From the very start, the Jungle International Women’s Day Conference promised to live up to the theme “Inspiring Change” – and then some!  But don’t take our word for it here’s the video!

imageThe day’s presenter, Arti Halai, herself a well respected and successful broadcaster and businesswoman, began the day by reminding delegates that women still have far to go in the struggle for equality and diversity, especially at the top levels of business. Women are still experiencing shocking levels of “everyday sexism” and too few women are achieving their potential. Roll up your sleeves, this was going to be a crusade.

And yet, IWD is also a cause for celebration and, looking around the room it was clear that women are achieving phenomenal success despite the challenges, and this was the perfect opportunity to learn and share. As Arti put it, “This conference is going to be a celebration, a crusade and an education.”

After a welcome from conference organiser and UK Female Entrepreneur Ambassador, Teresa Boughey, we got down to work with some inspirational words of wisdom from Lucy Matthews of Marvellous PR. Lucy was bubbly, brilliant and businesslike. “People buy people” she explained, “We’re all sending out messages all day, everyday” and “third party endorsement is a very powerful persuader.” We listened. We learned. We got it.

Next up, Conference organiser Teresa Boughey. Teresa’s brand of business advice is very infectious. Warm and confident she inspired everyone with her amazing personal story of success against the odds, as well as revealing some valuable insights using a whole new world of colour. Life will never look quite the same again.

imageThe final workshop of the morning came from Jan Minihane of The Net Advantage who delivered some very welcome expertise for all those of us who are somewhat fazed by the growing array of social media business tools. Jan inspired us to take heart and embrace the opportunities offered by technology. She was cool, clear and concise. “Do less better.” and “Think before you tweet.” were just two of her invaluable and inspirational pieces of advice.

After a short break it was time for perhaps one of the most important parts of the day – the launch of the JEWEL programme (Jungle Empowering Women to Excel in a Leadership), which aims to ensure that businesses recognise and reward female talent. JEWEL is designed to equip women with the tools and confidence to achieve their highest aspirations. Life with no limits – how inspirational is that?

fusion_bccare_logoThere was inspiration of a different kind from Marie Malange who spoke movingly of the work of Jungle IWD’s chosen charity, Breast Cancer Care. Amazingly, conference was inspired to raise over £300 in under two minutes to aid the work of BCC.

imageAfter lunch we were privileged to hear the inspirational thoughts of Kathy Crewe-Read in conversation with Arti Halai. Kathy is the first female Headteacher in the 500 year history of Wolverhampton Grammar School and her honesty, “I’m a workaholic, my job is really important to me.” Her touching candour, “I lack self-confidence but cannot betray it in my role” and her strong convictions, “We must be utterly truthful and authentic to ourselves,” made for a stunningly inspirational presentation.

Teresa returned with a session to focus our minds on exactly how to achieve our goals. Believe in yourself, surround yourself with radiators, avoid drains and don’t look in the rear view mirror! Unforgettable, imaginative and impactful.

The final inspirational woman to join us for IWD was Deborahimage Mitchell, superstar beauty expert, therapist to the A-list and all round wonder-woman. Conference, it can safely be said, fell in love. Deborah inspired us to achieve our dreams, to aim high and to “never fear failure.” Her amazing ability to overcome adversity, to shrug and carry on is a true inspiration to every woman, everywhere.

As the day drew to a close, delegates committed to paper how they were “Inspired to Change”. It was the mantras “No Limits”, “Just Do It” and Teresa’s “Can Do” attitude that was ringing in our ears as we went our separate ways.

And the good news is that it doesn’t have to end there. IWD lives on in the JEWEL Programme which offers practical steps to fulfilling your potential. Inspiring stuff.