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Posted By Reflexion Associates on 22/07/2018

Authenticity In Action – Celebrating Women in Apprenticeships Conference

Authenticity In Action – Celebrating Women in Apprenticeships Conference

Last week I attended and spoke at the Celebrating Women National Apprenticeships Conference. My work is all about empowering women, so attending this type of event wasn't unusual for me. As a result, I didn't expect to hear or feel anything new.

How wrong I was! From the moment I walked in there was a warm and welcoming buzz in the air and a sense that this was something very special. I was so happy that I had brought my sixteen-year-old daughter and our seventeen-year-old apprentice to experience it.

The passion for the work of apprenticeships was palpable; these women who were sharing their stories were authenticity in action. Whether that was Petra Wilton who declared that she was leaving a successful career at the CMI to retrain as a primary school teacher as that is where she feels that she can make the most difference to Arit Eminue who spoke with humour about the very real challenge of being a black woman being asked to be an authority on inclusion and diversity, even when that's not your field of expertise.

The crafting of this conference was refreshingly different, moving from the big picture, to a holistic approach to women’s lives, including my take on the importance of mind-set to make things happen in your life and Angela Middleton’s insights on how physical wellbeing shapes our success; later moving into speakers who made a call to activism. Not only this but the age range from young apprentices to those closer to the end of their career was refreshing.

We were treated like queens with a free book each, a great venue and fabulous refreshments including burgers, hotdogs and ice cream, which connected us with our younger, playful selves. I left inspired, inspired to spread the word about apprenticeships, inspired to be the best version of me and inspired to accelerate the change that I wish to see in the world.

Research Professor Dr. Brene Brown says “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let out true selves be seen.” This is what Lindsay McCurdy enabled everyone to do last week, by bringing a group of passionate women together, sharing their stories, the hardships and the successes, and asking the important questions. I believe the results will be exponential!

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