• Jane Fordham

48 Hours of ‘Not-working’ With My 70 New Friends

#collaboratetoaccelerate #sisterhoodworks #femaleleadership

I’m exhausted but exhilarated. It’s been an honour and a privilege to have spent the last two days at Woburn Golf Club in the company of 70 astonishing women (and a few men!). The Reach Women’s Leadership Summit is the brainchild of the brilliant Sky Sports journalist and entrepreneur Sarah Stirk. Sarah, her team and the wonderful sponsors corralled a group of female leaders from all walks of life and sectors (music, policing, politics, block-chain, sport, media, consulting, chemicals to name but a few) to share experiences, content, personal stories and more over an unforgettable two days.

The CVs, calibre, strength and positivity of those gathered was nothing short of staggering and yet a common and resolute thread was the humility and generosity of all present. We learnt, laughed, ate, drank a little, shared and even played a little golf (we were at the AIG Women’s Golf Open after all), and lived the event ethos, ‘collaborate to accelerate.’

I cannot wait to see how we can keep the energy and commitment going in the ensuing months, and each ‘lift as we rise,’ (stolen with pride from the wonderful Kate Nichols). I am sure to miss out someone in the thanks so instead wholeheartedly thank all gathered for what they gave and the drive and endeavour of all those who put this event on from the generous sponsors to the amazing Sarah Stirk and Paul Jeffries. All presenters were world-class and impactful as were the ‘notworking’ (our preference to ‘networking’ thx Gemma Greaves) conversations in between but here are my 5 top takeouts;

1. Gemma Greaves, CEO The Marketing Society, “Behind imposter syndrome there are two pots; thoughts and evidence. To avoid being dragged down by imposter syndrome, focus on filling the ‘evidence’ pot with proof of your abilities.”

2. Helen Tupper, CEO Amazing If hosted much of the event and, delivered a kick*ass session on day 1. “Understand the values and strengths of your team in order to lead them effectively. Develop strengths above all else.”

3. Given how much of my professional life I spend talking about how to create feedback cultures, I also loved Helen’s factoid about it talking for six seconds before someone can absorb positive feedback. So, keeping going long enough so that your message is heard!

4. Annabel Mullin, former Leader Renew Party, had us spellbound with her personal career journey up to present day, shining a light on the current tumultuous UK political landscape, “We’re not living in an era of change, we’re living through a change of era.”

5. “Don’t treat others as you wish to be treated. Treat them as THEY wish to be treated,” said the inimitable, best-selling author, Alison Edgar, MD, Entrepreneur’s Godmother.

And now to unplug, recharge and let my brain absorb and process a magical, momentous experience. Same again next year ladies?

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Jane Fordham Consulting

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GU24 8JE​

Tel: 07500 725102


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