West Lothian Women in Business hold an annual event in March to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Balance – how women are achieving it
The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #BalanceforBetter, with the focus on building a gender-balanced world and the part that everyone has to play – all the time, everywhere.
We run an annual event to coincide with International Women’s Day, and this year we would love you to join us to explore the theme of balance. We’re looking at not only gender balance, but also also work-life balance, mental health balance and balancing the books.
We have invited a panel of three women in business who have very diverse experiences – see their bio information below. They will share their stories and experiences with us, then there will be the chance to ask questions and engage in discussion on the issues raised. It promises to be a very interesting event and the three women on the panel have a huge wealth of experiences to share.
After the discussion we will have some guided networking, and the chance to catch up with other members and meet new faces.
So please join us on 7th March from 9.30am for complimentary tea/coffee and a 10am start.
We’re at our usual IWD venue, Oracle in Linlithgow – thanks again to Oracle for hosting us.
Here are details of our panel members:
CEO of West Lothian Chamber of Commerce and Director of Scottish Chambers of Commerce.
Linda lives with her family in West Lothian and started her career with her first catering business at the age of 17. From attending and competing in equestrian events, Linda used her experience and contacts to start her own business offering a quality service to a wide range of clients.
Linda’s first business, Gourmet Events Scotland Ltd, grew into one of the top catering companies in Scotland. Her prestigious client base included Aldi, Mercedes, Lexus, Coca Cola, Samsung, Pacific Life, Sainsbury’s Bank, Terex and many more. Gourmet Events was sold in 2014, Linda then launched Axcess Training which provided a mix of college based and “hands on” training for the catering and hospitality industry
Linda took up her position as CEO of West Lothian Chamber of Commerce in 2012 and then became the first director of Scottish Chambers from a non-city Chamber in 150 years in 2016.
She also serves on several other boards and committees which cover a range of economic responsibilities including employment, education, enterprise and commerce within the West Lothian area of Scotland. As a Director on the board of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Linda is engaged with a number of national forums including international trade and further education.
Linda has travelled extensively over the last 3 years, working with partners from Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania and Turkey. She was involved in a visit with Scottish Chambers of Commerce to China and has led two trade missions to Ireland in 2018 including a trade mission to Donegal with Ivan Mckee, Minister for Trade & Investment.
Linda has supported various worthy causes by completing numerous challenges including Tough Mudders, Sleep In The Park and she has just completed her most testing yet, a 100 mile trek across the Sahara for the Michelle Henderson’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
Author, “Up the ladder in a skirt”; Mental Health Awareness Advocate
Maggie is an award-winning authority on Mental Health in the Workplace. She has a unique story which she shares about her own mental health journey as a change maker and leader in the workplace. She is a strong advocate of ingraining a strong understanding and support of mental health into the cultural psyche of organisations.
She also works closely with individuals and organisations on career development for women in male dominated industries. She is the author of the book, Up the Ladder in a Skirt, which is hailed as the book for women in challenging roles globally by women in organisations such as the Lloyds Banking Group and Visit Scotland.
A mechanical engineer who climbed to the top of the leadership ladder, Maggie was the executive chairman of a large agricultural company, responsible for the 75% increase in the retention of staff through career development pathways, by the age of 32. Maggie is a sought-after consultant in oil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing and automotive industries. Having achieved goals such as being the youngest member of the plastics pioneers’ education initiative which went into companies such as Monsanto and Nylex.
She has directly impacted the career choices and progress of over 10,000 women in over 32 countries around the world.
With a deep commitment to diversity and well-being she is an ambassador for sustainable career and business development for women the world over.
Male Dominated to creating Change: the road to gender balance is often littered with the great actions of many. Balance can be seen in many lights. We talk about work life balance and balancing our roles with our expectations and just balancing the books. From Engineer to Executive Chairman of the board of a large Agricultural Company and onto Volunteer Leadership and the lessons of running your own business, Maggie will share some of the stories that show how she endeavoured and still endeavours to create balance in organisations, from Gender Balance to pay balance and thought balance. Maggie will share the good, the bad and the ugly of her journey and along the way give you some tools that you can pack in your kit bag to help you do your bit towards creating gender balance in organisations.
Owner and Manager, Merbabies Swim School
Coming from a background in high-pressure recruitment and ending up almost burning herself out for someone else’s benefit, Anna decided to quit and set up her own business.
Since taking over a small baby and toddler swim school in February 2017, she has successfully grown the business and Merbabies now offers lessons to around 500 children a week. Having taken on specialist teaching staff, Anna looks after all the business development and behind-the-scenes work for the business.
Moving into West Lothian from Edinburgh relatively recently, Anna is also the person behind the “West Lothian Women” Facebook community, which she started at the end of 2018 to connect with other women in West Lothian for support, socialising, networking, sharing positive stories and experiences. The group has grown very rapidly and now has nearly 11k members.
Having travelled and worked overseas, Anna has a rich variety of experiences to share.
Anna will talk about her journey to date, in relation to the IWD theme of #BalanceForBetter. We’ll hear from her about the lack of balance that led to her leaving a high-pressure employment, taking the plunge into self-employment, balancing the books whilst developing the business, and balancing work with raising two small children.
So, please join us for our IWD event on Thursday 7th March, again kindly hosted by Oracle in Linlithgow – EARLY BIRD tickets just £6 until 18th February, with full priced tickets at £7.50 thereafter.
PLEASE NOTE – registration and networking from 9:30 – with tea, coffee and biscuits -with start at 10:00am – there will be a short break in the middle, and networking at the end.
WLWIB Steering Group
West Lothian Women in Business is a non-profit group run by a small number of volunteers. The group is here to help empower and support women who, are either running their own business or considering it, are professional women in the business world or other organisations and who would like to connect with other like-minded women and grow as individuals.