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Women+ In Leadership

Written by Louelle Loreti Jongen, Careers & Employability
Published date 19 November 2019

Last Tuesday we held our first Women in Leadership talk, which was strongly empowering and a great opportunity to open the conversation about women in powerful positions. For those of you who couldn’t attend, we’re covering some of the main topics and tips that were discussed by three industry speakers.

Careers & Employability initiated the free evening of talks and networking to address the underrepresentation of women in the creative sector, as less than 33% of managers in the cultural industries are women. Our line-up of inspiring speakers set out to challenge the current discrimination and celebrate the success of women in leadership roles.

Joining us to share their experiences were three inspiring females: Career Coach Sagina Shabaya who started her own company 60 Min Career Coach and is head of Talent & Inclusion at Raconteur; Chief Executive of Knowledge Quarter London, Jodie Eastwood and Sarah Akwisombe who founded No Bull Business School.

Our first speaker Sagina Shabaya, shared how she built her career starting from interning with a small production company all the way through to working in television for Channel 4. Sagina mentioned that through her career she was guided by a mentor that helped her gain knowledge of the industry. She sees this relationship as a crucial part of her life and professional journey. Later on, Sagina became a Senior Executive within the Content Creation team at Channel 4, commissioning and managing over 200 hours of programming worth 8 million pounds yearly. She eventually received a Royal Television Society Award and was named the youngest black commission editor at Channel 4. After 10 years of television, Sagina set up her own business as a career coach helping women in the creative industries and is now Head of Talent and Inclusion at publishing company Raconteur.

Sagina’s top tips:

  • Go out there and find a mentor you can learn from. Don’t be afraid to ask to help them guide you and teach you their tips and tricks in the industry.
  • Setting your goals is a crucial part of acknowledging where to go and it keeps you driven and focused.
  • Network, Network, Network! It will benefit you to talk and surround yourself with other people in the industry because the contacts you make are going to be the people that help you, champion you. They’ll be the ones that open the door for you.
  • Keep learning, because learning and knowledge are key.
  • Lastly: be authentic and be yourself. It’s your differences that people ultimately want to hire you for.

Our second speaker, Jodie Eastwood, works as a Chief Executive at the Knowledge Quarter. She focusses on expanding knowledge of every kind by opening up conversations with experts. Growing up as a rebelling teenager and leaving her house at the age of fifteen, her journey evolved into her leading her own path and building her life completely on her own. Jodie talked to us about how even now she deals with imposter syndrome and having the constant feeling of fear and not belonging in certain working places, even though she unquestionably deserves to be there!

Jodie’s top tips

  • Every journey matters! We all have our personal value and in the end, it doesn’t matter where you come from and where you’ve worked, it is about the journey you have made along the way that really matters.
  • Grow and develop knowledge by saying yes to stuff. You’ll learn to see where there is a possibility for essential growth.
  • Try and accept that failure is awesome, it is part of the process of learning and getting better at what you do.
  • Always remember that you have a voice and that you are where you are for a specific reason.
  • Know your value: there is no difference between a male and a female leader.
  • Surround yourself with powerful people. As 66% of women don’t feel like they belong in the workplace they find themselves in, it is crucial to surround yourself with people in the same leadership as you, to understand and respect the fact that you belong.

The final speaker of the evening was Sarah Akwisombe. Starting with her career in music production and touring the world with her own tunes, she noticed how many creative people don’t have an eye for the business side of the industry. Moving in her career to different paths of the creative environment, from music to starting a make-up artist agency and having her own interior blog, she got loads of questions about how she was making money while doing what she loved. Eventually, this inspired Sarah to turn her blog into the No Bull Business School which provides courses, podcasts, and events to those who aspire to launch their own business.

Sarah’s top tips

  • What works for others won’t necessarily work for you. You need to figure out how things go for yourself.
  • Don’t share every single idea you will ever have, especially on social media.
  • Your gut is never wrong. Try to rely on that voice in your head, when it tells you something is wrong or wonderfully right.

Thanks so much to our wonderful speakers and to everyone who attended!

Written by BA Fashion Journalism student, Louelle Loreti Jongen. Header illustration by Nia Hefe Filiogianni.

Listen to some of the speakers’ presentations by clicking on the links below:

Photos from the evening

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