International Women’s Day means one thing at Agent…#IWDConnect! Our annual event exists as a call for celebration for women across the North West; leaders, change-makers, and trailblazers in their chosen industries. For the third year running, we invited over 200 guests to join us at the fantastic Manchester Hall to share stories of inspiration, hope, and passion, as we truly encompassed this year’s theme of ‘Embrace Equity’. Partnering with our sponsors, MSB Solicitors, Everton, The Growth Company, and The City of Liverpool College, this year’s #IWDConnect23 was one to remember…
Bigger and better than before, Friday’s celebrations saw us come together to hear from a range of inspiring female leaders from industries such as law, property, and charity. Emma Carey, Managing Partner at MSB, kicked off the day with an inspiring talk about looking back and recognising the women of the past who have made sacrifices for the women of today, and how important it is that we keep up that momentum and keep fighting for equity.
Next, we heard from Ciara Keeling, CEO at Bruntwood Works. Ciara shared her personal journey and called for inclusivity in all aspects: “If you are your authentic self, you will never have any competition”. We couldn’t agree more!
As part of our ‘making a difference’ section of the afternoon, we were incredibly proud to welcome Marianna Vaszilyiv, co-founder of United for Ukraine, to share some words. Marianna gave a heart-warming, tear-jerking speech about the impact of the war on Ukraine and how important the work of United for Ukraine is. There was not a dry eye in the house as Marianna shared her brave and brilliant words: “If we dare the difference, the difference will deliver.”
We particularly enjoyed hearing from Agent Academy’s brand-new lead, Yasmin Lord-Pottinger, and current Rise learner, Colleen Gander, who shared the first-hand impact of Agent Academy. Yasmin also shared her plans for further supporting the young people of the North West into creative and digital careers under her leadership: “I joined the change I wanted to see”.
As the afternoon came to a close, we were soundly waved off with a speech from the incomparable Sharon Amesu, who shared her advice on always “choosing and implementing your non-negotiables”, followed by a captivating rendition of The Greatest Showman’s ‘This is Me’. A standing ovation later, it’s safe to say the room was filled with hope and optimism as we looked ahead to the future.
#IWDConnect23 exceeded our expectations and has left us feeling exceptionally proud to work with such an inspiring community of women in our region. There is always more to do in the fight for equity, and we will continue to put our money where our mouth is and to do the right thing. If you’d like to know how you can do your bit, we’ve put together a short list of just some of the ways you can make a positive impact for women in our region:
- • Pay it forward by contributing to the Agent Academy Programme
- • Provide meaningful work experience to a City of Liverpool College student
- • Get behind She Leads for Legacy and their vital work
- • Offer up a shadowing opportunity with United for Ukraine
- • Get involved in NWBLT’s Rising Stars programme
- • Donate your unwanted work attire to Smart Works
- • Put your money where your mouth is for women-led businesses and enterprises
- • Shout about the achievements of other women and, of course, yourself!
A huge thanks to everyone who attended and spoke at this year’s IWD. Here’s to an even bigger and better celebration next year!