How Did GLOW Start?
A Message From Our Founder...
It started in October 2018, where I was at a panel event. The panel featured Business Leaders of the Future, where out of the five panelists there were four men and only one woman, to which the woman rarely spoke. Then I was in an entrepreneurship class at University and noticed that a lot of the case studies we focused on were based on male entrepreneurs. I therefore decided to do a bit of research and found out some important statistics: only 32% of UK businesses are currently owned by women and in the top 100 UK companies, CEOs are more likely to be called Stephen than they are to be a woman.
I decided I wanted to do something about it. I believed if young women saw female role models doing what they wanted to do and being examples of who they wanted to be, it would encourage them to believe they could do the same and they could start a business or become a board-level executive. I therefore developed a project plan (with the help of the Head of Business and Management at the University of Sussex), and took it to the Dean and Deputy Dean of Engagement at the Business School and pitched them my idea. They absolutely fell in love with it and agreed to fund and help me run the project.
Using a couple of my personal connections that I built up over time and the new ones that I was introduced to through the Deputy Dean of Engagement, I built an event with two fantastic panels of entrepreneurs and female business leaders.
Time went by quickly. From viewing the venue for the first time, to meeting all our panellists for the event (some for the first time), to attending the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards representing the Business School, to giving out flyers on International Women’s Day, to months of promotions and personal campaigning, to finally being on the stage saying the first words into the microphone… this whole journey has been one I could not compare to anything else.
On the 29th March 2019, we had over 100 people attending the event and the atmosphere was incredible. The inspiration, the stories, the networking, the impact we had on so many people that night was truly unbelievable.
At that moment, I knew the journey had not ended and there was still a way to go. From there, Women In Business developed into an unincorporated association called GLOW, which stands for Growing Leaders with Opportunities and Willpower. With my fantastic team of volunteers, we have so far managed to: develop a podcast; a social media series; a research study and journal; and skills sessions. We've built up partnerships with Aviatrix Market Research Consultancy and the Girls Network. It has been an incredible journey so far and we are constantly adapting and developing as the times and needs change, and pushing ourselves to achieve more than we did before. I guess all there is left to say is... let's feel the fear and do it anyway!