was in the middle with a huge feature on what I had done for the local children – I was so humbled.

You went from performing to teaching and producing/directing after having your daughter.   What was it like shifting from one to the other?  What did you learn about yourself?  What advice would you give to other young mums in a similar situation?

I never gave up performing just the balance turned round more performing became more teaching and less performing which was easier when Bethany was little as I could take her to work with me – shifting my goal posts was relatively easy – because I was still totally absorbed in show business – any other young Mums facing difficulties with work and home balance – don’t give up on your dreams – if you have a good family support network they will rally round to allow you to work and fulfil yourself as a woman – my ethos has always been total organisation – thinking ahead – being prepared – and keeping calm. Now in my fifties the balance has changed again – and I now find there is just not enough hours in a day to fit it all in – but I can’t cull in any area to ease my load ………… Dedication

You started a theatre group for autistic children. What motivated you to do that?  What lessons can you pass on about the skills you developed, or the awareness of what you felt you had to do?

The Power Project – was always something I had in the back of my mind – I have such empathy for those not so fortunate – I just needed to be 100% confident in my abilities and sure of myself – and comfortable in my own world to have the confidence to put the wheels in motion for this – which I felt the time was right over the last 5 years – the skills I learnt during this period of my life – were compassion for others and amazement at what families go through to look after these wonderful young challenging people – the pure joy on their faces when they learn and perform and feel INCLUDED means the world.

And then life changed direction again?

Yes, I found my Perfect Partner Pete who is so supportive of all my work – I have been so lucky to work in many theatrical fields that have made me so happy with the passion and love of what I do – 3 years ago my dreams came true again with the start of my own production company The Broadway Players – this has also swept me off my feet with the acclamations I have received as a producer and director – I have learnt so many skills over the 40 years in professional theatre – now as a collective Jade Powers Entertainments  – I gig approx. 12 times a month at various dementia care homes which give me so much pleasure to see smiling faces of the elderly as they remember the tunes I sing – so rewarding, I guess I have a perfect life.

You say this is not a job, it is a very happy and rewarding life choice. What advice would you give to women who haven’t yet been lucky enough to find that?

I have spent my whole working life doing something I love  – this is not always possible for a lot of people male and female – but if you have passion and drive – just believe in yourself and you CAN achieve anything – I did and look how I spend my time – I am never bored always passionate and happy – REMBEMBER you only get back what you put in.

#TechSheCan!

We are delighted to be part of PwCs #TechSheCan initiative.  Since the inception of WayfinderWoman we have been encouraging women and young girls to think about STEM as a career and technology in particular.  Our motivational business conference last year ‘Inspiring Through Technology’ highlighted the enormous impact of tech and the unlimited opportunities available within the industry.

Across the board, fewer than 30% of women consider tech as a career option and of those only 3% say that tech is their first choice.  Yet this is where the careers of the future are going to be located.  Throughout the industry there are cries that employers cannot find the people they need with the necessary skills, or the motivation to learn.   By inference then, jobs within that sector are going to be well paid and employers will have to be flexible in their working practices to keep employees on board.  Some skills are so difficult to find that you can quote your own hours and rate of pay.  Why wouldn’t that appeal to a woman who wants a satisfying career that fits around their family commitments?

We kicked off our commitment to the initiative with a series of workshops running through April to July in partnership with TechResort and Eastbourne Volunteers to encourage women to consider a new career within tech.  Watch this space!

The Power of No

Our guest blog  comes from Beverley Thompson, former BBC Journalist and Presenter now Campaigns and Community Engagement Manager at Southern Water. For anyone who’s been demoralised by rejection, this is definitely a must read!

I am incredibly lucky. My current job allows me to work with colleagues, charities and communities to make a positive difference. Twenty five years ago – an incredible quarter of a century – I would never have dreamed I would be working for a major utility with three million plus customers, and me overseeing the campaigns and projects that impact our most precious resource – water.

I also have twenty years’ experience as a journalist and broadcaster and I have worked all over the world. I am really proud of what I achieved then and what I’m doing now.

So how did I do it? Well I have a history of taking risks and making the most of the chances that we are all offered IF we choose to recognise them as positive and empowering. So here’s the trick – and it is so simple you may find it ludicrous – but just try it!

Never be afraid to ask –to be rejected or disappointed. The answer NO is usually the worst that can happen- and to my knowledge that two letter word has no lasting physical effects and with a positive outlook NO can be the incentive to move on and achieve.

My first big chance came along when I was just 20. I had finished a degree and was part way through a Post Graduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism. One day – looking through the Media section in the Guardian, (these are the days before the internet, linked in etc.!) I saw an advertisement for a TV newsreader for BBC Wales in Cardiff. Now let’s be clear – this was a chance and a risk of the first order. I had little experience as a journalist and I had never been on TV. I did have one card – I could speak Welsh. I had been to a secondary school in Wales. This was my first big job interview and I travelled to Cardiff in absolute terror! Just before I went in, I thought, what is the worst that can happen here? I won’t get it – they will say NO – I will be rejected. Actually when you weigh that up against the best that can happen – I will get it – they will say yes – I will be at the start of my career – there’s no contest is there? NO won’t kill you! I went through the interview or board as the BBC calls it and I did get the job.

My time at the BBC was peppered with chances offered and risks to be taken. I put myself forward for jobs that in truth both terrified and inspired me. How was I hosting a live TV debate with four guests and one hundred guests? How was I hosting a live radio phone in? The answer is that I applied for the positions – laughed at the notion of NO and went for it.

When I did confront NO – I treated it like an occupational hazard – it wasn’t a judgement about me and my abilities – it was about business, skill sets and maybe a personality issue. The fact is NO hasn’t harmed or changed me.

Today, I find myself in the position of interviewing and managing people. It is a huge responsibility and the pressures on candidates and colleagues are still immense. However, I believe you can spot the ones who have faced down their fear of NO. They are the ones who if unsuccessful ask for feedback and advice, they use NO to inform their next application and interview – they work to turn NO into their YES.

You see NO is a negative word – but it doesn’t have to be. Change your relationship with the word NO and embrace the risks and chances that life brings! You will fly!

‘You are that talented woman who doesn’t see how talented she is’

Our guest blogger Sarah Fox landed up as a speaker and as a construction solicitor as a happy result of the suggestions of a partner in her law firm who believed Sarah had the right skills before Sarah believed it. Alison was her boss, then friend, and they are still in touch today, although they haven’t worked together for over 10 years.

Four years ago I was chatting to my sister over coffee, in Ed’s diner near Euston, waiting for a train home. She wanted to know why I was different – something she’d had to ask herself regularly since she was my identical twin. I’d been waffling in a rather lawyerly fashion about my business and she was getting bored…

She kept asking and I kept blustering.

Just before my train was due I proudly declared that the reason I was different was that – unlike my contemporaries and peers in the legal industry – I could write a construction contract in 500 words. I’m not sure where that gem came from and I guess my reticence showed in my face. She challenged me, menacingly asking “What… really? Really really?”

It was a matter of weeks later that I had written the contract, and, having ticked that task off, I showed it to her. Ta-da. Mission accomplished.

Success was mine.

And what did I do with this idea? I sat on it. I showed it to a few select friends and when one of my lawyer friends was scathing, I got scared.

Who was I, I thought to myself, to challenge the received wisdom that contracts had to be long and complex? Who was I, female upstart, to try and simplify the standard industry contracts down from 50,000 words to a mere 500? Who was I, an imposter, to do something new and innovative?

Writing the contract was just the start of my journey. I didn’t consider myself an expert (despite having 20 years’ experience in writing construction contracts, at least the 10,000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell refers to in Outliers). I didn’t appreciate what I did know that others didn’t. I didn’t value my talents and expertise.

It didn’t matter that I started to use the contract in training workshops and be asked if I would sell it to them. It didn’t matter that people learnt about it and it piqued their interest. It didn’t even matter when others started to say it was what the industry needed.

I continued to sit on my idea.

So what changed? There was a glorious synchronicity of events…

First, this quote from Playing Big by Tara Mohr slapped me around the face and woke me up: “To us, you are that talented woman who doesn’t see how talented she is. You are the woman who – it’s clear to us – could start an innovative company or pull one out of the dysfunction it’s in, improve the local schools, or write a book that would change thousands of lives. You are that fabulous, we-wish-she-was-speaking-up-more woman.”

Second, I got a mentor who I really trusted and he made it clear that sitting on my idea was not an option.

Third, I got the courage to send it to an industry commentator who immediately emailed me that he loved it. Wow!

With those events in place, I realised that playing small and considering myself an imposter was not helping me to serve others. That was when I decided that I could challenge the received wisdom, simplify contracts and do something new and innovative.

Sometimes it is not just about the knowledge, skills, and expertise you have. Sometimes success depends on having the character, the confidence and the support to make a difference.

 

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