Women In Business NI Conference 2013 – Connecting and Engaging – Part 1

As part of promoting my jewellery business and my blog, I am part of several business networks.

For about 18 months I have been part of the Women In Business NI network, and regularily attend their monthly workshops and networking lunches.

Last week I attended their large annual conference for the first time, and I thought I would share a little of what I learned.

It was held in Hilton, Belfast, and over 300 women (and a few men) were in attendance, and the main sponsor was Ulster Bank.

The theme was “Connecting and Engaging”

Women Connecting Globally

Susan Davis (Chair, Susan Davis International and Vital Voices Global Partnership) encouraged us to learn from one another, and stressed the value of business and personal networking. There is more that binds us than divides us. Susan shared the importance of “Paying it Forward”, and summarised her ethos succintly with

Speak up
Speak out
Lean in
Lean on
Pay it forward

More balls than most – juggle your way to success

The straight-talking (!) Lara Morgan entertained and inspired us with her story of how she sold her way to success, ending up with selling her business for £20 million.Some of her gems of wisdom included :
Business doesn’t happen by remote control
Get in the race before you get run over (take your product to market when 80% satisfied with it – it will never be 100%)
Always make your family your priority over business – set boundaries
Look after yourself as well as your business
Delegate – they may not do it exactly the way you would do it – they might do it better!
Learn from your mistakes …. and do it better!

(and as I am writing this blog post, Lara Morgan is on the panel of BBC “The Apprentice – You’re Fired!” – more about Lara in my next post)

Growing Business

The final speaker of the morning, and she came bearing samples of her delicious chocolate, was Jo Fairley, founder of Green & Blacks chocolate. She shared how she set out to change the world, one square of chocolate at a time.  For those of us tempted to over analyse our brand, she said she spend 10 minutes on the name, and 5 minutes on the logo – and they haven’t changed!
Some of her advice:
Listen to your inner voice / instincts
Don’t have to be different, but be the BEST at what you do.
Be creative with promotions, don’t spend on advertising
Don’t be so fixed upon the destination that you don’t enjoy the journey.
and my favourite

Work – should be about your PASSION, not your PENSION.

Phew! – that was the morning sessions – more to come, but I will keep that for another post.

Thanks to all the staff at Women In Business (NI) for a great event.

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