-Written by Laura Chung, Founding Member of DevelopHer –
2017 has been a busy year, for all of us. With our active lives, we’re all moving at a hundred miles an hour and before you know it the winter nights have come upon us and we’re already heading into the new year. At DevelopHer, we really wanted to take the time to just stop for one moment. To stop and to get our team together – out of this crazy London city – and think about what this year meant for us and how we can continue helping our community going forward.
This time we had together was invaluable, not only as a team but as friends who are all passionate about making a difference. For that reason, we wanted to share with you our weekend experience and what this means for our community:
We all need a time out now and again. With the wonderful hosting skills of Sally from DevelopHer – we headed to Hertfordshire for a retreat where we were greeted with food, wine, open fireplaces and the chance to show our best dance moves to disco themed vinyls.
On the Saturday morning, we started the day with a fresh autumn walk in the countryside followed by a Creative Art Therapy Session hosted by Lizzy Duncan from Make Some Art. This session gave us a safe space using an array of art materials, providing an opportunity to be ourselves, unleash our creativity, think more broadly and to connect with each other through art making. Individually, we were given a puzzle piece to fill in – allowing us to use our brain in a creative way, without rules or restrictions. After our individual contributions, we pieced our artwork together and revealed a truly colourful, authentic and collaborative outcome. We also felt more focused, calmer and our minds refreshed for the rest of the day. A wonderful exercise, so thank you Lizzy!
With our minds refreshed, we also took a moment to reflect some of our successes at Developher both personally and as a community. We’ve been blown away from the feedback and engagement of our members and this year has we had a number of highlights including:
- Being nominated and shortlisted for We Are Tech Women 2017 Network of the Year
- Partnering our 2017 events with General Assembly, LaFosse, Appnexus, Social Media Week, AI Tech World, Wonder Women Tech London, Moo, React, EveryWomen and Cass Business School
- Emily, Eniko and Martyna from DevelopHer mentioned in the Guardian, Econsultancy and BBC NewsBeat
- Sarah from DevelopHer nominated for We Are Tech 50 Women Awards and presenting at a TedX talk on ‘Magic and the Machine’
- Laura, Ella and Eniko from Developher and Lauren Ingram from our DevelopHer mentoring programme shortlisted as The Drum 50 under 30 Women in Digital
- Alessia from DevelopHer welcomed a new baby member to the community!
- Spotting Iona Inglesby from our DevelopHer Mentoring Programme being nominated as The Progress 1000 list of London’s most influential people in the Evening Standard
- Alongside 7 members of our DevelopHer team all starting new jobs and changing career paths!
The success stories we’ve also heard from our community during our events have also been overwhelming, and whilst our subject topics during our events focus on overcoming challenges and improving ourselves – we think it’s important we also celebrate how well we’re all doing and the great things we’re all achieving. So on behalf of DevelopHer – you truly rock!
During our time, we also had a strategy session led by Rachelle Denton (Senior Creative Strategist Consultant at BBC) and Laura Colin (Strategy Lead at BBC) to guide us on how we think about 2018, our current aspirations and how we continue to elevate women in tech. We loved the way Rachelle & Laura thought and challenged us, and this session was invaluable, as we left feeling invigorated for what’s yet to come!
It was clear that there were key focus areas that we want to continue providing our community for next year, including:
- A 360 degree support network for women in technology for their careers
- Being part of the solution to change the inequality gap
- Enabling a community where members can provide each other a hand up
At DevelopHer, we’re full of energy and ambition for 2018, and while we continue to work on exciting opportunities to share with you guys, we would LOVE to hear from you on how we can help support your career path. So if we can ask for one thing, please do share with us your thoughts, ideas and feedback on how DevelopHer as a community can help you to continue progressing next year by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there is something we can take away from this weekend, it’s to be kind to yourself – give yourself time to breathe -and also make sure you celebrate each other successes.
We look forward to hearing your ideas, and can’t wait for 2018 – let’s bring it on!