July 2013

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The summer Gathering of Women Leaders was fabulous – a cool church full of inspirational, feisty, funny, courageous and creative women on a very hot day.

We talked about coping with criticism, helped by a panel comprising Jude Trenier, Vicky Walker and Vicky Beeching. We discussed how not to take it personally, when and how to respond, how to discern the opportunity for growth and the particular nature of online critique.

Next we heard from women who have acted on ideas and made things happen.¬†Rachel Warwick started Lunch almost accidentally after watching the documentary Poor Kids and being struck by how families with children on free school meals don’t get any extra help in the holidays. She started talking about it and inspiring people to get involved. That summer Lunch served 300 meals, last year it was 3000, and this year it will probably be more.

Shannon Hopkins is a social entrepreneur who was involved in the Truth isn’t Sexy Campaign, and has set up Sweet Notions, a social enterprise that trains women to repurpose jewellery and accessories and sell them. She talked about the Transformational Index, a unique way of measuring social change, and Chateau Duffy that brought together a broke owner of a property in France and a group of people who needed somewhere to go on holiday and which has resulted in an almost renovated building that will be finished this year.

And then Jo Dolby gave us her wisdom on starting new things, and of not being afraid of collaboration. Her latest project is Coffee Rings and Beautiful Things that nurtures creative community and is a treasure trove of wonderful content.

Finally Rebecca Baron talked about the IF campaign and particularly how hunger is a gender issue, affecting women and girls disproportionately.

In between there was lots of time for talking and connecting, eating and drinking, listening and learning – a fab day.

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