Key takeaways from the FlexSA Women in Flex online event


For the 3rd event in the FlexSA Women in Flex series, developed in Partnership with technologywithin, we decided to run a webinar to give a broader audience of women working in the sector the chance to get involved and be inspired by the stories of other women.

If you didn’t have the chance to tune in you can listen back to the event here.  We have also summarised what we felt were the best pieces of advice shared to further your career during the session.

Our very own Laurie Dennard moderated the event and was joined by Celia Donne, VP of Operations, IWG, Charlie Stanger-Leathes, Area Sales Manager, X&Y and Karen Osbourne, Operation Director, UBC.

1 Experience is as valuable as education to progress in the flex sector

Whilst two of our three panelists had studied at university, they all agreed that practical experience was just as important in terms of building your career.  Managing workspace calls for a real combination of practical and personal skills; Karen likened it to being Bob The Builder, Mother Teresa and Cruella de Vil all in one!

2 Be proactive in building your experience

Being more proactive in putting yourself forward was a unanimous point from the panel and all felt that women could be more proactive in asking for more responsibility, or a promotion. However, don’t be afraid to take a sideways move either, as broader experience can eventually help you move upwards too.  Volunteering for new opportunities is a way to improve your visibility in an organisation Celia shared, which means that your name is top of mind when new opportunities arise.

3 Flex is a female-positive sector

When asked if they had encountered any gender-related barriers during their careers in the sector, the panel responded that they did not feel that being a woman had held them back from progressing. They did however believe that women should have more self-belief, promote themselves and negotiate for what they want, if Board level equality is to be achieved.

4 Embrace networking

Many attendees at previous events reported that they struggle with networking at large events. The panel’s advice was instead to consider alternative options, take smaller steps.  Start by getting to know your colleagues, take people out for a coffee, then try small events.  Karen challenges her team to just talk to three people at an event to avoid being overwhelmed in a room full of people. All agree that there was a lot of value for centre managers joining local business associations too, as networking can easily lead indirectly to new leads.

5 Learn to protect yourself from stress

Not burning out is also key to success.  Whilst you should be positive about new opportunities, saying no is sometimes the right answer when you’re overloaded.  Taking time for yourself every day and setting rules on your own availability are key.  Charli recommended having separate work and personal phones to protect your personal life, especially important during busy times, in the sales environment, or when you’re in a busy new role.

Thanks again for joining us and we look forward to seeing more of you at the next Women in Flex event soon!

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