To my disappointment, Tuesday 23 April dawned bright, clear and warm. No sign of the small natural disaster I’d been praying for. A small natural disaster that would affect only me, of course. Why? Because we were expecting 150 people to our “Closing the Gender Gap” event at Simmons & Simmons’ stunning London offices, and quite frankly, I was terrified.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. Love it. No – I mean, really love it! But. The 48 hours prior to a big event are a challenge. You start to doubt everything you’ve written. You convince yourself the audience will be laughing, jeering and pelting you with fruit. You redouble your efforts in praying for that small natural disaster.
Finally the hour, the minute, the moment arrives, and you’re on your feet. Of course you’ve been nervous – that’s why you are able to do this. Now you’re away, out of the gate, and all too soon it’s over - much to your dismay (go figure). You relax, and there’s a moment of relief before you start to anticipate what’s next on the horizon.
So, to “Closing the Gender Gap”. If you’ve read my earlier blog you’ll remember that we wanted to look at what the barriers are to women’s progression through to senior roles in organisations, and think about what can be done to make that easier.
Despite the hottest day of the year so far, we had 116 people there. And what a buzz there was in the air – not only because we had such a fantastic audience, but also because this is such a hot topic.
During a fast-paced hour we covered all manner of things: Quotas. Structural obstacles. Lifestyle choices. Institutional mind-sets. Individual mindsets. The “Gremlin”. Personal Brand. Networks. Sponsorship. Emotional Intelligence and its importance in sustained performance. Phew!
Before, and afterwards, there was loads of networking, chat and laughter. Loads of people told us they loved the practical nature of the event – people were given the chance to hone their presentation skills, albeit on a one-to-one basis – and were taking away to-do lists to put into practice immediately.
I’ve said in previous blogs that every time we present, whether to two or 200 people, we learn a few things, and last night was no exception. It was a great evening – and I’m so happy that my prayers weren’t answered with that small (tiny, really) natural disaster.
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about the author
Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.