What people said about the October gathering

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We asked people what they thought of the October gathering and this is what they said:

‘Good to meet some interesting, motivated and pioneering women and to absorb the excellent content.’

‘My experience of the day was great. I found the women I didn’t know very friendly and willing to chat. It was good to have some space in the day to chill and it wasn’t too intense which I really appreciated.’

And from someone coming for the first time:
‘I was a bit apprehensive about coming on my own but I found others were friendly so this wasn’t an issue. The other thing I was concerned about was that this would be another ’tissues and issues’ women’s conference type thing but I was reassured of this before the day by talking to one of the organisers. It was really good that is was normal(ish!) women who lead normal(ish) lives gathering together to share their experiences without any hype.’

On Liz’s communication session:
‘I was apprehensive when we started. I don’t mind public speaking but usually hate this kind of training. I was pleasantly surprised though. Liz was great and I felt there were some techniques here I could use in the future.’
‘energising, useful, exciting and great to try these things out in a safe environment.’

On Emily’s work with vulnerable women:
‘Humbling and heartbreaking. Great to be reminded of the pioneering work that motivated and incredibly brave individuals can inspire. Has some resonances with the work I am involved and we plan to keep in touch.’

On Kristin’s session on feminism:
‘Probably the most useful session for me. I don’t get as much time as I would like for reading and thinking and this session was informative, interesting and presented in a manner simple enough that my brain could cope with on a tired Saturday.’

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October 2013

Photographed by Jendella

Kristin Aune talked about the resurgence of feminism, and her book Reclaiming the F-Word. The word ‘feminism’ carries lots of baggage and so her definition was helpful – ‘Beliefs and actions that challenge women’s subordination and promote their equality and value’. She talked about the connections between feminism and spirituality, and the rise of activism which challenges sexism, such as the Lose the Lad’s Mags campaigns and Everyday Sexism. You can download a handout of her presentation.

Liz Garland is an actor and presentation coach. She led us in a very practical session on communication skills which saw us shouting across the room, whispering in each other’s ears, standing up tall and generally thinking about how to get our message across. Lots of fun and extremely helpful. Jeni Hallam Benson bravely volunteered to be coached by Liz, and the difference between her ‘before’ and ‘after’ short talks was dramatic and very enlightening.

Emily Vesey then talked about the work she does with vulnerable women, which was incredibly powerful and moving.

Thanks to Liz Clutterbuck for hosting us at St George’s and to Jeni Hallam Benson for taking photos. A fabulous day with some outstanding content.

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.

February 2013

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Jody Stowell talked about what Genesis says about men and women and the way God created us. There’s the text and a recording of a longer version of this talk that she did at the Yes 2 Women Bishops Conference a few weeks later on their website.

Gemma Dunning talked about her work with LGBTQ young people, and you can download notes of her talk here.

We met at All Hallows near Liverpool Street.

July 2012

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We talked about equality – what it is and what it isn’t, and how we can enable younger women to have an easier passage into leadership. We met at St Mary’s, Hornsey Rise.

Jo Dolby was there to video people’s reactions to the day, which you can see on her vimeo page here.

March 2012

march 2012 gathering

This was our first gathering, and it felt like we were onto something. We talked about barriers to leadership, how we can be proactive in growing leadership and how we can progress equality. We discussed whether people would welcome more gatherings like this and what the values should be. You can see some notes from our discussion here.

We met at All Hallows in Bow.