AROUND 50 businesswomen from across Somerset enjoyed afternoon tea and the opportunity to celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday at a networking event organised by Somerset Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Old Mill Accountants and Financial Planners.
The ladies came from all business sectors, including recruitment, financial, marketing and legal, and were able to make new contacts, raise the profile of their businesses and catch-up with existing work connections.
As well as a cream tea at The Mount Somerset Hotel, near Taunton, guests were able to listen to two inspirational local women – guest speaker Lindsey Nutbeen of Augmentum Business Solutions, in Wrington, North Somerset, and Carolyn Matravers, a Chartered Financial Planner with Old Mill Accountants and Financial Planners, in Yeovil.
Carolyn spoke of her own experiences in what was once a male-dominated business but said that had now changed significantly. She said women now made up nearly three-quarters of Old Mill’s workforce and she herself had been given a lengthy career break to enable her to raise her children before returning to work.
“We have 66 managers and 30 of those are women. We are definitely working towards a gender-balanced world and it is being recognised that women have a great deal to offer – it’s wonderful to be part of it,” Carolyn said.
Lindsey, who specialises in providing business support, told the audience her mother had been her inspiration throughout her life.
She said International Women’s Day was about celebrating women from all walks of life, from those who were friends and work colleagues to strong women from history.
“The reason I have the skills set I have is because I had a very strong mother who gave me belief in myself. Life is all about people and making sure you do the right thing – you need to be yourself, being fake doesn’t work,” she told guests.
She said school had broken her spirit, but with her mother’s encouragement she had worked abroad and had many jobs she may not have even considered if it had not been for her mother’s guidance and encouragement.
“It’s been quite a journey. My mother was the most incredible person I have ever met and it’s all about celebrating these incredible women on International Women’s Day,” Lindsey said.