Friday, February 27, 2015

Your Guide to International Women's WEEK in Liverpool...

There is loads to be done in Liverpool and Merseyside to celebrate one our most important dates in the calendar – International Women’s Day. Events will be taking place all across the city, starting from next Wednesday 4th March, and continuing until Friday 13th March. Where are you going to be? We know we’ve got a busy week coming up!

Women in Peace and Conflict 2015, organised to celebrate International Women’s Day will bring together established academics, practitioners and postgraduate students with a view to identifying the historical and contemporary involvement of women in peace and conflict. Globally women are on the fringe, from the global gender pay gap and the devaluing of “feminine” labour to a critical lack of access to education, health care and gender specific violence.

Come and see us! Celebrating International Women’s Day, this empowering event will highlight the achievements of women and offer some advice on how to succeed as a woman in business with our special guest Alissa Koopal

International Women’s Day – Benefit concert for Liverpool Socialist Singers, featuring the Singers, Our Morals and other local artists.

Fri 6th March - Downtown in Business - Women in Business Awards 2015
from 12pm - The Hilton Hotel, Liverpool

Downtown Liverpool in Business will team up again with us, The Women's Organisation, to celebrate female entrepreneurs and business owners from across Merseyside to host the third annual City of Liverpool Women in Business Awards.

This gala lunch event will reward female entrepreneurs, business owners and decision makers from across the city region.

No fluffiness, no sentimentality and definitely no Kleenex required, this awards event will recongnise the achievements of women who have created successful ventures and contributed to economic growth. 

For more details visit DIB's website!

Sat 7th & Sun 8th  March – FemJam 2015 

Student feminists come from far and wide to experience FemJam 2015!
Drawing on last year’s incredible conference in Leeds, FemJam 2015 will be hosted in Liverpool to coincide with the city’s International Women’s Day celebrations. We are arranging a line-up of prominent feminists to hold workshops and talks, over two days, on the feminist issues that matter to you. Any questions – please get in touch at:

Sahir House would like to invite you to celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March with an Afternoon Tea at 60 Hope Street.  Why not treat someone you know to a delightful fundraising afternoon, with champagne on arrival and entertainment by the amazing vintage ukulele duo Nancy and Pearl, The Mersey Belles.

For tickets please contact Serena Cavanagh at Sahir House on 0151 237 3989 or e-mail:

Each ticket number will go into a free prize draw too, so hurry, this is going to be a very popular event. The event is open to all genders.

Join us for the private view and celebration of 300+ life size self portraits of women business leaders, Mp’s, Social Entrepreneurs.
Also powerful  portraits from the LGBT community, women survivors of breast cancer, women living with mental health issues and young girls from KYM.

 There will be songs from the Big Love Sista Choir and goddess cocktails and as well moving stories and much juiciness. 

This will be a rare chance to see all of the incredible work featured together side by side and to experience the spirit of the moving journeys of amazing sistas of Merseyside.

Event runs from 6-8 pm but doors open at 5.30 to view the art work. You can buy tickets from the eventbrite link or on the door. Men, girls, families, neighbours, nans and everybody welcome !!!!

Clare Campbell 07813920489 for more details 

Thanks to Merseyside Women’s Movement for this great timetable of events! Make sure you plan your schedule for what is looking to be an exciting week celebrating International Women’s Day! If we've missed anything out, let us know! 

54 St James Street | Feature of the Month | So-Mo

Just like our Tenant of the Month, who were the fantastic Pink Media, we will also be writing a Feature of the Month about some of the great visitors that we've had to 54 St James Street. Whether they are a recurring client, or a new friend, we get some fantastic businesses coming into 54 St James Street for their events and conferences. This month we talked to John Callaghan from So-Mo...

Please can you tell us a bit about So-Mo, and what it is that you do?

So-Mo is a social innovation & engagement company who work with a wide range of partners and groups.  Our work ranges from the delivery of highly participate events to on the ground social change projects. We can also deliver bespoke facilitation and training.

We believe that good communications and engagement go hand in hand. We can help you create a successful digital profile that will help you to engage both online as well as offline.  Oh, and we are known for making damn good videos!

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

We’ve used 54 James Street a number of times as the venue for our iNnovation Network events, this month we ran ‘Don’t be Unlucky in Marketing’ with LCVS, a conference for third sector organisations to learn the tips and tricks of marketing their businesses.

54 James Street is such a good venue for this event because the different spaces offer lots of ways to do break-out workshops and the main room can comfortably hold large audience.

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

The atmosphere on the day was great and thanks to the brilliant equipment available our audience and speakers were able to engage via twitter to create a buzz that lasted for days. All of the staff were really friendly and helpful and we received lots of positive comments from our attendees about the venue and catering.
Do you think it made a difference to your event holding it here rather than another venue?

Absolutely, being a part of the Baltic and having such good facilities so nearby makes this the best venue for these complex events where many different sessions are taking place at once. The dynamic room layouts meant we everybody knew exactly where to go.

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

Every event we do has different aims and goals, but our most recent event hosted by 54 James Street received lots of positive feedback. We asked our attendees if they are likely to work different as a result of attending our event, and 95% of people said yes.
What do you look for in a venue?

It’s important to us that a venue space is bright, light and conducive to learning. Nobody wants to watch a slideshow in a dark, cramped room – so we always use a venue which has lots of sunlight and plenty of room to move and be creative.

Would you recommend 54 St James Street to other businesses?

Absolutely, we are consistently blown away by the helpfulness of the staff at 54 James Street and we know that we can recommend 54 James Street to our friends and have confidence that their experience will be positive.

If someone would like to find out more about your business what contact details can they get in touch on, and do you have a website?

You can read more about us at or you can find us on twitter (@so_mo_co). If you want to get in touch with the So-Mo team you can call (0151) 675 5031 or email

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sane Seven Ltd. & The Button Boutique talk about 'Being Creative in Business' with The Women's Organisation

This morning The Women's Organisation were delighted to welcome a cohort of budding creative entrepreneurs to 54 St James Street for a special event.

Being Creative in Business

Gemma Longworth
Thanks to the RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise Programme the women were invited to join 'Being Creative in Business' to help them understand what it takes to set up a creative business.

Guest speakers Gemma Longworth of The Button Boutique and Viktorija Grigorjevaite of Sane Seven Ltd. shared their journey from idea to setting up thriving businesses.

Gemma talked about how the tragic loss of her brother inspired her to look at how to use crafts as therapy for children coping with grief. Admitting that  self-employment is definitely not the easy option, Gemma let the women know that the reward of doing something she loves and feels passionate about is what makes it worth it for her. If you missed her talk you can read more about Gemma's journey here. 

Viktorija Grigorjevaite
Viktorija talked about how choosing the right voluntary work and opportunities was key for building her network in Liverpool when setting up her visual art and photography business.  No matter how big or small the contract she still aims to ensure that every customer feels important as that all important 'word of mouth' marketing, both women agreed, is the most effective. She also advised to be passionate about what you do and to soak in advice by watching inspirational videos on youtube, reading books or taking in knowledge wherever it is on offer.

Both women had started their businesses as sole traders and have now expanding to become limited companies now either working with or looking to take on staff.  Gemma revealed that she has recently been approached by Channel 4 to take part in a new series as one of their design team, and Viktorija was pleased to reveal she had worked hard to secure contracts with organisations such as Andrew Collinge and Liverpool One, but still has her eyes on Gucci as the next big contract to land.  

Following their inspiring talks our budding creatives broke into groups to discuss the positives and negatives of going self-employed and what their motivations were for starting a business. Jo Austin and Jo Mountfort from The Women's Organisation helped the women to understand their next step and what they would need to consider if setting up their own creative business.

Some of the feedback from the event included:

"It has inspired me to look into business, and becoming my own business and how that would benefit me"
"I enjoyed hearing the guest speakers stories"
"Opened up my ideas on what it takes to start a business"
"It has improved my knowledge by helping understand what to think about starting my business off"
"I have an understanding of how other people have tackled similar challenges"
"I have an awareness now to the amount of organisation/research needed to take creative ideas forward"
"I enjoyed having others points of view and exchanging of ideas"

If you are a woman thinking about starting your own business, keep an eye on to keep in touch with our events and workshops to help you turn your business ideas into reality. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Help for Creative & Digital Businesses | Central Library | Thursday 12th March

Experts from Creative & Digital Businesses will be joining together on Thursday 12th March (10am-1pm) to help those setting up businesses know how to protect their ideas and products.

‘Intellectual Property is core to the creative industries, whether protecting your own ideas, ensuring you don’t infringe on someone else’s or knowing how to commercialise your Intellectual Property to make money from it.’

Intellectual Property is something that often people are unsure of but the definition of it is from GOV.UK;

‘Intellectual Property is something unique that you physically create – an idea alone is not intellectual property. For example, an idea for a book is not intellectual property, but the words you've written are.’

Central Library is holding a speed mentoring session with experts from digital and creative businesses designed to help business owners get to grips with Intellectual Property. In an informal setting, small groups can meet for 30 minutes with each mentor to ask questions and advice on setting up and running your creative and digital business, and gain an understanding of the basic concepts of intellectual property.

There are four great experts from the field taking part in this speed mentoring workshop;

David Parrish – Author of ‘T-shirts and Suits; A Guide to the Business of Creativity’, David is internationally acclaimed and has worked with hundreds of creative and digital businesses around the world, drawing on his own experience as an entrepreneur.

Sean Crotty – A partner at Weightmans LLP, and intellectual property expert who specialises in creative industries including video gaming and the music sector, he has advised many high profile technology and creative clients.

Chris Smith – An Intellectual Property expert and patent examiner at the UK Intellectual Property Office

Dave Brown – The founder and manager director of APPOSING, the Liverpool based creative mobile development studio, and author of ‘The IPhone App Design Manual’

Michael Sandys – The director and Head of Commercial at Jackson Cantor, a unique solicitors which specialises in intellectual property and media law

This event is perfect for anyone curious about Intellectual Property who is starting or running their own business and wants to find out more about keeping their ideas safe, and how the concept of IP works.

Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite, so make sure that you do! It’s free too!

Nicola Pink Is Taking Liverpool PR World By Storm | Tenant of the Month | 54 St James Street

Nicola Pink is the name on everyone’s lips at the moment, and for good reason. Nicola, director of Pink Media, is taking the Liverpool PR world by storm, having just been shortlisted for ‘Professional of the Year’ for the Downtown in Business Awards, the business is expanding at an incredible rate, and building a list of clients that is incredibly impressive. And Pink Media are only in their third year of business. What’s the secret?

Nicola started Pink Media back in 2011, working from her back bedroom after leaving her job, now in the space of three years, there is a team of three working from an office in the home of The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, and a client list which includes Hard Days Night Hotel, Sefton Park Palm House, Delifonseca and The Epstein Theatre.

The Women’s Organisation managed to clear an hour within Nicola’s manic schedule to sit down for a chat with her and discuss Pink Media, its unstoppable growth and their new home.  

Nicola began her career as a journalist, after graduating from Liverpool John Moores with a Journalism degree, she went on to work for Granada, Trinity Mirror, and many other newspapers across the region, working for a couple of years at the Southport Visitor where she had her own column. At this point, the world of newspapers began to change and she was attending more and more leaving parties of the staff around her. It was at one of these leaving parties that she met the owner of a PR company, and the following week began working for them. From then, over the next 6 years she built relationships across the North West and was able to work for a great number of brands and businesses, using her skills as a journalist to secure coverage and results.

She believes having this background in journalism is something that is instrumental to her success in PR. For Nicola, it’s all about the story and she can spot one a mile off; ‘Everyone has a story, it’s just about finding it. You could be working with a client from a sector that might seem incredibly dry and boring, but there is always a story there, you just have to figure out what it is.’

Thankfully Nicola’s team understands the importance of a good story, and skilled writing. Back in 2013, she met Steph after Steph began contacting her husband for work experience, who at the time was working for FACT. It turned out that Steph was perfect for Nicola, and she came on board part time (now she is working full time for Pink Media). At that time, Nicola says she still didn’t want to work with anyone else, but the workload was becoming too much to deal with. ‘I’m a perfectionist, a workaholic, and I love what I do but I wasn’t ready to give that up and share it with someone, but meeting Steph opened my eyes slightly, and I was able to share the workload.’ And more recently, Nicola has taken on another member of staff, Becky, to help with Pink Media’s expansion.

Back in 2013 after the company went limited, Nicola met with business advisors Francine Taylor and Ali McGrath, who sat down with her and helped develop her business plan, and have been every step of the way with her since. Nicola says; ‘They are always there for you, always at the end of the phone, and they just care about you, and are passionate about helping you to do well.’ When Steph began working for Nicola, she says that Ali and Fran even met Steph at the train station so she would know how to get to work; ‘It’s the small things like that which show how much they do care.’

One of the most difficult parts of running the business, Nicola says, is being able to take a step back and gain some perspective. ‘Ali and Fran really help me with this. There’s so much good stuff going on at the moment, but sometimes you need someone to sit down with you and point it out. And say, look, look how much you’ve done.’  

Something else that Nicola found difficult was learning to switch off from work. She’s a lady who loves her job and lives and breathes her business. But being able to switch off from this when she heads home for the evening is something that doesn’t come naturally. ‘Now I’m in 54 St James Street, I don’t know how I ever worked from home. I love coming into the office and being around people. It’s a great space for sharing ideas, and it’s something that I didn’t have when I was working alone from home.’ But even though she now has her own offices, it’s still a struggle to leave work at the door. ‘I haven’t been taking my laptop home with me – and its torture!’

Nicola Pink, the self-confessed workaholic is a force to be reckoned with and we at The Women’s Organisation are delighted to welcome her to 54 St James Street as one of our newest tenants, and look forward to seeing what Nicola and the team take on next. 

To find out more about Pink Media, you can use the contact details below, and keep your eyes peeled for an interview with Nicola Pink as part of our upcoming Thought Leader Series in conjunction with the fantastic shortlisted business women from the Downtown in Business Awards…

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tilly's Tips | Professional Office Space is a Great Look for your Business | 54 St James Street

Week 4 of Tilly's Tips! Each week Tilly will be helping us out with her useful advice and tips from 54 St James Street


54 St James Street – home of The Women’s Organisation now have some offices that are available for businesses to hire. These don’t tend to hang around long, so if you are looking for the perfect space for your business, get in touch with us and see if we have something that is suitable for you. We have a variety of rooms which would suit teams from 2-12 people and can help you choose what is best for your business.

Everyone knows that professional office space is good for business. But why is it? There are so many important reasons why having a professional office space is a good idea. Not only does it impress potential clients, it’s also a great way of improving the productivity of a team, and is a business investment.

The Women’s Organisation have a fantastic office space here at 54 St James Street, and think it’s a great space for businesses to house theirs. Here are a couple of reasons why…

Organisation – Office spaces that are well organised will always help improve productivity, if you never have to search for that important file under a mountain of paperwork, then you are saving time and therefore being more productive. A clean and organised environment will also give a good impression to clients that are visiting your offices. Organising your workplace starts with throwing away things you no longer need, and creating a filing system that works for you and your team.

Investment – It might be tempting to not spend any pennies on office design, but in the long run it is worth it. More than anything, a pleasing and welcoming office space will be an investment in the productivity of you and your team, and also your credibility as a business. And it’s not just about desks and chairs, think about where you want to have your meetings, what kind of lighting you want, do you want plants or rugs in your office?

First Impressions – When hosting new clients, your office design will set the tone for what your business is all about. If you are a creative business, make sure this shows in your office space. The idea is to make the design of your office reflect the business as successful and professional. It can make all the difference when meeting clients for the first time.

Productivity – We’ve discussed productivity a lot, and it tends to be a buzz word that it thrown around in conjunction with offices and businesses. But there is actually statistics to support this. In a 2003 survey by Management Today magazine, virtually all (97%) of those responding said that they regarded their place of work as a symbol of whether or not they were valued by their employer. Yet only 37% thought that their offices had been designed ‘with people in mind’, and no less than a third said they were too ashamed of their offices to bring back colleagues or clients. Making your office space comfortable and with employees in mind will benefit the productivity of the business.

A Reflection of your Business – People are now spending as much time in the office as they do in their homes. So your office space should reflect and represent what your business does, and the industry that you work in. Office spaces are an incredibly important aspect of your business. A new office space can breathe new life into your organisation, help improve morale and create a great impression – so why wouldn’t you want one that is fantastic?

If you are looking for a professional office space, why not get in touch with 54 St James Street? We have a variety of spaces that might be perfect for your business, so get in contact with our team today!

Phone: 0151 706 8100

Woman of the Week | Magaret Simey | 54 St James Street

Woman of the Week is back! Each week we will be posting a blog about one of our great historic women;

Each room at 54 St James Street has been carefully named after an inspiring woman who made her mark in history. The Women's Organisation want to introduce you to some of these amazing women so you can see why they have been recognised at the Women's International Centre for Economic Development (WICED)

This week, we are writing about Margaret Simey

Margaret Simey
4th January 1906 - 27th July 2005

Margaret Simey was a social reformer and local councillor who challenged the Merseyside police over the Toxteth Riots. She was dedicated to the people of Liverpool, and especially Toxteth and similar inner-city neighbourhoods.

She became a national figure – not by her own choice – from the mid-1970’s through her election as a member, and later chairman, of the Merseyside police authority, which led her to question the behaviour of the police and the role of the chief constable, Sir Kenneth Oxford, before and after the 1981 ‘disturbance’ in Toxteth.

Margaret Simey participated vigorously in these developments. As a Labour city councillor for Granby Ward from 1963, she demonstrated both the depth of her local knowledge and her impatience with many of the structures of local government. She realised that, despite all the community institutions, poor people were losing out further, as Liverpool went deeper into economic decline.

Over more than 60 years of social activism, Margaret Simey became the best-known of local figures, tall and purposeful, as she urgently strode the city streets, fearless for herself and indomitable in her support of local people.

54 St James Street is a development of The Women’s Organisation which works for women’s economic progress. The Women’s Organisation has been a non-profit distributing company since 1996 (formerly known as Train 2000). By using the fabulous facilities available at 54 St James Street not only will you be assured of a successful event but you will contribute to the valuable work delivered through The Women’s Organisation.

The Simey Suite has the facilities of plasma screen TV, integrated audio visual and IT. The Suite provides a smart environment ideal for hosting client presentations, board meetings and staff development sessions for up to 10 people. This room also benefits from natural light, heating and cooling systems and free WiFi. 

To find out more about our Simey Suite and all of our other suites and rooms, contact us on or visit our website here

Friday, February 20, 2015

International Women's Day | Around the World

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year and has been since it was first observed in 1909. In the lead up to IWD this year, we are going to explore its history and the traditions that differ all around the world, as well as the argument that we still need this day marked in our calendars. 

Around The World

The day is an official holiday in: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macedonia (for women only), Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. 

In some countries such as Cameroon, Croatia, Romania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria and Chile, the day is not a public holiday but is widely observed. On this day, it is custom for men to give the women in their lives, flowers and small gifts, like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, as children give presents to their Mothers and Grandmothers.


In Russia, International Women’s Day is celebrated at home with families having a special meal and men buying gifts for their female relatives, friends or colleagues. In some enlightened households men offer to undertake all household duties for the day. IWD is a public holiday for women, but older people tend not to partake. In 2010 it was revealed that 14% of the population didn't celebrate this public holiday at all.


Women make up around 46% of the Chinese workforce, so in China IWD is a holiday for women only. Many are given half a day off work and receive gifts from their employers, such as cinema tickets!


The ‘Join me on the Bridge’ campaign began on IWD in 2010, when women from Rwanda and the Congo met on a bridge. The idea was to symbolically join their countries at the scene of the mass exodus from the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Each group of women carried half a banner, which when they met, read ‘women are building bridges of peace’. Since then, the movement has inspired women in many countries to meet on bridges on IWD.


In Romania, the day is the direct equivalent of Mother’s Day, with children giving gifts to their mothers, grandmothers and school teachers. Female friends celebrate by holding women-only dinners and parties.


The number of women and girls in Cambodian prisons has soared over the past five years and the system is dangerously overcrowded. The female inmates often suffer as a result, with no special dispensation made for pregnant women or mothers – who are often forced to take their children to prison with them. For the past two years, Cambodian human rights organisation LICADHO has drawn attention to their plight, by delivering food and essential supplied to female prisoners on IWD and holding special events for inmates, such as traditional dancing and games.


IWD can also be a time for men to stand up and speak out against violence towards women. In 2002, there were over 500 recorded acid attacks on women in Bangladesh. The Acid Survivors Foundation organised a men-only demonstration on IWD against this shocking practice. A staggering 5,000 men attended and support has grown ever since – with male film stars and cricket players publicly declaring their support. The IWD protest has become a regular event, and in 2012, there were fewer than 100 acid attacks on women in Bangladesh.


In Italy, women receive flowers – yellow mimosas are traditional (also the flower of choice in Albania). These are intended as a symbol of respect and an expression of solidarity with oppressed women all over the world.


Uganda celebrates IWD through sporting endeavours. The National Lady Rugby Team gives demonstrations at a day long-festival. While the Run for Safe Motherhood marathon raises funds for hospital maternity wards.


The arts are on the agenda in Fiji. The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement is launching a yearlong theatre programme for girls, aimed at encouraging them to speak up. The organisation hopes that by teaching young women to express their opinions at an early age, they will go on to become confident and articulate advocates for women’s rights in adulthood.


India in 2014 held, International Women’s Week. The extended celebrations include music, performance art and a contest to crown India’s top female blogger. But there’s also a serious message, with free health checks for women, free gynaecological advice, and the ‘Foot March’ – a peaceful protest walk which culminates in the gifting of sewing machines to widows and poor young women in need, to help them stand on their own two feet.


Girl Rising was a ground-breaking film by Richard Robbins. It tells the stories of nine unknown girls from nine countries trying to get an education; was penned by nine writers and is narrated by nine of the world’s most high-profile women including; Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Frieda Pinto and Alicia Keys. In 2014 there were many special screenings for its launch, and the film’s aims to raise awareness around the power of education girls.

At home?

In Liverpool, there is loads’ happening for International Women’s Day, and around the rest of the country! But how about coming down to 54 St James Street?

Celebrating IWD, our empowering event will highlight the achievements of women and offer some advice on how to succeed as a woman in business.

The theme of this year’s IWD is ‘Make it Happen’, and with this is mind we are delighted to announce that Alissa Koopal of Izzy Melody Ltd will be our guest speaker at the event. Tipped as one of The Telegraphs ‘Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015’, Alissa is the brains and determination behind the product I.M.Babybangle.

Come and hear all about how she made it happen when she shares her journey with us. Hear how she has managed to secure over 20 national and international stockists for her product, including key retail players such as John Lewis and Mothercare. She will be telling us about her journey from idea and concept, through to manufacture and distribution. All this as well as juggling being a mum and all-round inspiring woman.