Thursday, December 16, 2010

Festive Networking with The W.O.

Business women from across the north west joined together last night to round off 2010 with festive networking at The Women's Organisation.

Speaking at the event were Elaine Courtney of Courtney Consultancy (pictured left) who gave some great insights into what businesses should be considering from a H.R. point of view, and Carly Phillips (pictured below)who was introducing the new support available via the Stepclever Business Mentoring programme.

The women who attended were asked for suggestions for what they would like to get out of networking opportunities with The Women's Organsiation for 2011, some great ideas coming forward. If you would like to put your ideas into the mix join our online discussion here.

The event was a roaring success with some of the feedback comments included:

"Fab informal event. Brilliant"
"Tonight was very motivational. I will leave more inspired, thanks"
"Met some good contacts, nice friendly event, well organised"
"Really enjoyed the evening and being around like minded women, thank you"

Our first networking event for the New Year is planned for Thursday 20th January 6pm-8.30pm with the fantastic Sylvia Walker, Business Consultant who will be giving some insights into using NLP and accelerated learning, helping women to let go of any limiting self beliefs, set goals for 2011 and visualise a successful year!

Places are limited and for women who are running their own business withing Merseyside or Greater Manchester. Call 0151 236 6601 or email to book.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Knowsley businesswoman becomes PR guru to the stars

AFTER a busy career promoting celebrities - when Danielle Freedman became a mum she decided to leave her work behind – but when a former client got back in touch asking for her PR expertise it re-ignited her interest and she decided to start up her own business.

Now, Freedman PR provides public relations support and expertise throughout the entertainment industry with Danielle at the helm gaining PR contracts with the National Opera, the DVD release of Bad Day staring Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding, the promotion of footballers and much more.

Danielle, who has two children aged two and four, said: “I have always been very career minded, but when I started my family I decided I wasn’t going to go back into PR because the kind of work I do within the entertainment industry is very demanding and you have to give long hours.

“I love being a mum and enjoy spending time with my children. But, when a former client got in touch and asked me to help with the PR for Bad Day, the film staring Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud everything changed. I got involved with the project; really enjoyed it and things just grew from there, so I decided to start up my own business Freedman PR.”

Although Danielle runs the business she also works alongside a number of freelancers who assist with the PR, media relations and events organising.

Danielle added: “Because I have been out of the industry for a couple of years I have noticed that things have changed, so it has taken some getting used to and it is very difficult to juggle work with being a mum, but I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge of being my own boss.”

41-year-old Danielle, who is from the Knowsley area, says she is delighted with being asked to represent a number of high profile events and celebrities since starting up the business and has been pleased with the success she has had in gaining numerous PR contracts over the past few months.

Prior to starting up Freedman PR Danielle came along to The Women’s Organisation (formerly Train 2000) where she received help and support under the business start up support programme, where she worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser who supported her with putting a business plan together.

“My adviser Amanda was brilliant” said Danielle, “I was really pleased with the support I received. It was nice to have some one there who could answer my questions and who I could turn to for advice when I needed it.”

Danielle says that working in PR in the entertainment industry is very difficult to break into but she ix extremely pleased with how well her business is doing so far.

She said: “I am thoroughly enjoying being my own boss and feel as though I have got the best of both worlds, I am a mum to two lovely children and am once again enjoying my career.”

To find out more about Danielle's business visit

And, if like Danielle you’re a woman who would like to start up your own business then contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601, email or visit to find out about the FREE services on offer.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Women's Organisation Discuss Equality in Business on City Talk

City Talk Business will play host to a panel of enterprise experts debating local business issues this Sunday.

CEO of The Women's Organisation, Maggie O'Carroll who is among the panel members, will be focussing keenly on the topic of equality in the workplace and the representation of women on senior corporate boards.

City Talk Business which is hosted by Frank McKenna, Chair of Downtown Liverpool in Business will also be looking at: Extreme weather conditions and measures employers should be taking to ensure business productivity; Implications of the Royal Wedding and the announcement of an additional bank holiday day; The Liverpool Embassy in London.

Tune in to this interesting debate on 105.9FM this Sunday 12th December between 10am and 11am.

For more information on how The Women's Organisation strive to support gender equality in the workplace visit our website

Friday, December 3, 2010

Businesswoman Lesley proves illness is no barrier to success

FIVE years ago Lesley Rawlinson suffered a serious mental breakdown and subsequently discovered she was bipolar - it was at this point she had to give up her fulltime job.

But, determined to get back into the workforce mum-of-two Lesley has just started up her own business Cupcakes in the City providing home-made cupcakes and vintage tea parties throughout the area.

“Because I am bipolar, which means I suffer with terrible depression and manic episodes at times, it is extremely difficult for me to be able to hold down a fulltime job,” said 41-year-old Lesley, “but this doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work.

“So, I decided to start up my own business. Being my own boss allows me to work flexible hours and I can manage my work around the times when I am unwell.”

For now, Lesley is working no more than 16 hours a week whilst she gets used to working again.

Lesley, who has two children aged 18 and 14 opened up the business just two months ago and already she has provided cupcakes for a number of large charity events across the area.

Lesley considers herself to be very creative and has always enjoyed baking – so she decided that a cupcake business would be perfect.

“I am pleased with how well business is going” added Lesley, “I had a stand at charitable event which supports people with mental health problems which is obviously very close to my heart. I have also done a McMillan Coffee Morning and am getting several individual orders for cakes.”

At the charity events Lesley donated all of her cupcakes and raised £560 which she split between the Mental Health Foundation and Mind.

“I absolutely love being able to work again, added Lesely, “it has done so much for my confidence and self-esteem. When I wasn’t working, I felt bad for not being employed and that would add to my depression. Now I feel so much better about myself, it is so nice being able to work without the pressure of being answerable to a boss. If I am unwell and feeling low, then I just don’t work that day.”

Lesley says that becoming self-employed has made a ‘huge’ difference to her life and she describes it as being ‘ideal’.

“It is very difficult for other people to understand bipolar” she said, “sometimes when I am depressed I literally can’t get out of bed, I can barely lift my head above the covers because I am so down, it is the worse feeling in the world. And sometimes I go completely manic, I have so much energy and then I have to go to my doctors to get medication that calms me down. It is very difficult not knowing how my mood is going to be, but now that I am self-employed I can manage my life so much better.”

As well as starting up her own business Lesley is very keen to help people understand more about mental health illnesses such as bipolar because she feels that there is still too much of a stigma surrounding mental health.

She said: “I hope that by starting up my own business I can inspire other women to do the same, particularly women who may have suffered with mental health problems themselves. I want them to know that like me they too can become self-employed or get back into work if it’s what they want.

“There is still such a stigma around mental health and I want to talk about my illness and experiences in the hope that it will help to get rid of this stigma. After all there are millions of people who suffer with depression and it is very common.”

Prior to starting up her business Lesley, who is from the Knowsley area, came along to The Women’s Organisation where she received help and advice under the business start up programme. She worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser who helped her to put a business plan together.

She said: “I initially came across The Women’s Organisation when I came across the organisations’ Facebook group. When I learnt that The Women’s Organisation provides free business advice to women I mad an appointment and went along. My adviser was extremely helpful and it was great to have some support along the way, particularly in putting together my business plan.”

Through Cupcakes in the City Lesley provides a variety of delicious freshly baked cakes made to order. To find out more please contact Lesley on 07792 942 770 or visit

And, if like Lesley you are a woman in the Knowsley area who is interested in starting up your own business please call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or email

Week 34 - completion of the new centre draws closer

WITH just weeks to go until The Women's Organisation moves to it's brand new purpose built centre work at the site is in full flow.

In the past few days - week 34 of the project - the building has really started to take shape with light fitting going up, plastering being completed, windows and doors starting to go in, block paving in the car park and much more.

Work on the centre, which will be the new home of The Women's organisation by the end of January 2011, is expected to be completed by the end of December / early January 2011.

Not only will the centre provide entrepreneurship and economic development support for women, but it will also offer incubator space for women-run businesses and will house an international research and knowledge hub.

The new facility, is being developed by The Women's Organisation following a £2.4 million investment from the Northwest European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme – part of a £5.3 million finance package.

The ERDF programme is backed by the Programme Monitoring Committee (PMC) – a group of senior representatives from across the region. The group was formed to monitor, oversee and advise on the delivery of the programme and improved invaluable to the development of the new fund.

Train 2000 renamed 'The Women's Organisation'

As we head towards 2011 we would like to let you know that Train 2000 has changed its name to The Women’s Organisation.

We feel it captures what we do, who we are and everything that we stand for.

We also believe it is a perfect fit for our identity, values and ethos – as we continue to encourage and champion women’s economic development; influence policy and perception and pioneer new ideas.

As we move forward our continuing commitment centres around having a positive impact on women’s lives and we look forward to working with you as The Women’s Organisation.

To find out more or to get a copy of our new flyer email or call our usual number 0151 236 6601.

And, watch this space for our brand new website coming soon.

Women still struggle to get top FTSE 100 jobs


The number of female executives in top jobs at the UK's leading 100 firms is almost unchanged for a third year running, a report says.

Cranfield School of Management found 135 female directors out of 1,076 people on FTSE 100 boards, or 12.5%.

The figure was 12.2% in 2009 and 12% in 2008, suggesting that the situation is stagnating, the report argues.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said that the figures were "worrying".

Cranfield's 2010 Female FTSE report said that this year's incremental increase is due to three additional women on FTSE 100 boards.

The company in top place this year is retailer Burberry with three out of eight female board members, or 37.5%.

In Burberry both the chief executive and the chief financial officer are women, and there is also a female non-executive director.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: "While I'm pleased to see the number of female-free boardrooms continuing to fall, it's worrying that women - who make up more than 50% of the population - still account for just one-eighth of FTSE 100 directors.

"Making boards more diverse is not about political correctness - it's about making sure companies draw senior staff from the widest possible pool of talent, which is good for business, good for staff and good for customers."

The research also looked at FTSE 250 companies, where 52.4% (131) of companies have no women on their boards. Just 7.8% of FTSE 250 board directors are women.

To read more click here

New 'Violence Against Women Plan' Launched

On UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25th November) Home Secretary Theresa May set out her vision for ending violence against women with a focus on:

- Preventing violence and challenging attitudes and behaviours
- Providing support for victims
- Working in partnership with public bodies and community groups
- Reducing the risk to women and girls and bringing perpetrators to justice

This replaces the previous government's strategy and follows years of campaigning by members of the EVAW Coalition to comply with UN obligations to take such an approach.

Professor Liz Kelly, Chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said:
"We are delighted that the Home Secretary is championing this as a priority issue. This sends out a strong message that rape, domestic violence, trafficking and other violence against women is totally unacceptable. We believe that all public bodies have a role to play in ensuring support for victims, bringing perpetrators to justice and beginning the long-term task of preventing violence before it begins."

An action plan will be published next Spring and EVAW is calling for it to include:

- A long-term programme of work to prevent violence, including teaching young people about healthy relationships and respect for girls as well as ongoing public awareness raising campaigns similar to drink drive campaigns
- Funding to ensure specialist women's services in the community are funded such as Rape Crisis Centres, domestic violence projects and support for ethnic minority women
- Coordination across all government departments so that all schools, police forces, social services and health authorities play their part
- Regular monitoring and reporting of the plan

Visit to download a campaign leaflet and template letter to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education.