Thursday, February 23, 2017

Did you LOVE Networking with #WOBizClub? ❤️💪

We know that walking into a room full of business people networking can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Networking is essential for any business and can lead to a whole world of connections, referrals, opportunities and exposure. 

So this month’s Business Club offered a masterclass in the art of effective and efficient networking, led by none other than trainer Bernie Cox – and it was a good one!

Seasoned networker, Bernie, reminded us of the benefits that can come from networking – (did you know that over 70% of business comes from face-to-face networking?!) – including building long term professional relationships, identifying business opportunities, developing skills and sharing ideas.  

Bernie used the Six Degrees of Separation exercise to demonstrate how we are only ever six or fewer steps away from everything or anyone, by introduction or through a “friend of a friend”.

And this was never truer than at Tuesday’s Business Club, as we welcomed a whole host of Merseyside’s professionals, ranging from PR to recruiters and educators all looking to find new opportunities and become better connected.

We caught up with the women who attended to find out what they enjoyed most about ‘We Love Networking’, comments included; 

“Really helpful – especially the ‘6 degrees of separation’ exercise and the concept of pitching what you are looking for, rather than what you do” 

“Really informative, fun networking session. I have two contacts from coming tonight – thank you!”

“Loved it! Bernie gave excellent advice and facilitated people making genuine connections”

“A really productive networking session .. thank you! I will definitely use the tips for future events too”

“Impressed with the content, especially the opportunity to say what we were looking for which made the session feel productive and really worth coming to”

“’Six Degrees of Separation’ facilitation by Bernie to ensure each individual obtained a business contact they were looking for – positive and enjoyable”

Thanks to everyone who came – we had a great time! And you won’t have to wait long until our next event … 

Soon we will be celebrating perhaps the biggest event of the year – International Women’s Day! On Wednesday March 8th we will be joined by our event sponsors; University of Liverpool Management School here at 54 St James Street. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Be Bold for Change’, and we’ve pulled out all of the stops for our guest panel.

You can find out more about the upcoming event here – it’s guaranteed to be a sell-out, so be sure to book your ticket ASAP. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

CHANGE IT: Reflecting on Our Current Programme and Looking Ahead to the Next ... 💪💪

Earlier this month we launched a brand new confidence-building programme for the women of Merseyside. As our first 4-week ‘Change It: Progress to Success’ is coming to its end, we thought this would be a good time to catch up with the current cohort, see how they’re getting on, and look ahead to the next programme due to start on Monday 20th of March at 54 St James Street.

“Change It: Progress to Success” is a personal development course that aims to inspire women to feel more confident about what they can achieve. Our trainers will encourage you to think about what it is you want to change, and then help you believe that you can do it.

The programme covers many topics including becoming more assertive and breaking negative thinking habits in order to develop a more positive outlook in all aspects of life. Throughout ‘Change It’ our trainers will help you to learn more about yourself, set achievable goals and plan for a future that you want.

Jenny Wallwork, our Training and Development Specialist, is leading the 4-week programme from 54 St James Street, home of The Women’s Organisation. We caught up with Jenny and the women on her programme to find out more about what they’ve took from the past few weeks.

'Change It' Trainer, Jenny said: "My first ‘Change it’ course’ has been inspiring to myself, working with women from many different backgrounds, who have for some, experienced many challenges in their lives.  Being able to be a part of their journey of change and witness the growth in their confidence and self-esteem, has been a privilege and I look forward to meeting the next cohort."

 Comments from women on the programme included;

“Jenny is a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable trainer who has been welcoming and informative”

“The course is called ‘Change It’, but together we are changing ourselves”

“Feeling empowered”

“I did a ‘one-day’ confidence building course a few years ago and wanted to do more but at the time there didn’t appear to be anything between that and business start-up courses – so thanks for listening” 

“The course and Jenny left me feeling empowered, supported and able to make the changes I want”

“’Change It’ is boss! Jenny is great, very friendly and approachable. Positive thinking and assertiveness modules have helped me already in my day to day – I don’t want the course to end!” 

Over the next three years, we intend to work with over 500 women developing confidence and helping women to see their true potential. We’re thrilled to have such great feedback from the programme and we’re now already preparing for our next. So if you missed our last cohort – it’s not too late to book your place onto the next, which will begin on Monday 20th of March, at The Women's Organisation.

If you are a woman who would like to book a place or find out more about the programme, please contact our engagement team on 0151 706 8111 or email

Monday, February 20, 2017

Join The Women’s Organisation for International Women’s Day 2017!

The   Women’s Organisation invites you to celebrate…International Women’s Day 2017 – ‘Be Bold for Change’

Wednesday March 8th 2017 – 6pm-8:30pm – At The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB

'International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The days also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. 

'The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist or to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights", says world renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. 

Thus International Women's Day is all about unity, celebration,reflection, advocacy and action - whatever that looks like globally at local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women's Day has been occurring for well over a century - and continues to grow from strength to strength.'

Every year we celebrate this important day in women’s history and this year is no exception! Our celebrations are going to be bigger and better than ever before! The Women’s Organisation and event sponsors; University of Liverpool Management School will be hosting this celebration of talented, diverse and pioneering women, discussing how they have made changes in their lives, and how we can make changes for the better, in our own lives. As well as this we will be discussing how we as women are contributing to massive changes and shifts in society today.

On our panel of pioneering women, we will be joined by…

Pamela Ball who will be chairing the discussion.

Pamela Ball is the Co-Founder of the Women’s Equality Party Liverpool and has extensive management experience across a range of sectors. Pamela is passionate about leadership as a key ethical tool and is on a mission to create cross sector leadership models that ensure social value organisations lead on the promotion, development and support of ethical and meaningful business and partnership practices. Pamela is a close friend of The Women’s Organisation and this will be her second year celebrating International Women’s Day with us and helping to chair and host what is going to be an exciting discussion with the rest of our panel guests!

We will also be joined by Helen Lord; Founder of Used Kitchen Exchange.

Helen started Used Kitchen Exchange with nothing more than a laptop, a phone and a car. She set out with one goal; to change the face of an established industry and prove that she could make a ‘do-good’ business with very strong environmental and social ethics into a successful, profitable company. Used Kitchen Exchange is an innovative business that promotes the profitable recycling of used kitchens, offering a complete re-sale service, returning the majority of the profit to the seller. As well as providing affordable, quality pre-owned kitchens to ethically minded, cost conscious families and buyers, Used Kitchen Exchange gives a commercially efficient environmental solution for used kitchens, preventing high volumes of MDF going into landfill.

And…Irene Afful, Founder of Ametrine Enterprise Solutions.

Irene has over 30 years’ experience of working in public sector organisations, including 25 years with the Police Service. She has worked on a national platform, advancing the leadership, equality and diversity agenda and has amassed a wealth of experience, qualifications and skulls along the way! Prior to starting her business; Ametrine Enterprise Solutions, Irene was a Detective Inspector for Merseyside Police and was the first black, female Inspector in the history of this organisation. Ametrine Enterprise Solutions aims to advise on diversity strategies and addressing the underrepresentation of minority groups at all levels of organisations.

And lastly, we are delighted to be welcoming, Rebecca Jones; Co-Founder of Liverpool Girl Geeks.

Liverpool Girl Geeks are on a mission to close the gender gap within the tech sector by creating positive interventions such as events, courses and workshops to inspire women and girls of all ages, as well as celebrating and showcasing role models within the tech sector. Liverpool Girl Geeks are currently taking the tech sector by storm and have partnered up with some incredible companies, the likes of PlayStation, BAFTA and digital giant; Shop Direct.

                                                   TICKETS HERE!

With a lineup like that, we just know that #IWD2017 is going to be something special!

So, if you want to hear from this panel of incredible, pioneering women who have made waves in all different sectors and been bold to make change – then you need to join us on March 8th!

All tickets for this event are £5 and you can get them over on Eventbrite!

Thank you to our our event sponsors; University of Liverpool Management School 

Elizabeth Forrest Turned Her 'Plan B' Into a Business - Forrest Talking Therapies

Elizabeth Forrest had always dreamed of running her own therapy practice, so when her situation changed in 2015, it was the opportunity that she needed to take the leap into self-employment and set up her own business; Forrest Talking Therapies.

Forrest Talking Therapies describes itself as ‘A professional and confidential service in Crosby providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to individuals experiencing anxiety and/or depression.’ As well as this Elizabeth also offers clinical supervision for other practicing CBT therapists. 

Prior to setting up her own business Elizabeth worked for 4 years as a person-centred counsellor in various settings, including the NHS, Age Concern and Sefton Choices where Elizabeth gained experience helping people to overcome a range of problems including bereavement, relationship difficulties, depression, anxiety or sexual abuse. As well as this, from 2006-2010 Elizabeth worked as a Referral Officer for Sefton Council’s Creative 
Alternatives on a prescription programme, providing support for depression and anxiety. 

It was in 2015 when Elizabeth reduced her hours working within the NHS to 4 days per week that she began to think about setting up her own business; ‘I’d had a difficult time in my personal life, and things had also been difficult in my role in the NHS after the service I worked for went through a re-contracting process and my job was put at risk.’

‘This made me realise that I couldn’t 100% rely on this work and a Plan B would help if I ever found myself in this position again.’ But Elizabeth found from reducing her working hours, the extra time that she had to herself was really helpful for her and began to feel she had the energy to take on a new challenge.

‘It was at this time that a colleague, who had set up his own practice, asked me to supervise him. To do this I had to go through the process of getting insurance, so I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to set up my own business.’ 

At this point Elizabeth asked her colleague for advice and also contacted The Women’s Organisation, as well as researching online and reading around the topic of setting up a therapy business. Elizabeth says; ‘I felt slightly daunted by all the work to do but also excited about the new adventure.’ 

Over a period of 6 months Elizabeth worked with Senior Business Adviser; Huda Mamoun on her business plan and was guided along the process of becoming self-employed. ‘The meetings with Huda were really helpful in getting me to focus on what needed to be done and give me set deadlines to work to.’ As well as this, Elizabeth attended our training courses with Bernie; Planning for Success and Building a Social Media Strategy. 

And throughout the process of setting up her business there were many things that Elizabeth had to juggle continuing to work 4 days a week in the NHS and working with 2 colleagues to set up the Liverpool Branch of the British Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapists which provides networking and training events. 

As well as this when setting up her business and over the last few years in general Elizabeth became very aware of her emotional well being and made sure she was looking after herself. She told us; ‘This is part of what motivates me to have my own business as it gives me control over my workload.’

In fact, having the control, flexibility and independence of being the boss is what Elizabeth enjoys most about being self-employed, as well as the variety that each day offers. ‘It allows me to make time for the things that rejuvenate me such as going to the gym, practicing mindfulness, reading and spending time with my loved ones.’

So far, Elizabeth says that she is happy with the way that Forrest Talking Therapies is going and told us; ‘I have taken on a contract from an organisation that provides CBT online so I’m getting regular work through them. And I’m regularly seeing clients for face to face work and continue to supervise.’

And what advice would Elizabeth give to a woman who was thinking about starting her own business; ‘Contact The Women’s Organisation, this was so valuable to me! Also, make lots of time for planning before you launch as you’ll be surprised how much you need to think about and put into place before you start earning an income.’

‘Allow yourself to dream about where you want to be in 5 years’ time and then start setting yourself small goals to move towards tis. Before you know it you’ll be living your dream!’ 

If you’d like to find out more Forrest Talking Therapies or access the services that Elizabeth offers, you can use the contact details below!

Phone Number: 07926 485 362

And if you’ve been inspired by Elizabeth’s story and would like to see how The Women’s Organisation can help you with your business idea, get in touch with us. Email or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Friday, February 17, 2017

Why the University of Liverpool think that 54 St James Street is a “First Class Venue”

The University of Liverpool are regular users of 54 St James Street’s meeting and conferencing facilities. We contacted Project Administrator, Rob Hannah to find out what made University of Liverpool choose and return to the meeting and conference centre based in the trendy Baltic Triangle district of Liverpool.

Hi Rob, tell us a bit about the University of Liverpool and what it is you do there:

We work at the University of Liverpool Management School and provide a leadership development and business growth programme called GrowthCatalyst for businesses operating in the Liverpool City Region. Our next Cohort begins in February 2017 and we are currently recruiting businesses for that.

When did you use 54 St James Street and what for?

We first used the venue in June 2014 and have been using it regularly ever since. We are usually there at least once a month. Our programme has several different elements such as masterclasses and coaching and we find that 54 St James Street meets our requirements for all of them.

How do you find the facilities and the overall atmosphere at 54 St James Street?

Superb. The fourth floor in particular, with its terraces and stunning views of the city always draws complimentary remarks from our delegates. The event spaces are also modern and comfortable. The staff have always been really helpful too and we have developed a great relationship with them – they even let us store our banners and materials there in between our events. Nothing is too much trouble. The catering is also fantastic and the biscuits that accompany our tea and coffee are always a big hit!

What are the key elements that make an event successful in your eyes?

An easily accessible, competitively priced location with clean, modern spaces and staff who are friendly, efficient and professional.

 What do you look for in a venue?

The venue is key as this is what gives the delegate their first impression of the event. If they feel welcomed and comfortable at the venue straight away then hopefully this will contribute significantly to the success and their enjoyment of the event.

Why do you choose to return to 54 St James Street over other locations?

It has consistently proved to be a brilliant location for us and exceeded our expectations every time. Knowing that everything else is in their very capable and well organised hands allows us to get on with providing the best possible events for our delegates.

Would you recommend 54 St James Street to other businesses? 

Without a doubt – it’s a first class venue at which to hold an event.

University of Liverpool used 54 St James Street's impressive Roddick Rooms that boast fabulous views of the River Mersey and Liverpool City. The Roddick Rooms are named after the inspirational Dame Anita Roddick and cater for up to 150 delegates theatre style with a half day rate of just £188 and full day rate of £300 . 

The suite can be used as one or divided into two or three separate areas to create elegant training, networking or social spaces. All rooms are fully equipped with lecterns, static & roving microphones and state of the art integrated audio-visual equipment, video conferencing facilities are available as well as blu-ray/DVD players, iPod docks.

The Roddick Conference Suite is very versatile; located on the fourth floor of the building and have easy access to external roof terraces. All rooms have natural light and heating and cooling system which can be controlled from inside the room. Free connectivity WiFi is available.

If you are looking for an impressive Liverpool city centre venue to hold training, meetings, conferences and events, why not pop in to 54 St James Street to check out the facilities. Flexible spaces available catering for events of 2-200 delegates.  Find out more from our team via or 0151 706 8111 and follow @54StJamesStreet on twitter for news and offers.

If you would like to find out more about the University of Liverpool Management School visit or follow @UolManSchool on Twitter

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Meet Our New Team Member - Alison Blackhurst

We've had an exciting few months at The Women's Organisation, with a number of new faces joining the office. In January, we introduced you to Jenny Wallwork - if you missed it, you can catch up here. Now, we would like to introduce you to Alison Blackhurst, another of our new staff members who is working alongside Jenny on the Training Team, currently delivering our new programme 'Change It: Progress to Success' in Speke Children's Centre and Picton Children's Centre.

We sat down with Alison to find out more about her interests, delve into her past and discover how she ended up with us here today at The Women's Organisation.  

What’s your full name and where are you from?

Alison Blackhurst, from Liverpool

Tell me how you first found out about The Women’s Organisation and become part of our team?

I have known about the Women’s Organisation for some time now.  When I was setting up my business I came here for some business advice, and have followed the W.O on social media since then. It was here that I saw the job advertised and decided I would apply for it. I was invited for interview and was offered the job - yay!

What kind of things have you done prior to coming to The Women’s Organisation?

I studied Psychology and I.C.T at Liverpool Hope University and completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Leadership Development at Chester University. I have worked within the Training & Development field for over 20 years working across the public, private and voluntary sectors .  I also have my own training business which I set up in 2012. More recently I was a carer for my Mum for 4 years until she sadly passed away last year.

What has surprised you about working at The Women’s Organisation?

The amount of support the W.O provide for women across the Liverpool City Region is great. The atmosphere in the office. It is such a nice environment full of energy and great people.

What’s the best thing about working at The Women’s Organisation?

Working with like minded people who share the same belief’s and values as I do.  I really do enjoy working out in the community, meeting women from across the City and listening to their stories, whilst providing training and support to help them develop.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays?

We are currently delivering our new 8 week Personal Development Training Programme, Change It. I deliver the course  on a Monday and Tuesday morning . Once I have finished the session I will  head back to the office, to complete admin etc.  I would also be arranging meetings out in the community to engage and network with organisations.

I will also be delivering various courses for our Enterprise Hub Project including Business Planning.

What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

I used to be an Air Stewardess and as a single Mum I completed a combined degree with two daughters under 5.

What do you do when you aren’t working? 

My favourite thing is spending time with Henry our King Charles Cavalier ( When I say “our” Henry he does belong to my daughter Sophie, but spends half the week with us!).  I also love gardening and spend hours planting and pottering.  I’m currently learning to speak Spanish, something I have wanted to do for a long time.

Welcome to the team Alison, we are very happy to have you here! 

You can find out more about The Women's Organisation's new programme Change It: Progress to Success, which Alison will be working on here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

'If It Needs Writing, We Can Do It!' - Copy Media On Starting Their Business...

When interviewing women for our case studies, it’s not often that they tell us that interviewing others is at the very centre of the skill and craft of what they do, but that was certainly the case with Janet Tansley and Dawn Collinson, the two halves of Copy Media. So you might say that we felt slightly daunted when heading down to their offices in Liverpool’s business district one crisp morning. But we needn’t have worried because Copy Media were fantastic interviewees and have a brilliant story of their journey into self-employment that we want to share with you!

‘If it needs writing we can do it’ Janet Tansley told us when asked to describe the business Copy Media. ‘Our business, in essence, is copywriting - writing features for magazines and national newspapers, press releases for PR companies, website content, ghostwriting books - we can turn our hand to most things.’

Dawn Collinson continued: ‘We write copy for individuals as well, so if people need papers preparing, business pitches or sponsorship applications writing, then we can work with them on those too.’

Between them Dawn and Janet have more than 60 years’ professional experience. Both have journalism backgrounds and actually trained together at the University of Central Lancashire back in 1983. Janet says: ‘We’ve been in the business a very long time. I first worked on a weekly newspaper in Stockport as a crime reporter and then joined the Liverpool Echo, where for 28 years I was a news reporter, women’s editor, features editor and ultimately a features writer.’

Dawn’s career followed a similar path also, starting out with weekly newspapers, evening newspapers and then lifestyle and fashion magazines. ‘I also worked in America for a short time, as the Echo used to own papers there, and then I joined Janet in the features department. We worked alongside each other for 18 years on human interest stories, fashion, beauty, showbiz and topical news features.’

After working so closely together for so many years, it seemed only natural to consider joint projects when they were offered redundancy from the Liverpool Echo. ‘We had previously talked about starting our own business,’ said Janet, ‘and when redundancy was offered to us we saw it as an opportunity to stick with what we are good at and enjoy, and develop that while working for ourselves.’

The first thing they did after deciding they wanted to set up on their own was … contact The Women’s Organisation!

Through their journalistic experience, Dawn and Janet were familiar with our work and also liked the idea of accessing support from an organisation that empowers females. They were paired up with business adviser Jo Mountfort and took full advantage of the courses we have on offer.

Dawn said ‘Our regular meetings with Jo were great, it was nice to have somebody reminding us that our skills were worth having.’ Janet agreed: ‘It made something that could seem like a minefield going forward, so much easier. We were given a path and we could see from A to B quite clearly.’

Now they have launched Copy Media, Janet and Dawn have been overwhelmed with the support that they’ve had from the strong network of contacts built up during their careers. Dawn says: ‘We have a wide network and people were good to us so we didn’t just walk out of the door into nothing. Even if it was just moral support, it was all support and it was nice to have.’

Everything is going extremely well for Janet and Dawn and they now combine copywriting with all the other aspects which come with running a business, such as bookkeeping, procuring work and running their social media channels. Janet says: ‘As journalists we were always encouraged to be self-motivated, we don’t sit around and wait for things to be handed to us. This has helped our transition from working for somebody else to working for ourselves. We are quite strict with ourselves and obviously we’re used to working to deadlines so that’s been helpful.’

The pair are now enjoying the benefits of being their own bosses and the flexibility that brings, which extends to the different types of work that they are now asked to do, such as proofreading and ghostwriting books, aspects they hadn’t previously considered. ‘We can now choose what we do and there are so many different elements. It’s fresh and like starting all over again,’ said Janet.

The New Year saw them evaluate how the past six months had gone, since they launched their business in June 2016, and plan for the year ahead. Dawn explained: ‘We’d been quite fortunate as a lot of work had come our way through people we knew, so we hadn’t had to actively target businesses or gone out promoting ourselves. Now we know what we’re capable of and we have the confidence to go out and pitch the range of services we can offer.’

They both agree that taking redundancy and going out own their own has been the right decision. Dawn says: ‘Every week and every month have confirmed that we’ve done the right thing. We’re happy about what we’ve done and increasingly confident about the future of Copy Media.’ Janet added: ‘We’re really grateful for all of the help that we’ve had because it’s made a huge difference. That wave of positivity behind us has really pushed us on.’

We wish Copy Media the best of luck for the future with their business and are delighted to have been able to support them!

If you would like to find out more about Copy Media and their services, you can use the contact details below:

And if you’ve been inspired by Janet and Dawn’s story and would like to find out how The Women’s Organisation can support you to start your own business, then get in touch with us! Email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111