Let’s be clear, the gender debate talks a lot about equality but what we believe at Ascension is that equality is not the issue. The message has got confused. We are not going to move forward if we are constantly chasing a masculine norm, we need to embrace our qualities. We are also not going to progress if we wait for corporations and policy makers to make the change happen for us. We are the answer. When Jennifer Lawrence discovered she had been paid considerably less than her male co-stars, she didn’t blame anyone else, she got mad with herself for not negotiating harder, for giving up at the first attempt because she didn’t want to be brandished as difficult.
Research suggests that as professional women, we often find ourselves in career situations where our gender differences have become an obstacle and are holding us back from reaching the seniority we deserve. That level of seniority will not be the same for all of us, and that’s ok. It’s about finding our own personal career fulfillment.
Being a member of Ascension will empower you to construct your own strategy for success via a programme of events that will help you to have a stronger voice. More importantly, it will give you access to a network of like-minded peers who will become your support network and champions to help you navigate your career journey.
Be bold, be brilliant and go for it!
Following 15 years in client facing roles in banking a change in circumstances presented an opportunity to take an innovative approach to my career and I pursued a role in a global law firm delivering professional skills based training to lawyers. For me career fulfilment is about finding a role that provides a good level of challenge with opportunities to grow but that allows me to do something that I genuinely love.
When I read Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ there was a sentence that resonated so strongly – to be successful we must do the thing that makes our heart sing. Delivering change through personal development and empowering those around me to be the best they can be is what drives me. Ascension for me is about providing my female peers with a supportive framework in which to become more self aware and develop a set of skills that will become their armour in the years to come.
As a keen networker I am lucky to have met some truly amazing, supportive and talented women. Over the years though it has become apparent to me that whilst we have a lot to share, we don’t always appreciate this in ourselves and we can lack the courage to be our own champions and stretch ourselves in a competitive workplace.
As a Solicitor my experience is in the legal industry, a competitive and male dominated profession. My perception is that men and women are totally different meaning we often think and work differently. This is a good thing; however I want to ensure I can compete effectively. I also want to help others to have access to inspiring role models and tailored training, because in the past this is something I have missed but now value so highly. This is where I see Ascension fitting in – tailored training towards addressing some ‘typically’ female workplace conundrums, amongst a group of talented and supportive ladies. Ascension is about reminding ourselves how great we are – we need to know it, before we can show it!
As a member of a ‘Women in Leadership’ group in my organisation I have been provided with a network of strong and inspirational women. This became my main motivation to form Ascension, so that I could pass on this inspiration and the skills I have gained from this programme to others. I am incredibly fortunate to work for a supportive employer who values female progression and equality at Board level. I have spent 4 years in client facing roles in Banking, which I very much enjoy.
Outside of work, I am a dog mum to a 4 year old German Shepherd which plays an important part in my work-life balance! Ascension for me is about providing continual inspiration and motivation to my female peers, through interactive sessions and guest speakers. It is vital to take time to reflect on your personal goals, Ascension provides a supportive network and time to develop skills for both current and future roles.
Visibility, Impact and Confidence Thursday ,15th November, 2018 (5:30pm - 7:30pm)
Stepping into the limelight can be daunting, whether that is a large audience, talking to senior leaders, in board meetings or interviews. We can easily freeze in these moments and keep our brilliant selves hidden away due to fear. In this session, we will explore some of the confidence building techniques we can use both in person and online to ensure that we are always presenting the best version of ourselves with impact and gravitas.
Maintaining Control and Choice Thursday, 20th September, 2018 (5:30pm - 7pm)
In this session, our guest time management and personal effectiveness coach Jen Mak will help you realise that you have control and choice in life, whether it be your perception, your actions or your acceptance of a situation. Through a series of simple tools, you’ll learn the continuous practise of de-escalating so that you prevent wildfires of Annoyance, Reactivity,
Resilience Through Assertiveness Thursday, 26th April, 2018 (5:30pm - 7pm)
Learning how to be resilient starts with a greater understanding of what you want from life. Being assertive and pushing back is not easy, there are ways, however, to do this successfully and professionally. Our guest speakers for this session are Zarina Mahmud, a Senior Manager driving the Inclusion and Diversity programme at Lloyds Banking Group and Nikki Alderson, a former barrister and now corporate & executive coach. Both our guests have chosen a path that allows them to apply their authentic selves to finding career fulfilment inspite of the personal challenge.
Dressing for Confidence! Thursday, 1st February, 2018 (5:30pm - 7pm)
Why blend in when you can stand out?
We are judged in a matter of seconds on our appearance. Whether we like it or not, getting ahead in business is still about looking the part. We are delighted to be hosted by Reiss and with a chance to win a £100 shopping voucher and take advantage of a 10% discount this is an event not to miss!
“E is for Edge” Thursday, 9th November 2017
In this session, we look at what it is that female leaders have that gives them that all important ‘edge’. How do they organise themselves, prepare and deliver consistently with authority and gravitas. You will be surprised at what small daily habits and disciplines you can master to bring about significant changes to the way you are perceived by those around you.
“V is for Visibility” Thursday, 21st September 2017
Congratulations you’ve made it to the boardroom but whilst your contribution is valid and credible, your voice isn’t being heard. In this session we will look at presentation techniques as Amy Cuddy’s famous power pose and the importance of body language. We will also look at the importance of managing stakeholders and ensuring that every interaction you have with them has impact and gets you noticed.
"I is for Innovation" Wednesday, 28th June 2017
More than 40% of women in the UK would reconsider their career choice. (Lightspeed GMI, 2015). What do you do if you not progressing where you are? Maybe the culture is not a good fit for you, or you decide that the industry is no longer making you happy. In this panel based session we will hear from business leaders who for one reason or another found that by taking a change in direction opened up a world that far exceeded their expectations.
"R is for Resilience" Thursday, 4th May 2017
“More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails” Dean Becker, President and CEO of Adaptiv Learning Systems. In this interactive session, we will explore three techniques to help you build resilience. Firstly, a positive mindset and changing your perspective; how to be assertive and use active language and finally creating a vision and self belief.
"D is for Dress" Wednesday, 8th March 2017
We live in a world of brands but the most important brand is your own. Understanding how to present your personal brand consistently through your image is a vital step in approaching your career journey. Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Blink’ tells us that we have but an instant to form a great first impression. The power that our external image has to shape that first impression is therefore key. Award winning stylist and image consultant Stephanie Roper will tells us how the clothes we wear can help with career progression.
- “ A fantastic way to spend International Women’s Day. When women support each other, incredible things happen.”
- “A truly inspiring event, gave me lots to think about, with practical tips to help me achieve my ‘wardrobe’ goals.”
- “A wonderful initiative with great potential.”
- “A great environment to reflect and share experiences and advice with others. I came away feeling so much more positive.”
- “ A great evening.”
- “Great atmosphere and great hosts, thank you.”
- “Another brilliant night mixing with like-minded professional females.”
Being a member of Ascension and the DRIVE programme has additional benefits, such as book give-aways at the events and other useful resources.
1st book – Making a Splash by Rashmi Dube
Rashmi spoke at our launch event and shared with us her journey as an entrepreneur and author. Her book ‘Making a Splash’ is a personal guide on what networking is and isn’t, how to network and how to make the most from networking.
Each section of the book helps guide you with explanations and advice from an experienced networker. It is packed with ideas, tips and experiences from people who have achieved a lot by networking – both professionally and personally. The book is a personal guide to your networking success!
2nd book – Personal branding for Brits by Jennifer Holloway
Are you someone who wants to get ahead in your career or business? Perhaps you’re looking for a new job or want a promotion. Maybe you’re starting a business or want to grow your company. You might be going for interviews, pitching for a job or contract, getting new clients and keeping existing customers.
However you want to get on at work, people buy people…but what they’re really buying is your personal brand. Your brand lets people know who you are and what you bring to the table and most importantly, how you’re different from everyone else out there. This book is a definitive guide to understanding that doing a good job is no longer enough, you need to find a way to stand out, build a great reputation and be confident.
3rd book – S.U.M.O by Paul McGee
Paul McGee′s international bestselling personal development heavyweight S.U.M.O. has helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world fulfil their potential, seize opportunities, succeed at work, and respond to adverse situations with a positive attitude. Weighing in with humour, insight, practical tips, and personal anecdotes, it′s a thought provoking and possibly life–changing read.
4th book – The Seven Steps to Career Consciousness by Louise Lapish
Do you have that Monday morning feeling every day of the week? Are you stuck in a work rut or still floundering as to what career you really want? Are you ready to stop making excuses and take control? In this insightful book by Louise Lapish she answers the question ‘What are the seven steps to career consciousness?
5th book – Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy
How can we be our strongest selves in life’s most challenging situations? We often approach these situations – job interviews, difficult conversations, speaking up for ourselves – with anxiety and leave them with regret. Moments that require us to be genuine and powerful instead cause us to feel phoney and powerless, preventing us from being our best selves.
Harvard professor Amy Cuddy shows us we need to stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others, and instead change the impression we’re making on ourselves. Cutting-edge science reveals that if we adopt behaviours reflecting power and strength, we liberate ourselves from the fears and doubts that obstruct us. By redirecting our thoughts, actions, and even physiology, we free ourselves to be our best.
Amy Cuddy galvanised viewers around the world with her TED talk on ‘power poses’. Now she explains the science underlying these and many other fascinating body-mind effects, and teaches us how to use this science to become self-assured in high-pressure moments.
During the ‘D is for Dress’ event, our wonderful stylist Stephanie Roper referred to the following brands as great sources of work wear across a spectrum of price ranges: