Northern Power Women is a collaborative campaign to accelerate gender diversity from the North of England. It was founded by Simone Roche, and has spawned awards, networking, events and now podcasts. I was at their latest podcast recording at Sage in Newcastle, the sixth so far in a series of debates on a wide range of topics.
I first met Simone at an event in Manchester earlier this year. That morning, she’d been interviewed on BBC radio 5 live talking about the Northern Powerhouse and balanced panels. She was frustrated and a little bit angry and rightly so.
But it’s not just Simone. There are 1000s of people behind the Northern Power Women movement. Role models and ambassadors and future stars, from Stephanie McGovern to Cherie Blair to a 15 year old entrepreneur, and over 10,000 followers on Twitter.
Their most recent podcast that I went to had a panel made up of Adele Mitchinson from Venture Stream UK, Karen Ainley from Sage and Craig Cumpson of EY, hosted by the broadcaster Sam Walker who puts the NPW podcasts together. Topics included the growth of #sidehustle, feminism and female only workspaces. Previous podcasts have discussed what an entrepreneur looks like, working part-time, sexual harassment at work, understanding of mental health in the workplace.
I really enjoyed the event. I have decided that I don’t much like networking in the traditional sense (despite blogging about it recently!), and think that creating a space for people to get together and network but more importantly achieve something, rather than simply mooch around a room and catch up, is my preferred option. I’m running a hack for a charity soon partly because of this frustration. I would prefer it if the great minds that you often meet at events actually put their time into doing something useful during those networking opportunities, doing something for good.
It’s why I like the NPW podcasts. Something is created. A product. Something that can be used to bring people together, to inform, to educate, to allow a debate.
If you'd like to go to the recording of future podcasts find out more on the NPW website. Northern Power Women is also looking for nominations for their annual awards for 2018, so if you think that you or someone you know is deserving of an award - including Entrepreneur of the year, Mentor of the year and Transformational leader of the year - find out more on their website http://www.northernpowerwomen.com/