It was my friend Emily (a ridiculously inspiring woman who I hope will let me interview her for this blog someday!) who first introduced me to the wonders of women’s networking events through her Women in Media (WiM) group. Despite the tenuous link between my communications role on a railway construction project and the other women who did actually work in the media, we managed to find common ground over a glass of wine. Meeting interesting, capable and accomplished women was inspiring. Simply knowing that other women were similarly facing challenges at work reassured me that I wasn’t alone. I would leave these events feeling re-charged and refreshed, ready to take on whatever life threw at me.
In September 2015, after an intense few months at work, I felt I needed a hit of that inspirational recharge, and in the absence of a WiM in the weeks ahead, I decided to see what the Association for Project Management (APM) offered in the way of similar networking events for project management professionals. I was fortunate enough to be just in time to get a ticket for the Women in Project Management (WiPM) Annual Conference on the 24th September, an event that proved to be fully subscribed and potentially needs a bigger venue for next year!
The opening keynote speaker was Harriet Minter, the editor of the Guardian Women in Leadership (GWiL) section. For those of you who are not familiar with Harriet, she is, in a nutshell, amazing. She’s articulate and witty, yet genuine – the kind of person you immediately want to be friends with. She told us of the challenges she had faced in getting GWiL set up in the first place and then in keeping it going in the midst of restructuring in the paper. As inspiring as her stories of success were, it was her open and honest recounting of the struggles that made the greatest impact; the knowledge that it wasn’t easy, but that she had found a way to play to her strengths, and allowed people to help her along the way.
Harriet’s words that day sparked something in me; she gave me a sense of hope, and purpose. She ignited that again in one of her weekly newsletters that I received this year, where she sent out a call to action to those of us interested in getting involved in a women’s movement: if the right one doesn’t exist out there for you, then go out and create it now. I hope this website will become that movement someday. Please join me.