Inspired by – International Women’s Day

Inspired by – International Women’s Day

Inspired by – International Women’s Day

March 8th 2023 is International Women’s Day. A day in which we are supposed to not only celebrate women but also raise awareness of some of the key challenge that still face women in society and business.

The facts and figures about women in our industry

The events industry is no different to most when it comes to it’s equal representation challenges. An article in conference news in 2018 outlined that although you can find many women in senior roles, the male population of the industry still appears dominant.

More than 75% of the survey’s respondents identified as female, and they were well represented in managerial and senior roles. But despite having a smaller population, the evidence suggests an influential and dominant male presence.

A wider look at women in the professional world.

There had undoubtedly been good progress, but then we came across this troubling statistic to stumble across in 2023:

“Only 1 in 25 of CEOs in Britain’s largest publicly listed companies are women,

new report referenced by Sky.

It’s statistics like this that continue to fuel our mission. It continues to make International women’s day extremely important in raising awareness and driving change.

At Virtual Approval, we try and do our bit to empower and champion women – and indeed everyone! Whether that is internally within our team, the work we do with our clients, or just simply sending out good vibes to the universe.

Our Question:

As an SME female founded business in the tech space, we’re proud to be doing our bit to balance things out – and we’re not alone, there is a huge tribe of inspirational women everywhere, not just making positive contributions, but leading the way – leading teams, leading businesses, setting the pace of change.

In recognition of IWD, we asked a few members of our core team “Name a inspiration lady who you admire from the world of work or events and tell us why”, here’s what they said….

Our Answers:

Dom Stedman
Head of Marketing
"I think people hear the word inspirational. They think it needs to be a historical figure but not me this time. I have only really started using my LinkedIn profile properly in the last two years. During this time I have been inspired by Ellie Middleton.

I have always seen my dyslexia as a weakness.  At times I have felt I needed to hide it during an interview process. As a household we have been learning about our daughters recent autism, ADHA and PDA diagnosis and what that may mean for her future within education and employment opportunities. At the same time I have watched Ellie champion the community of neurodivergent. Shouting about more then just equal opportunity in recruitment, but also concepts such as the 'traditional' 40 hour work week. That was designed for when only one person in the household was working.

She talks about the outdated idea of "professional". As someone with tattoos, occasionally colourful hair and who has their struggles with mental heath, I love the fact there is a person out there telling us its OK to love your job. Its OK to find a healthy work - life balance. Its not being uncommitted or lacking in drive. She inspires me to be more me. Not to dull myself to fit into a box to be taken seriously in my career. Instead to do what I love and do it to the best of my abilities, but to do it while still being me. She also give me hope for the future and for the potential opportunities my little girl may have."
Yasmin Saddler
Events & Workshops Coordinator
"Michelle Obama continues to empower adolescent girls around the world through education, allowing them to achieve their full potential and transform their families, communities, and countries. More than 100 million girls are without access to proper education, and millions more who do not have the resources they need. The Girls Opportunity Alliance aims to tackle this by giving girls (and grassroot leaders) opportunities to thrive, which in turn, decreases poverty, strengthen families, and subsequently the world. To date, the alliance has influenced positive change in the US, India, Malawi, Vietnam & Kenya."

Ashley Harding
Head of Video Production
"Verna Fields started out as a sound editor, but by 1960 had begun to edit feature films. She not only had an influence on myself but several other major filmmakers such as George Lucas, Peter Bogdanovic & Steven Speilberg.

Speilberg affectionately nick named her 'Mother Cutter' for her work on Jaws. Knowing the right moments to cut away so the robotic shark looked more realistic. Jaws ended up being the final film Verna cut. Which defined her legacy as a film editor by winning her only Oscar. Not a bad way to conclude your editing career, before going on to be a top studio exec at Universal.

Many filmmakers remember Fields fondly. For her gentle direction and warm support through the stressful business of filming and post-production. Which is an approach I aim to imitate whenever I am film making."
Rachel Locke
Director & Founder
"I really struggled to narrow my shortlist down and considered many women I admire from afar: Jacinda Ardern, P!nk, Karen Brady, Katie Piper, Nicola Adams. 

Then I realised, I can only really speak of their public facing profiles and not their day to day attitudes or 'behind the scenes' persona - which may be impressive, but only tells half the story.   

So, the lady who inspires me day to day is my friend, mentor and former boss: Emma Easton. 

As she likes to jovially recall, Emma "rescued" me from myself and general indecision; following a 5 year stint of travelling, short lived business ventures and generally floating through my early twenties. 

She saw potential in me, took a risk, took me under her wing and taught me to channel my enthusiasm for people and business into a successful career. We spent 5 years working side by side- enjoying the good times, business triumphs, an economic downturn, plus many people / personal challenges together. Emma basically trained me to network effectively, always give before you receive, never give up and act with kindness by default... unless attacked (figuratively) then stand up for yourself, with total grit, grace and determination. 

When I am facing a tough day and things aren't quite going to plan or I'm feeling overwhelmed with my workload, I think "what would Emma do?", and it focuses me to shake off the negativity and take the next step forward - with turbo charged speed, cos that's her pace. 

I don't think I have ever really said thanks for setting the example... so here it is in a blog :) "
Cameron Mckirdy
Head of Technical & Creative Solutions
"I have been very lucky to have worked with some superb women in my career within the events industry. 

My current boss works harder than anyone I know to forge relationships and push forward business, but I give her a lot of credit daily, so I thought I'd briefly talk about a previous boss. 

In my last job I jumped from a technical role to more of a client facing and sales type role. It was a baptism of fire! However, my boss at the time, Chloe Retter, was the perfect role model.

She didn't come from a technical background like me, so it meant she needed to work harder than anyone to understand the business.  However, despite any perceived handicap, Chloe worked her way to the top.  Her approach of getting to know the people she works with and sells to, sets her aside from so many others in the events industry. 

She not only taught me nearly everything I know when it comes to looking after my clients, but whenever I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed she always knew how to get me back on track (usually a beer and a catch up)."

It doesn’t stop here.

As we continue to champion women within our own workplace there are so many other organisations doing wonderful work.

The best place to start is the international woman’s day website:

Have a great day!

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