How I Raised My Visibility by being a Panellist

Sharing stories, finding connections in our common search and offering and taking a helping hand.  Where we start on the entrepreneurial path, the in-between times and the direction we are aiming for can be vastly different from each other.  It’s the successes, joys and highs to the challenges, questions, pitfalls and sometimes despair on this path that we all have as a commonality. 

Panel discussion at Warwick University of female founders. Our journeys and how we have come to where we are
Panel Discussion on Female Led Businesses

It’s the sharing of these experiences.  Those times when you second guess your decision to start a business to the joy of getting your first and then oh! great joy of joys a second client/customer.  What seems like a very personal experiences are actually common ones we all go through.  Its when these frustrations and happy occasions are authentically shared, we come to realise that on this path that there are many to share it with.

This is something I have only learnt in the last few years, to share not only helps me keep somewhat sane but I learn so much more from others’ experiences.

I shouldn’t have been surprised that this was one of the themes that came up during the panel discussion I was on at University of Warwick for Her Innovation Collective (HIC). A programme run in partnership with Warwick Enterprise (University of Warwick) and @NOIClub founded by Paola Stefania Garbini.

 Neelam Kaul, Fiona Quinn, Vix Anderson and I shared our diverse paths from corporate to setting up and running our own businesses. The most interesting was when the discussion moved on to the Q&A section.  The most common theme running through almost all the questions is self-belief and self-confidence.

Do you look at others and think how much more confident they are?  Does a voice that carries or a loud laugh or being ‘absorbed’ in your smart phone or even how some (usually guys) sit with their legs wide apart mean that they are sure of themselves?  Assertive?

If this is only a display of outward bravado, surely knowing that you have worked hard, are very intelligent, articulate and have strong relationships with others means that you would have be oozing confidence?  There was an extremely accomplished young woman, in her late 20s who had worked in investment banking and is now studying for a MBA.   At the same time, she had developed an app and was taking it to porotype stage. Yet, a friend had asked her if this was the right choice for her when she should be thinking of getting married and having children (in that order). 

Amazing that such a question should start a chain reaction of questioning herself and her choices.  If you have chosen to tread a different path from your friends, it’s most likely a reflection of their own choices in life which they struggle with.

On another side is knowing you can make a difference but where and how do you start.  Another woman who has young children from the Middle East and is doing her master’s degree, has the product that she is going to base her business on.  She knows her market is huge but the challenge is how to change age-old habits and practices.  Its seems overwhelming but as someone once said to me; “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is “A bite at a time!”

No poaching took place in the telling of that wee tale.

Start small and make the biggest impact.

These resolutions, answers and ways forward came about of conversations and shared experiences.

Panel discussion on how female founded business. How to overcome self doubt and lack of confidence
Panel Discussion, Workshop and a bit of Networking