During my first week at MMC I attended the North East Chamber of Commerce Inspiring Females Conference at Ramside Hall in Durham. One of the Chamber’s flagship events, it featured guest speakers, breakout sessions, and gave the attendees a chance to network… and have a bit of boogie (read on!).
There were two overriding themes at the conference – the importance of flexible working patterns and encouraging diversity in the workplace.
Firstly, Lesley Moody MBE, Chamber President and Managing Director of AES Digital, explained the importance of flexible working patterns. According to Lesley, women are three times more likely to work part-time than men, often because of the lack of flexible working patterns available to them. She also mentioned that many employees now view quality of life as equally as important as salary.
Here at MMC, we have purposely created a culture of flexible working because we recognise the importance of life outside of the office, juggling family, studies and workload. So, we were naturally very pleased to hear that more businesses are prioritising the wellbeing of their staff.
Secondly, a real emphasis was put on encouraging young women to enter male dominated industries. Two of the speakers, Sophie Moorby of Go North East and Darush Dodds of Esh Group, discussed the lack of diversity in their industries, explaining that people are often put off applying for roles because of gender stereotypes. Additionally, both went on to say that their organisations were looking at ways to improve diversity in the workplace.
I think it’s fantastic to see companies like Esh Group and Go North East making such an effort to be inclusive of women in typically male dominated industries.
The guest speakers were followed by breakout sessions. One was aimed at teaching the delegates about mindfulness and was ran by Donna Elliott and Cheryl Lee of Now Is Your Time. The session was great fun and helped change my perception of what it means to be mindful – it’s not all about meditation, sometimes you need to get up and dance!
Overall, it was an incredible and inspiring day, and I very much look forward to attending more events in the future.
Research and Marketing Assistant