Friday, June 22, 2018

Dayo's Story: How Change It Changed Me

We love nothing more than when our 'Change It: Progress to Success' graduates share their amazing stories of how the programme has had a positive impact on their lives. Author, Dayo Benson recently finished the 4-week Change It programme at 54 St James Street and had some fantastic comments to share about it...

"The Change It:Progress to Success course facilitated a time of transformation for me. I was completely oblivious to some of the ways I was holding myself back, and the course challenged my thinking, attitudes, and beliefs about myself.
Beyond raising my self-awareness and revealing areas in which I needed to work on myself, Jenny, the course leader, also provided practical tips for making positives changes.

Change It was the highlight of my week for the four weeks of the course. I left each session with lots of food for thought and points to action. It spurred me to commence my own personal research on self-improvement and personal development. I appreciated the safe and supportive environment that Jenny cultivated and found myself able to share openly with the other women--a huge step for this reserved introvert.

Every woman should do Change It, or something similar. We're so used to rushing around, juggling numerous responsibilities; barely catching a breath. Change It is an opportunity to catch your breath, reevaluate your life and goals, and determine whether to change direction or stay on course.

I would highly recommend this course to anybody who feels stuck in a rut or who simply wants to unlock their full potential.

All my expectations regarding the course were superseded. I'm sure yours will be too."

Dayo with her Change It group

Thanks to Dayo for sharing your experience of Change it, we wish you all the best for your future! Dayo has written a number of fiction books and you can find more information out about them over on her website here 

We have recently announced more 'Change it: Progress to Success' dates going on around Liverpool:

Life Rooms, Walton - Wednesday 27th June 2018 (5 sessions)
54 St James Street - Tuesday 7th August 2018 (4 sessions)
54 St James Street - Wednesday 19th September 2018 (4 Sessions)
Dingle Childrens Centre -Thursday 20th September 2018 (8 sessions)

Toxteth Firefit Hub -Thursday 20th September 2018 (5 sessions)
54 St James Street - Tuesday 30th October 2018 (4 sessions)
Everton Childrens Centre - Monday 8th October 2018 (5 Sessions)

If you'd like to find out more information about the programme or to book a place, contact us on 0151 706 8111 or email us on and find out how we can support you.

📢 'Change It: Progress to Success' New Dates Announced

‘Change it: Progress to Success’ was designed to help the women of Liverpool see their true potential and do great things. We have been lucky enough over the past year to help women in different stages of their life come together to build a positive future. This is why we are so delighted to be able to announce our new dates for the programme!

Whether you’re looking to manage your thinking or develop more effective communication skills 'Change it: Progress to Success' really has something for everyone. We have seen women become more motivated and confident right in front of our eyes and walk away from the sessions with a new lease of life

The dates and venues for the programme are:

Life Rooms, Walton - Wednesday 27th June 2018 (5 sessions)
54 St James Street - Tuesday 7th August 2018 (4 sessions)
54 St James Street - Wednesday 19th September 2018 (4 Sessions)
Dingle Childrens Centre -Thursday 20th September 2018 (8 sessions)
Toxteth Firefit Hub - Thursday 20th September 2018 (5 sessions)
54 St James Street - Tuesday 30th October 2018 (4 sessions)
Everton Childrens Centre - Monday 8th October 2018 (5 Sessions)

Are you still wondering whether 'Change it: Progress to Success' is for you?

We caught up with Natalie Burgess who graduated from the Change It Programme, before starting her role as a Finance officer for The Women's Organisation to tell you all about her experience on the programme and why Change it will change you.

I’d just had my first child and didn’t feel like I really knew what I was doing, and it started to make me feel a little bit depressed really. Picton Childrens Centre really helped guide me through the steps of having my first child. Checking the centres timetable, I saw Change it and I thought ‘I’m going to apply’ so I booked onto the course and I can honestly say it was the best 8 weeks of my life.

I went onto the programme because I wanted to become a better me, I felt like I was very confident before having children and I started to feel like I didn’t know who I was or where I was going in life, but doing the programme helped me realise who I really am.

The best thing about the programme was learning how to say no, it’s really helpful to know how to be more assertive. I’m also confident in myself again, it’s made me realise that life is too short, and you should really enjoy it.

I’ve always thought about starting my own business, and after finding out I was pregnant with my 2nd child it scared me because I didn’t want to struggle with working and having childcare issues, I realised that if I did my passion of starting my own business I’ll be able to be in my children’s life a lot more, this is still my dream but now I’m able to feel more motivated about going for it.

Since Change it, I received information from the childrens centre about a job that was being advertised at The Women’s Organisation, and since the organisation had already helped me a lot I decided to go for it, and I got the job!

I’m now able to focus on my dreams and would say, do it, go and do it for anyone thinking about doing the programme! Never have a stigma about personal development programmes, they are there to help and support you and having Creche facilities at Picton gave me 2 hours to focus on myself!

I’ve suggested the programme to my mum and my sister, because it’s finally made me realise that I’m not the only one who has problems in life."

Natalie has since gone on to work for an accountancy firm and we're so proud of the achievements she has made and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors!

If you'd like to find out more information about the programme or to book a place, contact us on 0151 706 8111 or email us on and find out how we can support you.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Five reasons your marketing campaign isn’t working (and how to fix it)

There comes a point when growth plateaus and you chug along at the same level. So, it’s time for a new plan. A plan that’ll drive your business forward and take it to the next level.

Customer Focus and Talent Development
In 2015, Brand Learning Published Growth Drivers an in-depth study looking at some of the key growth opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes.  The two biggest opportunities identified were 1) customer happiness and 2) development of talent within an organization.  So, on a strategic level this is something you can working to drive growth.

Put the focus on your customers
How can you deliver more value? Take the time to research them, understand what they’re about. Talk to them, listen and make changes that enable you to increase their satisfaction.

Invest in your team
Make it easier for your staff to learn new skills, maximize their talents and be involved with the growth of the business. This will help them be more productive and motivated, creating fresh energy that contributes to your drive-for-growth.

Develop a Membership Strategy
You can drive your business forward by offering your customer a membership plan that delivers added value to the brand experience.  Some of the benefits include:
  • Long-term engagement. Members stay loyal and will actively get involved with your brand.
  • Warm leads. You’ll have a database of people who already trust you.  So, you can create     campaigns that generate more business.
  • Referrals. Members are more likely to recommend your brand.
Team up With a Membership Management Service
Creating a truly meaningful membership experience requires excellent planning and implementation. You need to think about printed welcome packs, membership cards, regular communication and other benefits.  This can be costly and time consuming, especially if you don’t have the skills and resources at your disposal.

However, you can get around this by using a professional membership management service. Because they specialize in creating and maintaining membership experiences, they’ll be able to implement your strategy to a very high standard thereby making sure it gets results.  They can take care of the design and printing of literature, the creation of membership cards, the mailing out of communications, as well as offering expert insights that can help you improve your strategy and ultimately drive your business forward.
Keep up with technology
The world is changing rapidly.  New technologies emerge every year and they’re affecting the way we do business; the way we deliver value to customers and the way we operate.  Look at the latest developments; how can you exploit them?  By keeping up with the latest technology, you can get ahead and win valuable market share from your key competitors who themselves might be slow in keeping up with the times.

Digital: Business Blogging
Business Blogging is one of the key tactical areas of generating online growth.  It contributes to several strategic objectives:

  1. Brand awareness and reputation.   Positions you in the market as a trusted authority.  Gives people a chance to engage with and learn about your brand.
  2. Helps you rank well in search engines. Producing authoritative content on a regular basis means you have more pages being indexed by search engines.  Not only that, but other high authority publications might reference your material on their websites, meaning you get high quality backlinks which boost your domain authority.
  3. Helps you get found by customers.  People go online to seek information.  Having relevant material that ranks well in search engines means you’re more likely to be discovered by potential customers.
  4. Drives social media marketing.  Sharing high-quality content on social media will help drive traffic to your website and, in the long run, improve conversion rates.
Traditional: Direct Mail
While many companies are reaping the benefits of digitalization, there is a significant opportunity in traditional marketing tactics. Direct mail is one of them. A clever and creative direct mail campaign is a great way to get noticed because people value tactile experiences more than digital ones.  By reaching places that digital marketing can’t, it can help you generate additional sales and forge new customer relationships.

Big thanks to Romax, who put together this informative piece for our blog!

Founded in 1997, Romax is a privately owned marketing services company in central London supplying data driven direct marketing services. They have grown consistently year on year and handle every aspect of direct marketing from data and design to print and delivery. Romax are passionate about providing the best client service and take the time to really understand their clients’ needs, allowing them to deliver winning results again and again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A great morning at the Women's Business Start Up Conference!

The Enterprise Hub Roadshow is well underway and we were delighted to host the Women's Business Start Up Conference this week!

We welcomed a dynamic group of women thinking about taking the plunge into starting their own businesses to look at the practicalities of being your own boss and hear first hand from those who have done it!

We roped in local entrepreneur and former client, Michelle O'Dwyer of Baytree Catering & Events, to share her inspiring start up journey with the group. Michelle's is a story of determination, resilience and SUCCESS!

After 13 years in business, Michelle knows a thing or two about perseverance and running with the opportunities offered to her to make a success of her passion.  Michelle spoke about the highs and lows of running a business, from surviving the recession to getting Mary Berry's seal of approval and carrying the Olympic Torch.

The power of saying "yes" is clear in Michelle's journey, with a successful TV show, The Food Life, on Made in Liverpool to show for it. Michelle encouraged the group to take up the offers which have potential to add value to their business and make the most out of the opportunities presented to them.

We also heard from our very own Jo Austin, marketing manager here at The Women's Organisation, who led the discussion and shared some of her own experiences as a marketing consultant.

Running a business is all about lateral thinking and the group learned to think outside of the box in our group exercise. Our two teams were pitted head to head to think about the uses of a card board box. With suggestions including a hedgehog hutch and light box, our winning suggestion was eco-friendly cardboard confetti!

The team then discussed the pros and cons of self-employment to help decide if being their own boss is the right route for them. This offered a practical look at the drawbacks of self-employment and what the associated benefits might be.

This was followed by a frank discussion around the reasons why start-up business might fail, from lack of market research to lack of forward-planning and cash flow problems, and the strategies which can be put in place to avoid this.

After an insightful session, our group enjoyed the practical elements of the day and the opportunity to network with others and gain confidence through talking with like-minded women.

Here is what some of the group had to say...

"A great event with solid advice from Jo to help me formulate a plan going forward"

"I thought it was really encouraging and has given me lots of points to think about"

If you would like to find out more about events happening near you under the Enterprise Hub Roadshow, click here

Monday, June 11, 2018

Business Club presents: Summer Speed Networking

It's time to practice your networking skills and meet your next great business contact! 

Do you need to brush up on your networking skills? Or perhaps you're looking for your next business contact?

Summer is fast approaching and we're already looking forward to our Summer Speed Networking event - back for a second year! Learn how to make connections that count and refine your networking skills at our Summer Speed Networking Event!
Join us on Tuesday 24th July, 6 – 8:30pm at 54 St James Street.

Summer Speed Networking will equip you with our top tips for effective networking and teach you how to create meaningful connections. The session will include active speed networking, introducing you to a wide range of contacts fast. Our team will also be on hand to offer support in making valuable connections in the room.
You can book your place through Eventbrite here, or by e-mailing

See you there...

'I never knew change was possible, until I changed' - Meet Our 'Change It' Graduate, Sarah...

Change it: Progress to Success has been supporting women around Liverpool to develop their confidence, believe in their own abilities and simply make that change to look forward to a successful future. 

As we continue to help women reach their full potential, we love to hear from the women who have graduated from the programme, like our recent Change it graduate Sarah, who today has shared her story on what her journey through Change it was like... 

"I moved over to the lovely shores of Liverpool eight years ago from the hustle and bustle of Dublin, so I guess I that was quite life changing but in other ways Liverpool really is home from home. I am thirty-three, I have three cats and one daughter so I’m the cat lady of Old Swan.

I had plodded on with dead end jobs for years and if I am honest having a career, a proper career, had not entered my head as I never thought someone like me could have that sort of life…that is until Change It came along and just at the right time if I am honest.

I had been involved with Stoney Croft Children’s Centre in Old swan since Lucy, my daughter was born and having this community family saved my life in lots of ways. I knew I wanted something more than being a mum, of course I know the mum role is important, but I just felt empty... if that makes sense, I suppose I believed a good job would just come my way, it never entered my head that one day I would have the confidence to go and make that happen for myself.

No-one can prepare you for the loneliness that comes hand in hand with being a single mum and the staff at Stoney Croft just lifted me and Lucy up and made everything that was good possible. In-fact it was during a nurture training program that Gill mentioned the Change It Program and that’s when my life completely changed.

The best thing for me about Change It is the fact that it does exactly what it says on the tin. Gives you confidence, helps you challenge negative beliefs, become more assertive and more importantly made me focus on who I really wanted to become.

Six months later I am on route to my dream job -becoming a social worker. I have a plan for the first time ever in my life and I am sticking to it. Through the help of Mandy, I was assessed at Adult Learning Services to see where I was at with my English and Maths and through them I will be aiming for my Access Course in social care then onto John Moores University to study BA Hons in Social Work. Who would have thought that I could achieve anything as grand as that?  

If I am honest it was after the first session I felt an 'OMG' moment that a new life was possible no-one had ever spoke to me in this way in a way that they believed I could change and if the trainer believed it, then what was stopping me from believing in myself. 

I started to look forward to the sessions every Thursday and having the creche at the centre really helped with all the women, free creche is such a rarity these days. I was in a group where we were all in the same boat. We had all become stuck in a rut watching daytime TV and getting involved with petty dramas of life.
Every Thursday I used to get dressed up and ready to learn more personal development training to change the way I think and believe about myself. I never believed that single mums could have it all and guess what you can.

I have goals now. Mandy asked us, ‘What does success look like to you?’ That’s when I had a light bulb moment, success to me was a good job as in a career, a lovely home, good friends, money in the bank and feeling happy inside. With this idea of success in mind we planned to go get it. It wasn’t rocket science it was just a plan a goal and this has given me unbelievable focus.
I react differently to problems now and tackle them head-on and I don’t brush them under the carpet. I am assertive in everyday situations and it works, I get a good result without any anger. I am a lot happier because I am confident in my own skin and I know that I can be a positive role model for my daughter.

Its made changes in so many aspects of my life, I had to give a presentation in my GCSE English class and I smashed it. Changing the way, I think has changed everything. I won’t say its been easy its been challenging to say the least …but nothing worth having comes easy that’s what my mum says to me.

If any mum is thinking about this course then I would say, ‘What have you got to lose …it will open the door to a new life, look at me if I can do it so can you'"

Thank you Sarah for sharing your amazing story!

We have a number of Change it programmes going on around Liverpool and we have recently added some new dates:

Life Rooms, Walton - Wednesday 4th July 2018 (5 sessions)
54 St James Street - Tuesday 7th August 2018 (4 sessions)
54 St James Street - Wednesday 19th September 2018 (4 Sessions)
Dingle Childrens Centre -Thursday 20th September 2018 (8 sessions)
Everton Childrens Centre - Monday 8th October 2018 (5 Sessions)

If you'd like to find out more information about the programme or to book a place, contact us on 0151 706 8111 or email us on and find out how we can support you.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Brews and Brows: Shaping Stories from Eyebrows to Scousebrows

We’re a city that appreciates eyebrows, and with that comes a booming industry to capitalise on. We’ve invited Dr Niamh Thornton from University of Liverpool and Dr Liz Greene from Liverpool John Moores University to guest blog for us on the art of scousebrows. Find out more about their project and get involved! 

Have you ever spoken to anyone about your eyebrows? If so, who do you talk to? A technician, artist, the staff at the make-up counter, hairdresser, barber or your friends or family? Do you ask for advice or share tips? Do you have specific requirements? Are you someone who grooms them yourself? If so, do you turn to Instagram or YouTube for recommendations? Or, maybe, you tweeze and tweak whenever suits you. Irrespective of what you do (or do not do) and how often or how little you have ever spoken about it, we know that everyone has a story to tell. We are a group of academics from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moore University, Edge Hill University, and Manchester Metropolitan University keen to gather stories about eyebrows.

 From our research into film stars and the evolution of the brow we have seen how ideas of beauty have changed through time. This becomes important when thinking about self-worth and identity in everyday life. Although, eyebrows are such a significant feature they have received relatively little attention from academics. A quick survey of the literature unearths research by psychologists considering the ways micro-gestures facilitate communication. This means that they are not concerned with particularities of the shape, but with movement. Another recurrence in the literature is plastic surgeons interested in the correct (re)positioning of the brow in either cosmetic or corrective surgery. Again, shape is not significant. It was heartening to read new directions in research, such as the recent work by archaeologists from the University of York, revealing how brow movements are integral to our survival as a species. This shows that eyebrows matter.

Eyebrows tell the world much about your aesthetic choices and are often judged accordingly. When you, or your technician, carefully groom your brows by shaping and crafting them you have numerous decisions to make. Much like the decisions we make on getting a haircut, which determines how your class, racesexual orientation, and gender are interpreted by others, eyebrows carry the added burden of being integral to how your emotions are read. Whether you give them a lot or a little attention, they tell others much about you. Some people have a regular beauty routine, for others, it involves occasional upkeep and a battle with certain hairs, while, for a small number, it is a source of anxiety because of hair loss. When we speak to people - irrespective of appearance and background – most of them have some account to give and story to tell about their brow habits, the skills involved, the losses they convey, the histories they hold.

Our project is putting together an archive of stories on eyebrows and will result in a documentary film. It is about starting a city-wide conversation. Liverpool is known for a particular type of brow, the Scousebrow, that is belittled and denigrated from outside and inside the city. We want to reconsider the Scousebrow and ask why some feel it is right to sneer. We want to shake off the idea that paying attention to detail and beauty is something trivial and silly, and, instead propose that it be seen for what it is: an important marker of identity, place, and of being ourselves in the world.

In order to gather stories we held an event in April at FACT, Liverpool, where we set up a brow booth, had a brow scanner, gave participants the opportunity to get a photograph taken. This was a great start. We heard an amazing range of stories from men and women who shared what their brows meant to them. We are keen to gather more stories because we know there are more to be heard. We want to find out more detail about the many everyday decisions we all make, to hear more to think about daily choices, and to understand what is important to you about your brows.

We want to hear your stories. See more about this project on our website and contact us via