Round up of our March Be Brave event

The sun was shining on us as Virgin Media hosted our March WICT UK “Be Brave” Event, continuing the “Be Bold for Change” conversation from International Women’s Day 2017. There was a fantastic turnout, and we would like to say a huge thank you to our inspirational guest speakers and panellists who shared their personal experiences of how being brave has impacted their lives and careers.

We would also like to thank those of you who were able to join us for the afternoon. For those of you who weren’t able to join us, fear not, we have rounded up some highlights to share with you below.

Brigitte Trafford, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Virgin Media
Virgin Media’s very own Brigitte Trafford shared some of the brave decisions she has made throughout her career, and how they have led her to where she is today. Brigitte emphasised the importance of a strong support network, and consulting people when it comes to bold decisions – such as upping sticks and moving countries for a new role!

Alex Mowle chaired our first panel of the day, who were brave enough to take to the stage to discuss the practicalities of being bold early in your career, and how doing so can help to create future leaders

CEO and president of WICT, Maria Brennan
Maria discussed girl power, and not in the spice girls sense. Many of us these days are modern day superwomen; often juggling a career, a family, friendships, hobbies, exercise, and somehow still maintain a social life. Unsurprisingly, we are scientifically proven to be better at multitasking than men. Put simply: women are good for business. Therefore, it makes sense for businesses to invest in women!

Kerry O’Brien, CEO and Founder of Young Urban Arts Foundation
Kerry challenged us to think about the meaning of the word “brave” – sharing her personal experiences of bravery, vulnerability and perseverance in the face of adversity. Despite coming up against many challenges throughout her career, Kerry has always found a way turn negatives in to something positive, using her talent to help and support others via her youth charity; The Young Urban Arts Foundation. YUAF works with young people, engaging them through music and arts to build self-confidence, self-worth and teach them new skills as they develop.

Helen Scott – WICT UK Advisor
I am sure you will have heard of the phrase “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) – well, Helen Scott certainly has. Helen shared the brave decisions she has made both professionally, and personally – and how life is too short not to be bold. Career-wise, Helen explained how staying true to herself served her well, and meant that she found the confidence to be bold in her decisions in challenging times. Personally, she recently made the bold decision to swap her career in the city for the country air in “Beer” (yes- that is a real place!)

Poppy Weston-Davies, Director Business and Legal Affairs at Scripps Networks Interactive headed up our final panel for the day. Our panellists told us about the wildest things that have happened in their careers. From failed restaurants and being chased by the IRS, to re-locating for new roles, to going in to labour and still managing to deliver a presentation (and then a baby!)

As you can tell, it was a jam-packed day, and we covered a lot of topics! We hope you left the event inspired, and connected and ready to go forth and #BeBrave!

Kathleen M. O’Connor | The Art of Persuasion

We were incredibly excited to be joined by Professor Kathleen M. O’Connor at the end of last year. She shared some extremely thought-provoking insight on gender stereotypes and how we can all make smarter decisions, negotiate better strategic partnerships and build more effective networks.

If you missed her brilliant presentation, you can view it here and please share with your fellow colleagues and peers.

 

It’s Okay to Celebrate Success! However Big or Small

We’re constantly talking about how to better our work and personal life. How to achieve your goals? How to get the next promotion? But how often do we appreciate our smaller successes?

Whether it’s the mental fist-pump after speaking up in a meeting, or if you receive praise from an unexpected colleague. Whatever the size of the success, we should celebrate it.

It can be very easy to become submerged by ambition and drive and although determination is important, it doesn’t mean we should forget our daily ‘winning’ moments in the office.

Persevering and knuckling down through stressful times is one thing, but appreciating your quick wins is a great way to feel more energised and positive about future projects. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like to hear when they’re doing a good job?

It can be equally beneficial to look at this from another perspective. When was the last time you aired someone’s success or gave positive feedback to the presenter of a meeting? Small efforts to uplift the mood and appreciation in the office will go a long way, not only for yourself but for those working with you.

Here are some successes I’ve celebrated recently. As I’m sure you can tell, some are much bigger achievements than others, but each have been a productive step in meeting my monthly and annual goals.

  • Completing a content launch for a new TV show to an excellent standard
  • Finished all video edits for the month
  • Connecting with content producers within the domestic business
  • Crossing off the last action on my to-do list by Friday afternoon

Being proactive is one of the best steps to making yourself feel more energised and motivated. Ask for feedback from employers or simply ask for advice. Having a positive outlook won’t just make you feel better but highlight areas for improvement and provide the reassuring feeling that you you really are doing a good job.

What are some of your successes that you want to shout about? Comment below.

Lucy Vince

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Round Up: Boost Your Digital Literacy, June Event

After an incredibly engaging and interesting day at NBCUniversal last month, we’d like to say a huge thank you to our speakers and everyone who made it to our June event. Our speakers and panellists discussed how digital technology and communication disrupt the world we live in. They offered inspiring personal stories and dived into the consumer behaviour we all exhibit, proving why a digital presence has never been more important.

In case you missed it, we’ve rounded up some highlights and as always, we hope to see you at our next event.

Dr Jon Dodd, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Bunnyfoot shared how neuroscience and unconscious behaviour is forever present in the digital world. He explained that digital design is about creating something that emotionally connects with an audience, noting we’re all more likely to do something if it makes us smile. He recommended several books to enhance your knowledge on design principles of design and first on our list is Don Norman’s ‘The Design of Everyday Things’.

Nigel Walley, MD at Decipher controversially stated he hates the word digital, stating ‘it’s an adjective not a noun!’ He compared the growth and change of digital media to biological evolution highlighting we will all experience a world that will gradually adapt to the ever-evolving digital industry. He claims that we need to step away from the stigma that the digital industry creates by asking the question ‘are you a digital jerk or creep?’

Ruth Armstrong, Senior Manager Customer Analytics, Deloitte Digital shared how digital personalisation, influences our decisions every day. She touched on the benefits and restrictions of digital content becoming more specific to you, the user. She also questioned why we would want to limit anyone’s ability to discover new content? “Personalisation needs to be timely, novel, smart, actionable, trusted, transparent and seamless”. Ruth currently leads Deloitte Digital’s Data Science team where she helps clients use data to better understand their customers and audiences.

As we were immersed with forward-thinking arguments for why we need to harness the power of digital media, we got to hear from three women who live and breathe digital, in all formats. Our Power Panel consisted of:

Helen Job, Director of Cultural Intelligence Practice at Flamingo

Sanjana Modha-Patel, Editorial and Branded Content Producer at Scripps Networks Interactive

Heather Killen, Chairman and CEO of Horse and Country TV

They provided fantastic insight into why we live in an ‘always-on’ digital environment and how best to communicate with audiences effectively in a cross-platform industry. It is an unrealistic assumption that consumers will come to you, we need to go out and get them. Sanjana also claimed the idea of a ‘digital detox’ sends shivers down her spine, and we definitely agree!

It’s time to embrace all things digital, whether it’s social media, apps, websites or online communication. We want you to become an informed decision maker and harness the power of digital for you, your career and your company.

Lucy Vince

3 Common Impostor Feelings We All Get and How to Overcome Them

It’s a feeling so many high-achieving women know too well. Picture this; You’re sitting in a meeting about to say something utterly brilliant and that annoying little voice in your head stops you in your tracks. It whispers, “Don’t say it, your words aren’t going to convince anybody.”

Meet impostor syndrome. A habitual fear of being exposed as a fraud. It tells you that you don’t deserve to be recognised for your successes and at any moment, somebody will rumble your fakery and pull you up on it.

Well I’m happy to tell you that you’re not alone. Some of the world’s most successful women, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg battle with impostor feelings.

Here are some of the most common ‘impostor feelings’ we get and my tips for  overcoming them once and for all.

1. “I sailed through this project on luck but next time it won’t be so easy, and then everyone will discover I’m a fraud.”

You didn’t get this far on pure luck alone. “The only time you should prepare to fail is when you fail to prepare”, my friend and fellow WICT board member Judy Goldberg once said to me.

If you slogged your guts out on that presentation, the chances are, you didn’t wing it. Telling yourself you did is only setting you up for more apprehension next time.

2. “I’m not going to speak up in this meeting or presentation because my opinions aren’t important enough.”

This is hugely common amongst young people in the workplace, and especially for women.

You were invited to take part in that meeting or brainstorming session for a reason. Even the smallest idea or a few words can sway a bad decision, spark new ideas or direct the course of a conversation in an impactful way.

Maybe someone in the room is thinking the exact same thing as you but is also too anxious to speak up. Don’t let your ideas slip away so easily.

If you really don’t feel like sharing anything, pipe up at the end of a meeting and summarise the key action points or ask how you can help in terms of next steps. This is a great way of reminding everyone of what needs to be done next and also demonstrates that you were engaged throughout.

Bottom line: Say what’s on your mind. What’s the worst that could happen?

3. “Everybody thinks I have strong, creative solutions but one day, I’ll run out of ideas.”

Ever have those days where you simply can’t get the creativity to flow? Getting bogged down by not being able to think creatively can lead to a perpetual cycle of frustration and self doubt. Take a break, go for a walk, catch up with a colleague and maybe reflect on a problem with them.

The neon green sign flashing the answer could light up at any moment. Getting out of your own head is often critical to developing new ideas.

Most importantly, remember that you’re not a machine. Don’t be so harsh on yourself.

I spotted this Instagram post this morning and I think it illustrates some awesome and very simple ways to take a break and clear your mind.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFkvWjVr838/?taken-by=luxeee16

My Anti-Impostor Feeling Mantra

I find it helps to say this out loud on the days I’m not feeling too sure of myself.

“You’re an expert in your field. Sit up and share your thoughts and ideas with conviction and confidence. Nobody knows this better than you.”

What’s your best advice for someone who experiences impostor feelings more often than they should?

Sanjana Modha-Patel

Scott Says: May Update from the WICT UK President

Time has flown since our very successful WICT conference on International Women’s Day in March.  Thank you to so many WICT members who joined us on the day, at one point we had over 180 attendees and the feedback on our line-up of speakers has been incredible. It was a pleasure to meet so many of you.

devon

In my role as WICT UK President I’m lucky to get to meet many talented women in business however over the Easter period I was able to spend quality time with another amazing woman, my Mum, who turns 70 this month.  We did the Beer to Branscombe walk over the cliff tops in East Devon which is a six mile round trip up some very steep hills!  She threw herself into the challenge with great energy and passion and I had this overwhelming sense of pride that she is my Mum. She also flew on her own for the first time in March to Geneva to visit my late fathers’ sister and her family. It made me realise that this woman was and still is an amazing role model and I’m so lucky to have her in my life.

There’s a saying that goes ‘spend time with your parents; listen to them; nurture them – you don’t know how long they are going to be there’.  This is so true; since losing my father, my father in law and my mother in law over a ten month period I totally cherish the time I spend with my Mum.  I owe her so much and hope that I can be just like her when I turn 70.

Helen Scott

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20 Key Career Lessons for Every Stage in Life

Childhood Lessons

1. Learning is everything.

2. Women can achieve anything they want (I was inspired by Thatcher’s achievement to be the first Prime Minister – I hasten to add I’m not political!).

3. Remember your childhood dreams.

books

Early Career Lessons

1. Don’t ever give up.

2. Be brave, push yourself out of your comfort zone.

3. Ask for help from people you trust.

4. Feedback is a gift; listen to it, thank the person giving it and act on it.

5. Understand how business works and the numbers. Commercial nous is important. Read more

Scott Says: February Update from the WICT UK President

As I write to you this month I’m putting together the final touches to my introduction to the WICT UK conference, which as you know is taking place on International Women’s Day, 8 March. The IWD theme of Gender Parity is a great topic as it’s now going to take a huge 117 years until we reach this! I know that I’m not prepared to wait that long – are you? If you haven’t signed up please do so now in order that you take part.

We have secured an amazing line up of speakers who include Priti Patel the Employment Minister, to Simon Fanshawe, writer and broadcaster. We will also be welcoming the WICT US President, Maria Brennan who is coming over for our event.

Sponsored by Virgin Media and compèred by Guto Harri, MD of External Communications at Liberty Global, the day will be entertaining, educational and thought provoking. This is also another great opportunity to network with your colleagues across our industry. We are also supporting the HeforShe campaign and would encourage all WICT members to bring a guest for free; all your male colleagues are very welcome! Just register your guest on the registration link so we can cater for them.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Helen

5 Ways To Kick Start Your Development Plan Without Asking Your Manager

yesno

1. When ‘No’ might be better as ‘Yes’

If someone offers you an opportunity, don’t dismiss it out of hand. I had a coffee the other day with a colleague I used to work with but a long time ago. He’s looking for a new role in the same industry as me and when I asked how I could help, connect him with any of my contacts, he replied with a flat ‘no, I don’t think so, no thanks.’

But he could have asked me out of all my contacts who did I think would be good to connect with? Just one or two people and he’d have saved himself some time, drunk some good coffee or even just met a new and interesting person. He might even have landed a new job.

2. Treat every day at work like it’s your first day in the job

On day one of the job you’re probably a little scared, you’re keen to impress, you’re excited and you’re ready to learn. You ask lots of questions because you don’t know the answers and you need to learn fast. And you even question a bit more deeply to understand why something is done in a certain way, and you may share other ways you’ve done it or could do it. Your ‘day one stance’ is very contagious and the added energy of the newbie, can lift you through the dull tasks later on and gets you thinking about other areas where you can make a difference and learn.

Read more

5 Small Changes That Can Make a Big Impact on You and Your Life

1. Connect and Eject

Being able to connect and eject starts with building a diverse network.  The more quality people you have in your virtual Rolodex the better!  This way when an opportunity presents itself you can quickly connect two people and then eject from the conversation and allow them to take it from there.  I believe every link could lead to collaboration, a new idea or invention, or problem solved, and at the very least a brilliant conversation between two awesome people.   I also believe if you are transparent and open with your network, it will come back to you in spades.  Remove your expectations and stand back to see what great things can come from being the link.

2. Mindset Matters

There is no doubt that the mindset you take on each day matters.  It matters greatly. It can change your day, ruin your day, and even turn your day around.  I believe a growth mindset, as described so brilliantly by Carol Dweck, is the choice mindset that will lead to success, opportunities and positive outcomes.  Believe it or not, choosing the growth mindset will also increase your energy throughout the day.

3. Launch and Adjust

goose

After many years of trying to be a perfectionist, I learned to let go and launch and adjust.  And I have learned that this could also be the best way to get as near to perfection as possible.  Not only can you learn and laugh at any mistakes you make, once something has launched to the public, you can quickly learn what cultural adaptations need to be made, what needs more clarity, and what might not be working at all and why.  So go ahead, put it out there and see what happens.  Sitting on something for years until it is perfect may be too late.

4. See Something Say Something

If you walk up the subway stairs in New York City you will see this slogan written all over the city.  In 2012 I saw Thomas Friedman start his speech with the very same words.  It resonates and reminds me to stay awake, and aware, and to be vocal. We all have a voice and we should use it. When we see something great, people should know.  When we see something that isn’t quite kosher, we should state our view on the matter, and if we see something down right wrong, we need to let the world know. Be seen. Be heard. Be credible.

5. Mentor and Model

The more you read the more you will see a trend in the significance of mentors in the world of work and progressing in one’s career.  You will also read how critical it is for leaders to model the behaviours that are wanted within a culture.  And what happens to an organisation when there is disconnect or no modelling at all.  Seems simple enough, right? Alas, mentoring and modelling is not yet common practice across all companies. There is no reason we shouldn’t all have a mentor, be a mentor, be a role model, and approach the workplace with a spirit of generosity and abundance to lift as we climb. There is really no excuse not to.

By Judy Goldberg
WonderShift Ltd
@Wondershift