Tuesday, July 17, 2018

#WeAreInternational: Meet the Team!

July at The Women’s Organisation is a month dedicated to our worldwide reach. Whether it’s our international projects and partners, the diversity within our own team or our merchandise popping up on all corners of the globe, we’ll be celebrating the marvels of internationalism! 

Our office is a proud workplace for people from all backgrounds and cultures and we’d like to pay homage to that. You’ll already be familiar with many of these faces, who have been working with us for as many as 19 years. Take a read of their international experience and find out just how they ended up with us here at The Women’s Organisation .. 

Huda Mamoun – Senior Business Adviser

“I grow up at the banks of the River Niles city, Khartoum in Sudan, and had also lived in Ethiopia and Kenya, during my teen years. Coming from a mixed cultural background of African origin and Arabic language speaking as a mother tongue, it has been a privilege for me to understand cross cultural heritages and become so open to the world. 

For education, career development and family commitment, I then moved on and lived for years in other countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Australia and UK).   The times I lived on those counties, have been the accumulative wealth and treasure that I cultivated throughout my living. Meeting different people and living in various and different cultural places and communities have enriched my live all round in many aspects, which I’m grateful for.

Having graduated from a Law school and practiced for some years.  I’ve always, from early years, have strong interest in women development and I chose it as part of my MBA research studies. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to work in Liverpool for main Academic institutions and large-scale regeneration programmes involved in women development projects.
In late 1990s, I found about Train 2000 (now The Women’s Organisation). I became very fond and interested in what they do and started following them and got involved in voluntary activities with the Organisation on different level. Several years after, I joined Train 2000 as a Trainee Business Adviser, have learned and developed skills and become a senior business adviser at The Women’s Organisation. 

Looking at the bigger picture, I can see my life and professional career was painted well beforehand, may be form my early years, to marry my interest and what I love doing with previous work opportunities that I have had in my life and the job I’m working on at The Women’s Organisation today.”

Lacra Aciobanitei – Finance Officer

“I was born in Romania in a small town in the eastern part of the country, called Husi. Moved to Bucharest at 19 to attend university and lived and worked there for 6 years before moving to the UK.
In 2009, my partner and I wanted to explore life a little bit and decided to try and live abroad for 12 months and our adventure has been on for 9 years now.

I applied to be a volunteer with an international charity and choose London initially, but as they had no vacancies we were encouraged to try Liverpool and turned out to be the best decision ever. We were and still are fascinated by the home of the Beatles. A friend of mine was already working for The Women’s Organisation and encouraged me to apply and the rest is history!”

Cynthia Bosafola – Trainee Business Adviser

I was born in Democratic republic of Congo and moved over to east London when I was 4 years old! So, I would say I am a Congolese Londoner!

I moved to Liverpool 10 years ago to study at John moors university, previously to this I had never been to Liverpool, but I wanted to study somewhere different, be away from London but not too far away! But when I came up for my university audition, I had such a great experience and there was something magical about the city!

My background is mainly in television, but after my contract ended in my last job, I was looking for something different – something that would challenge me. I did an internship at a co-working space and at the same time was looking into starting my own business. Future Boss Club did an event at Launch 22, where I was working and so when I looked into them I found out they were linked to The Women’s Organisation and really loved their beliefs and what they stood for.

A few months later a vacancy came up as a trainee business advisor and I jumped at the chance. I wasn’t sure if I would get the job, but here I am! I’m so glad I have the opportunity to work in this organisation! 

We're not done just yet .. stay posted for part TWO of this blog! 

Monday, July 16, 2018

#WeAreInternational: Celebrating our international reach

This July is all about celebrating our international reach here at The Women’s Organisation and so we couldn’t pass by the opportunity to highlight the fantastic work undertaken by our Enterprise Evolution team.

Our consultancy services take the Enterprise Evolution team all over the world helping businesses and entrepreneurs to reach their full potential through mentoring, evaluation and enterprise education, to name just a few.

Since the launch of Enterprise Evolution, our principal consultants Alison Price and Lisa McMullan have travelled far and wide, including notable trips to Asia visiting teams in Thailand and China. They have also travelled across Europe, visiting Brussels, Spain and Norway, as well as Slovenia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ireland. Not forgetting Edinburgh, Wales and London at home in the UK.

Transnational Partnership Meeting in Drammen, Norway, 2015
Another meeting in Maribor, Slovenia, 2016

Most recently, Alison’s work took her back to China, where she was asked to share her approach to staff development with the Shanghai Customs College.

Shanghai Customs College – Uniformed staff and Alison, 2018

 The question as to whether entrepreneurs (like leaders) are “born or made” is often asked.  But after some years of debate, this discussion is finally settled as UK Universities and Colleges embrace enterprise education into their teaching to support the future ambitions of their students.  But the next question is then, who is this for? …surely not every student needs to be enterprising?

Alison feels that her work in China answers this question clearly, having been asked to share her approach to staff development with the Shanghai Customs College.

With 2000 students focused on their ambition to work in customs, the Shanghai Customs College invited Enterprise Evolution to develop a staff workshop that would help staff develop an entrepreneurial mindset within their learners.

Graduates from Shanghai Customs College typically work in airports and commercial shipping, but with many supporting private companies with trade and export, recognition of the need to be enterprising is clear, and the opportunities to set up consultancy services are increasing.
Staff welcomed the opportunity to work with Enterprise Evolution to experience entrepreneurial approaches to teaching and consider how to adapt these for their own teaching.

With strong links between The Women’s Organisation and partners in Shanghai (and Liverpool and Shanghai being “twin” cities) this work deepens the connections between the two cities and supports the enterprising spirit.

Alison was also invited to open the 2nd International Conference ICEEE (International Conference Entrepreneurship Education Ecosystem) speaking to 200 educators about the need to embed entrepreneurial teaching methods into their subjects.  Sharing case examples and practical experience, Alison shared the latest approaches from UK and Europe, such as QAA (2018) Guidance (translated into Chinese) as well as Entrecomp (see other blog) before providing support and resources to delegates by showcasing ETCToolkit www.etctoolkit.org.uk

She was joined from the UK by keynote speaker, Emma Robinson, Head of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Liverpool John Moores University who provided an overview of their institutional growth and experience of supporting students to start, followed by a 2-hour workshop, that shared the realities of LJMU practice. 
Emma said: “As my second opportunity to address this conference, I was delighted to seek the progress made in creating a clear direction for enterprise education.  It is brilliant to share the LJMU story in order to support others as develop their own approach and I applaud the organisers for their focus and vision in supporting colleagues on this journey”.

There was also an opportunity to run the CEO course “Creating Entrepreneurial Outcomes” providing a 2-day structured programme of staff development and support.  Working directly with staff to change their teaching is one of Enterprise Evolution’s specialisms. 

Alison said: “It’s great to share “tried and tested” approaches with colleagues around the world and see how they can bring entrepreneurial teaching techniques into their own teaching.  I have worked with a whole new range of subjects since working in China (Maoism and Customs to name two and I thought I had worked with them all before that!) so it is great to how enterprise can be embraced by educators to help all learners”.

To find out more about Enterprise Evolution, visit: www.enterpriseevolution.org.uk/

You can also follow our international experiences and find out more about what The Women’s Organisation’s team have been getting up to on Twitter using #WeAreInternational  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Time Travelling 100 Years for Emmeline Pankhurst's Birthday

A hundred years ago this year women who were over the age of 30 just received the right to vote.  This was a great victory for women in Britain and for all the suffragettes that made it possible.
But travel back a little further in time to July 14, 1858 where one of the most influential and important figures in the suffragette movement was born; Emmeline Pankhurst.

On what would have been her 150th birthday we explore just what made this notable woman a figure that would be remembered in history.
From the start of her life it seemed Emmeline would always be involved in the spider’s web we call politics.  Born into the Gaulden family who had a history of radical political views, she married her husband Richard Pankhurst in 1879, a lawyer and supporter of the women's suffrage movement. He was the author of the Married Women's Property Acts of 1870 and 1882.
This background and built-up frustration with discrimination led her to founding the Women’s franchise league to fight for the right to vote for married women but only in local elections.

However, this group was not enough to combat the views of the time and in October 1903 she aided in founding the first suffragettes, the militant group WSUP (Women’s social and political union).
WSUP over the course of its history gained controversy and gained the title of being a “radical” party due partly to its extreme methods of protest, smashing windows, damage of public property, starting fires and the famous hunger strikes.
Like many other activists at the time Emmeline was arrested on multiple occasions and when Pankhurst was arrested with a 9-month sentence for throwing a rock at the prime minister’s house she took part in hunger strikes. Luckily, for Emmeline she escaped being horrifically force fed and was freed shortly after.

However, it wasn’t all about ‘violent’ protest as Emmeline led many marches and performed countless speeches, but during the war years she actively encouraged WSPU members to put a hold on the demonstrations in order to take up jobs in factories to support the men that where fighting which greatly benefited the war effort.
Then a hundred years ago on the 6th February 1918 women who owned property and was over the age of 30 where given the right to vote. Unfortunately, Emmeline did die a few weeks before the voting age would be lowered to be equal to that of a man’s (21).

It is safe to say that Emmeline Pankhurst certainly had her impact on women’s rights movement and will forever be remembered as a figurehead for the suffragettes. While the right to vote was a big step we still have a way to go and I’m sure Emmeline’s great granddaughter, Helen Pankhurst, agrees.
If you want to hear her opinion, then you can check out our interview with her here.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Meet The Team: Sarah Brown

Our Marketing Team has had quite a shake up recently, with two new faces joining the squad. As always, we want you to get to know them as well as we do. First up is Sarah, our Marketing and Engagement Executive! Sarah is a digital whiz, with a wealth of experience in social media, PR and marketing and we're feeling pretty lucky to have her with us. Take a read of Sarah's guest blog to find out more about her ..

What’s your name and where are you from?

I’m Sarah Brown and I’m originally from Durham, but I moved to Liverpool in 2012 and have never wanted to leave!

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

I first heard about The Women’s Organisation whilst studying at the University of Liverpool and have always known what an important role it plays for women across the city region. Working for a charity has always been on my dream job list, so when I saw that The Women’s Organisation were recruiting for a marketing and engagement officer I knew I had to apply!

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

I graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2015 with a degree in Classical Studies and I had no idea of the route I wanted to take. I started a public relations internship and soon got my first “proper” role as a PR account executive and absolutely loved working with the media and getting to put my writing skills and creativity to the test. I spent the next three years working in agencies with clients in all kinds of sectors, from education, property and legal clients, to those working in innovation and tech. And now here I am!

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

Coming into The Women’s Organisation it’s been eye-opening to see just how many women have new business ideas on a daily basis, and that’s just in the Liverpool City Region. We take calls from so many women every day looking for support to launch their new venture - there’s definitely a lot of entrepreneurial spirit in the city!

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

The best thing has got to be the people. It’s a real privilege to get to work alongside women who are so passionate about what they do. I’ve been completely taken-aback by the sheer level of support here too, both between colleagues and between the amazing women who come on our courses and programmes and share their stories with each other. It’s very inspiring.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays?

No two days are the same at The Women’s Organisation - and that’s a great thing! A typical day would start with checking in on the social media channels I manage to make sure that we have content ready to go for the day. I would then usually dedicate some time for writing content, whether it be for a blog sharing our top business tips, a press release with our latest news and events, or a case study celebrating one of our clients’ success. I’ll also spend time designing new social media cards, posters and flyers. As a team we like to stay creative too, so plenty of time is set aside to come up with fresh ideas to promote our services and values.

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

In primary school I came first place in a painting competition (despite a severe lack of artistic talent!) and got to present Blue Peter’s very own Matt Baker with my masterpiece. He told me he was going to hang it in his bathroom, but I doubt he ever did…

What do you do when you aren’t working? 

When I’m not in work I can usually be found eating - I love food - or making the most of Liverpool’s bars and music venues with my friends. I’m originally from quite a rural area, though, so I do like to get back to the countryside as much as I can. I spend a lot of time outdoors going on hikes, camping and visiting new places.

Thanks Sarah, and welcome to The W.O family! 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Dos and Don’ts for Creating Effective Youtube Content

We've had a lovely young woman completing work experience with us at The Women's Organisation for the past two weeks! She's quite the tech whiz and even has her own YouTube channel, so we've picked her brains on her three dos and don'ts for producing effective video content. 

When YouTube emerged back in 2005, no one expected it to overtake old media and become the top site for youth entertainment, nor did anyone expect it to become the powerhouse of digital marketing.

It’s clear why utilising YouTube is a priority for businesses, due to the sheer reach and impact videos can have on customer growth and brand-building. However, creating effective videos is easier said than done. 

So, I’m here to give you some advice on how to run and make a business channel on YouTube. These insider top tips are coming from a frequent user who is sick of seeing great channels with interesting content ideas burn down into nothing because no one told them the basics.

1) Rule of Three Is Better for Me 

Technically referred to as the rule of thirds in media is the most commonly forgotten rule of filming, yet is one of the easiest ways to make your video more appealing to viewers making your video look more professional

It’s simple – place your main point of focus (most likely a person) to either the left, right or in the middle of the frame, this leaves something called blank space which gives the viewers eyes somewhere to go during the video.

2) Can you paint with all the colours of the filters?
Colour correction, filters and other neat little features that come built in with YouTube’s video editor are a quick fix way of drawing the viewers’ attention and prevent dull inconspicuous videos.

This is especially important on social media as catching the fleeting attention of your audience is best done through visual engagement. I encourage you to try out these filters for yourself and see what works best with each individual video.
Remember don’t make these filters too strong or it will become an eyesore, it’s about finding a balance.

3) Personalise and Personality

There is two important ways you can customize your channel on YouTube:

- Have an icon (for example your company logo)
- Have a banner (this goes on the header of your YouTube channel)
These make you stand out and show the users of the site you’re taking it seriously. Your YouTube banner should convey the message of exactly what you do.
It’s also important to have an icon because again its promoting your company and brand, but it’s also drawing in people’s attention if you happen to comment anything on another channels video.

Next is personality - everyone has one and on YouTube your company needs one to. The most successful channels on YouTube got where they are today because they built a personality and character around a handful of traits and charisma.

That was the top three tips on what I’d suggest you do now let’s move on to the things you shouldn’t do:

1) Don’t promote unless it’s your own

Here is the golden rule when it comes to commenting: do not promote your product or service in the comments of other channels videos.
Just don’t do it – it’s unpersonable and ineffective. Not only will you have a backlash, but I can almost certainly guarantee no one will actually check out your channel or follow the link.

2) Stay away from that Adele song

It’s not worth it trust me. In fact, stay away from all copywrited music as there’s a likely chance that either the company will monetise the video and take the profits because you included the song in your video, OR you will get a copywrite strike and the video will be taken down. In addition, it may affect your ability to monetise your videos.
Get more than three copywrite strikes then your account could be terminated, all videos that have been uploaded to your channel will be removed and you won’t be able to make new channels.

3) Like, comment and subscribe is getting boring guys.

It's good to get your audience engaged but the “like, comment and subscribe” has been said so many times that we are desensitized to the message. It’s basically become white noise.

Instead try switching it up make your own slogan or phrase around the message, like other big youtubers do to keep their audience and new viewers to engage with the channel.

That’s it. Some of the simple little ways to help improve your YouTube business channel .. Happy filming! 

Helping Katie to Get Her Word Out

With 18 years’ experience in marketing communications under her belt Katie Crozier decided it was about time to take the plunge and set up on her own, all with a little help from The Women's Organisation.

After leaving her full-time job, and a stint upcycling furniture, Get Your Word Out was born. Offering copy-writing and proof-reading services for marketing materials, from websites and blogs, to leaflets and brochures, Get Your Word Out is all about helping businesses to communicate with their clients more effectively.

Katie says: “I’m a big fan of plain English and getting to the point. No one has the time or inclination to read much these days, so what you have to say needs to be delivered quickly, clearly and authentically”. And this is the mantra on which her business is built.

“I would recommend that if you can, give yourself a good 6-12 months of planning your new business and networking with potential clients, while you’re in full time work, before making the leap.”

Katie soon approached the Enterprise Hub to find out what support was on offer and she was set up with our business advisor, Jo Mountfort, to help get her business off the ground. It wasn’t long until Katie was ready to take on Enterprise Hub’s range of courses, from social media training to help understanding tax and national insurance.

She says: “I had the works! I attended every course and met with a business advisor regularly and can heartily recommend it - it’s essential to have that support because quite unknowingly you can have some really silly ideas and indeed, miss the really obvious ones!”

To read this case study in full, head to the Enterprise Hub blog! 

If you would like to find out more about Get Your Word Out, you can visit www.getthewordout.uk  

Enterprise Hub is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and offered FREE to residents of the Liverpool City Region. For more information on how to get support to start your business call 0151 706 8113 or email enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk

Monday, July 9, 2018

Being an Empowered Woman - Exclusive Event in Conversation with Julia Keys and Jacqui Coles

Having dealt with infidelity in their personal relationships and subsequent scrutinization from the British press, best friends Julia Keys and Jacqui Coles have come through the other side stronger and are now returning to their Merseyside roots to join us for this empowering event.

Julia and Jacqui’s life-long friendship began when they shared a Saturday job in the Bargain Box record shops based on the Wirral. Having met as teens and trained together as nurses at Clatterbridge and ArrowePark fate brought them together again at a pivotal point and led to the creation of their new book, ‘The MANScript – The Ultimate Guide to Surviving and Thriving After Infidelity’.

Join us for an uplifting event with a difference, hearing from two inspiring women about how they have become empowered and why they are now on a mission to empower others. Whilst their book focusses on infidelity and how to “navigate the tumultuous times to come out stronger and happier”, Julia and Jacqui are also drawing on their wider life experiences to empower other women in every area of life!

Julia Keys (ex-wife of TV presenter Richard Keys, centre of the Sky Sports sexism debacle) has lived most of her married life in the public eye, dealing with many personal crises in the gaze of the newspapers and media. She knows all too well how hard it can be to present yourself externally to the world, while struggling immensely, internally. She also knows how frightening and lonely it can feel when you have been betrayed. Julia’s aim has always been to enable people to move on with their lives in a positive manner. All too often she has seen the devastating affects that ill health, loss, betrayal and other events can have on a person’s self-esteem.

Jacqui is a registered nurse, midwife and health visitor. In 2014, she became Deputy Chief Executive at Patients Association, a high profile ‘patient voice’ charity. She has published reports into the failings of the health service and has written many patient stories. Jacqui is passionate about empowering and supporting women to be the best they can be and above all, to make sure they know where to turn for help. A champion of women, Jacqui wants women to talk about their life experiences, support each other and to no longer suffer in silence.

Whether you are wanting to feel more empowered in life, love or business – Jacqueline and Julia will be sharing their insights in conversation with The Women’s Organisation.

This FREE event will take place on 23rd August 2pm-4pm at The Women's Organisation, 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB.