Sara Hyde began the day by talking about her journey from a fairly naïve girl brought up in a ‘nice middle class, 2,4 family’ to a woman who is passionate about women who are caught up in the Criminal Justice System and currently campaigning to become the Labour candidate for Salford. She gave us an insight into women’s prisons and challenged us all to look beyond individualism to the broader community. We were asked to think about our background, to consider why we hadn’t been to prison and to think about how we could contribute to making a difference in the lives of women who often face incredibly hard life decisions.
Wendy Beech-Ward interviewed Jude Levermore about her many years of experience in Christian leadership. Currently working with the Methodist Church, Jude has chaired the board at Greenbelt and worked with her team to transform the event into a sustainable, successful festival. Jude brought great wisdom to the room as she shared what has helped her work in very male dominated environments, how she has navigated the challenges she has faced and how she has learned that to lead you have to be prepared to make unpopular decisions.
Andrea Boden, marketing and partnerships manager for Relate, talked about networking and encouraged us to think about what makes it hard for us to go up to someone new and introduce ourselves. We discussed the assumptions we make about other people before we’ve ever met them, the damage that comparison does to our self-esteem and the negative things we believe about ourselves that make us think people won’t want us to talk to them. Andrea suggested that we exchange those thoughts for their opposites and speak out of those in situations where we’re meeting new people.
Lara Bianca Pilcher wrapped up the day by talking about her work in the creative arts. Dancer, singer, actor and producer Lara talked about the kind of resilience it takes to work in an industry where you might not get work for two years, face endless knock backs and wear your heart of your sleeve. She shared top tips for setting up new projects and fundraising, and left us to remember that we are more than the product of someone else’s imagination.
Thanks to Bekah Legg from Liberti Magazine for this report.