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Business & Economy

Big attendance for the Chamber’s Inspiring Females conference

Last week, Ramside Hall played host to the annual Inspiring Females conference, organised by the North East England Chamber of Commerce.

The conference saw over 170 entrepreneurs in attendance, learning about how to develop successful companies and tips for personal success.

The day was started by Sophie Moorby, an operations manager for Go North East. Sophie was the first female manager of a bus depot and now manages 500 drivers and 200 vehicles around the North East.

The Chamber’s director of international trade, Julie Underwood, chaired the conference.

She said: “This is such an important event in the Chamber calendar as we need to support our female entrepreneurs to punch above their weight.

“Often there are women in business who are reluctant to shout about their achievements.

“This conference gives them an opportunity to showcase their experiences and inspire other females to develop their careers and businesses.”

Darush Dodds, head of corporate affairs for Esh Group, was keen to stress the importance of getting more women into the construction industry and the work Esh does to support this.

Among the business success stories at the event was Brenda Coade, whose Sunderland-based business, Designer Childrenswear, has grown to become a major retailer of international brands.

Another Wearside businesswoman, Nicola Wood, shared her story of how she combined a successful career in hairdressing with developing the Wonderful Wig company for people suffering from cancer.

One of the key themes highlight by Chamber president Lesley Moody was employers being open-minded about flexible working.

Susan Bell, CEO of Waterstones gave a speech highlighting the importance of this to her own firm. Her watchwords for staff were trust and empowerment to do their job without having strict times to be in the office.

There were many others speakers throughout the day talking about the need for women to not be apologetic about their strengths and changing the terms of the discussion to recognise success and learning rather than winning and losing.