SheSays Manchester: New Beginnings

First and foremost I want to say a huge thank you to Code ComputerLove and Hyper Island for making SheSays Manchester’s second event even possible! A huge Manchester ta to Naomi Timperley, Emma Scamell and Gabi Iskandar for their wonderful talks and final a round of applause for the SheSays Manchester team, Mahnaz Yusaf, Aimee Tasker and Emma Scamel.

So, what is SheSays Manchester?

We set up SheSays Manchester back in May to give women in the digital, tech and creative industries a platform to voice their stories. It’s not the first time that an ambitious group of women have tried to start SheSays in this great city of ours, but hopefully it will be the last as we plan to push forward and make SheSays one of the best networking events in town.

SheSays is a global network of women, speaking about their careers, passions and adventures through tech and digital. We want Manchester to have a presence on that global stage and give the tech community in Manchester a chance to boast about the amazing women here in this wonderful city!

Why is SheSays Manchester important?

Well, first things first, the digital, tech and creative industries are still male dominated. Of course, there are more and more women making their way into these careers, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not room for improvement. All we want to do, is give women a place to voice their stories, speak about how they got to where they are and just inspire more women to get involved in the industries that have previously seems impenetrable.

You may have noticed that this is a huge generalisation and of course, tech, digital and creative are accessible to women, we just want to embrace that. Also, men are more than welcome to attend SheSays Manchester, but only women can do the key note speeches.

New Beginnings

Our attendees started filing into the room, grabbing a drink (generously sponsored by Code ComputerLove) and sitting down and looking at their phones. We were all there to network, but the networking wasn’t happening. The SheSays team took it upon themselves to nudge the group of aspirational ladies to start talking to each other, and this gave Naomi a perfect introduction to her inspirational talk.

SheSays Manchester’s second event was aptly themed New Beginnings. Naomi Timperley kickstarted the event by speaking about the importance of networking, and boy is it important. No slideshows were needed, and Naomi quickly captivated her audience with her story. A mother, an entrepreneur, a Dragon’s Den survivor, Naomi has done it all. She was quick to show that path for women entrepreneurs was not was limited by their gender and that anything was possible through networking and hard graft. It was lovely to see someone so passionate about digital talking about the important of getting to know people, and using social media to do it! The highlight of Naomi’s speech was when she got every member of the audience to say who they are, what they do and why they attended. In doing so Naomi was facilitating our networking, helping us get to know each other and opened the door for people to spread the word of what they wanted to achieve.

Our second guest speaker was the wonderful Emma Scamell. She took us on a journey through her personal adventure, to Australia and back again. She spoke about what it takes to start a new adventure and inspired us all to begin our own. Emma also delighted us with a run down of what she’s learnt since she started at the amazing Hyper Island. She continued her journey from one great place to another and told us of all the great things she’s learnt at Hyper Island. She expressed how knowing yourself is key to success, both personally and professionally. With stunning imagery and amazing photography, Emma  delved into her passions and her enthusiasm for digital and creativity just shone through. Emma looks at digital, tech and creativity through the eyes of Hyper Island, she focused on how human centred design and design thinking, can make the impossible possible, whilst also explaining how important it is not to be disheartened when things go wrong. Emma showed us all that everything happens for a reason, as long as you’re continually learning and can see the bigger picture, you’ll always make the right decision.

Last but not least, SheSays Manchester finished off with the energetic Gabi Iskandar. Gabi talked about how exciting it is for her to be starting her own “New Beginnings” in Manchester and the importance of a strong support network. She highlighted the need for women to support each other, not only professionally but personally, in a way that offers a listening ear as well as good advice. Gabi elegantly told us all how she built her network in Manchester and how she continued to do so. She spoke of all the women’s events she attends and how glad she was to see SheSays Manchester attracting such a diverse crowd. The week beforeSheSays ManchesterGabi told an eager crowd of how she went to Manchester Tech Night, with only 5 women in the crowd. Gabi wanted that to change, she encouraged all of the attendees (and at this point they were participants in what was an inclusive set of talks) to go out and attend tech nights. She encouraged all the SheSayers to represent women at Manchester’s events and show the world how the women in Manchester’s digital scene are doing things for themselves. Gabi was quick to show us all that by having a support network, anything is possible you just need to know that there’s an empathetic ear out there somewhere and the rest will work itself out.

All in all, SheSays Manchester ’s second event, New Beginnings, was a huge success. Positive feedback streamed in from the attendees, we made great connections with Ladies that UX and BBC Women in Tech, plus we’re already gearing up for our third event of the year.

Missed this month’s SheSays Manchester, fear not, save the date for our next extravaganza: Thursday 18th September!