Caroline Watson, Co-founder of Progressive Women, reflects on 2012. Follow Caroline on twitter @CarolineSWatson
2012 was the year Progressive Women adopted our motto ‘to inspire, motivate and support women on their path to leadership’. And this is exactly what we’ve been doing. We couldn’t have had such a successful year without the generosity and goodwill of so many women. We started off the year with the final leadership workshop in our series facilitated by the fabulous and inspirational women at A New Kind of Leadership. We are so grateful to Judy, Isobel, Julia, Suzy and all the other coaches who hosted sessions in our series and supported us in developing new leadership skills.
April saw the lead up to the London Mayoral election. We prepared for this by hosting our very own debate with an all female line up in the House of Commons. Independent candidate Siobhan Benita, new Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, and Brian Paddock’s running mate Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem), were part of the discussion. Boris was represented by our friend Mary Macleod MP and in the red corner for Ken was no nonsense, ever impressive Gisela Stuart MP. The debate enabled undecided voters to pose questions to the representatives of the candidates, and we explored a range of issues including why we aren’t seeing more women standing for high level positions.
The summer brought rain, and our boat party. It was a fun evening on the Thames, and a chance to meet with Progressive Women informally. The highlight of the evening was to hear the eloquent and moving Natasha Walter speak about her career transition from writer and journalist to campaigner and director for Women for Refugee Women. It was also a wonderful few hours meeting many of the women who have attended our previous events and contributed to our blog. Wishing to host another event where we could get to know Progressive Women followers better, and improve what is potentially the most important career skill, we organised a Speed Networking event. Held in Westminster we heard from Progressive Woman Lucy James, who shared with us her invaluable networking tips. If you missed the evening but want to read Lucy’s tips and more we learned that night, you can do so here.
It’s been another fantastic year for Progressive Women and I’d like to thank our newly evolved committee, Emma W, Emma M, Lucy, Binita, Anna and Nicole. Plus all the guest bloggers who have taken the time to write for us, and who continually make our website an exciting place to visit. True to our motto to ‘inspire, support and motivate’, working with other women we have had arguably our best year to date. Although, we have plans in the pipeline that suggest 2013 will rival it!
In the next few days we’ll be announcing our first event of the new year. In the meantime thank you for being a part of Progressive Women, we look forward to seeing you soon, and Happy New Year.