The first day we met Emma, she came bounding in to The Dispensary Kitchen on a wet and windy day, armed with a note book and a huge smile. After just a few minutes of chatting, I knew we’d get on; firstly, she’s an over sharer of all very personal and awkward stories with people she’s only recently met, just like me! But most importantly, Emma completely denotes female empowerment. In fact she is such an advocate of women supporting other women, she has set up professional networking forum Women Who Do, which she operates in her spare time, to do just that.
By day, Emma works the nine till’ five in a busy marketing job. But before, after and in-between hours, Emma runs various events across Winchester, Southampton and Exeter to connect, support and empower women with their career or business journey. Read on to find out why sometimes worrying less about the ‘what ifs’ can be the success behind getting started, discovering a passion and making a difference.
Why did you decide to start Women Who Do?
I wanted to create an open, welcoming and supportive network for women, who are driven by their passion for their chosen career and willingness to support other women. Plenty of networking events I had attended previously were driven by sales and referrals, over and above actually networking. Women Who Do is so much more than getting people into a room, it’s about creating a hub, online and offline, that connects women, shares information, encourages discussions and gives a platform for empowerment.
What has the been the best decision you have made so far?
The best decision has been to keep it exclusive to women (despite getting some flack about it…from both sexes!). This isn’t about ignoring guys, that one detail does not define what we are trying to do and it frustrates me when some people focus on that one aspect rather than the whole reason and ambition for what we have created. Being exclusive to women offers women the chance to feel like they are treading common ground with the people in the room, there is no need to have to speak louder, or stand taller. The fact is, we DO NOT, in 2018, live in the age of total equality, so there is absolutely still the need for women to feel supported by other women who they can relate and empathise with in a encouraging and a non-competitive environment.
What mindset has helped you achieve so much success so far?
“I can, I will” My mantra. No questions asked, just doing it. When I wanted to start WWD I didn’t sit and write a business plan or financial forecast, I just said “this is what I want to do” and did it. If it fails, it fails. There will always be the next thing. I also think that things only work when your heart is truly in them. If you’re not passionate, it will never turn out the way you want it to and will soon become this massive weight to carry around. I’m lucky because I don’t make a living from Women Who Do – so it’s still my passion, rather than my money-maker, it gives me the chance to build it with different priorities at the heart of it. Rather than “make me a tonne of money”, it’s “let’s see if there’s something amazing we can do here for other people”
With that in mind, what is it that motivates you?
A lot of things motivate me. Seeing women come together and support each other without competition is amazing to be a part of and getting positive feedback always inspires me. Working on my own can be hard when I need someone to kick me up the butt – that’s usually my other half – who is great at getting me direction. I think all in all it comes down to knowing that I’m doing something right for other people.
How do you achieve a good balance between your busy full time job, Women Who Do and your personal life?
Badly. I joke, I actually have it pretty easy. I fit Women Who Do in around my full-time job in marketing, setting up my own consultancy and trying to write my first book; but somehow still have time to watch Game of Thrones in bed and eat too much cake with my pals. Which probably shows how low maintenance each aspect of my life is! We’re quite strict at home about using our phones too much or me working over the weekends which is great. I think you kind of go in to these things knowing that a bit of that work/life balance will shift. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. Plus it’s not really work is it, it’s bloody good fun!
And finally, our trademark million dollar question – What would say is your spirit animal?
When I asked my boyfriend what my spirit animal was, he said, “a manatee – because they like to eat food and lay around all day” then laughed his head off like he was the funniest guy on earth. *Side-eye emoji* I think a little beaver, maybe, beavering away, building stuff and always doing something.
You can learn more about Emma and Women Who Do and how to get involved at: womenwd.co.uk You can also connect with Women Who Do on their Twitter handle: @WomenWD Facebook: Women Who Do and Instagram: womenwhodo_uk