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Women in the Director’s Chair – My Experience

#BeBoldforChange was the tagline for this year’s International Women’s Day Campaign. Woman have been challenging stereotypes in all industries for decades, but still equality has not been met.

 

I sat before a panel of female media professionals to hear why and what can be changed. Their intention: to teach us to not let anything, especially our gender, get in the way of our success! #BossLady

 

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Photo: Olivia Seed

 

“Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so”

 

I thought I’d start with this quote from Doris Lessing and this image I took after the event – it almost summarises the day. Who doesn’t love a cold open teaser?

 

I was lucky enough to be sponsored by the University of Liverpool, Communications and Media Department to participate in Blackburne House’s “Women In the Director’s Chair” event on Friday 24th March.

 

Preparation for this event was vital. Not only did I prepare academically but socially and fashionably too. A brief surf of the internet gave me the profiles, the interests and many suitable questions to ask the panel the following day. I mentally prepared an outfit and cleared out my note pad ready for a flurry of inspiration. Nails painted, I got some sleep before the early morning ahead. You can’t be meeting professionals in your aspirational career path with naked nails can you?

 

A brisk walk across campus in the gorgeous sunny weather and I found the location. Situated off Hope Street, Liverpool, this Grade II listed building was of an enchanting nature. The grand stairs gestured us in where we met the hosts and signed in for the day. Teas and coffees readily available – yes please!

 

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Photo: Olivia Seed

 

I sat amongst a mixture of girls of many ages and backgrounds. We discussed what we were expecting from the day and there was great speculation and curiosity over what would be served as part of the free lunch. A big thought on every foodie student’s mind. Our stomach’s rumbling, the event began.

 

Who was on the panel?

 

Jessie Aru Phillips, a Radio 5 Live video journalist was the woman I’d followed on Twitter the night before and hauled through her YouTube feed in pure envy of her job role. @JessieAPhillips  was up first and gave me the motivation I needed. Her change in career path from an engineering trainee to a video journalist made me think anything was possible.

 

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Photo: Olivia Seed

 

We were also joined by Amy Bowden, an upcoming cockney actress who taught us about persistence in landing a deserving job role. Chelsea Slater from Liverpool Girl Geeks began her business from a blog and has now built it up into a technological empire that is educating women of all ages on the codes and linguistics of digital technology.

 

Liverpool Film Office’s representative Jacqui Rafferty and the other guest speakers filled us with knowledge of the industry and the vital do’s and don’ts of contacting professionals for work experience.  From the women whose career was built upon it, I believed her when she said:

 

“Work experience is the best thing ever”

 

As the clock struck 11am, over 50 women were divided into workshop groups. I was fortunate to have ‘B’ (as she calls herself – Brenda Freeman, Blackburn House’s Conference and Events Manager), who quoted many striking statements, too many for me to write down.

I am a dawdler. I over think and analyse until I’ve put myself off a situation or a topic. But something she said ticked in my brain:

 

“Whilst you’re thinking it, other people are doing it”

It was almost like I had never heard something so true. I have always wanted to start my own blog, but this event made me think it could really happen. There and then we wrote down goals, put time scales on them and created action plans to fulfill these aims. Proactivity has a whole new meaning for me now.  

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Photo: Olivia Seed

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