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Workfest crowd programme page


Our programme is jam packed with speakers and experts from a wealth of disciplines, who have been hand-picked to inspire and advise you about returning to work, changing jobs or starting your own business.  Our first and last session of the day are keynote sessions for all delegates dealing with the big issues facing working mums, and our breakouts offer a choice of tailored workshops and discussions for delegates.


We have signposted each breakout session so you can pick whichever is most relevant for you, whether you are a RETURNER – looking to return to the workplace after maternity leave or a longer career break; a SWITCHER – looking to change your job or career; or an ENTREPRENEUR – looking to start your own business or go freelance.


Book your ticket now and we’ll send you a link to book your place at your desired breakout sessions.



Welcome and introduction – Justine Roberts

9.35 - 10.30am

How do you do it all?

The day will kick off with an inspiring discussion featuring our panel of high-profile women in the workplace. Mumsnet Co-Founder and CEO Justine Roberts is joined by Sara Bennison, Marketing Director of Barclays, Shami Chakrabarti, the Director of the human rights organisation Liberty and Sharmedean Reid, Founder of Wah Nails. Together they will share their tips for managing a successful career whilst bringing up a family. The session will be chaired by journalist and author Gaby Hinsliff.

This is a keynote session for all delegates

10.30 - 11.15am

CV Masterclass with Heather McGregor

Back by popular demand after last year's Workfest, Heather McGregor, acclaimed headhunter and the FT's Mrs Moneypenny will deliver a masterclass on CV writing. Heather, who is Managing Director and principal shareholder of executive search company, Taylor Bennett, has spent years sourcing and placing talent across both the private and public sectors, and recently published Mrs Moneypenny's Careers Advice for Ambitious Women. This is an essential session for anyone wanting to understand how to get the most out of their CV and land the job they really want.

This session is most appropriate for Returners and Switchers

10.30 - 11.15am

Starting a business in a few simple steps

In this fun and practical session, successful entrepreneur Alex Ritchie will guide you through the basic steps of starting a business covering everything from making a solid plan and creating a brand to setting up an office and managing staff. This session is perfect for aspiring entrepreneurs who want some fundamental advice at the start of their exciting albeit slightly frightening journey toward becoming their own boss. This session is sponsored by Vonage.

This session is tailored for Entrepreneurs

10.30 - 11.15am

Who do you think you are?

This interactive workshop addresses the issues around mums getting back to work after a career break.  You don't lose your values, aspirations, and ambitions just because you've had children, but perhaps need to find different ways to achieve these. This session aims to help you understand the values and beliefs that drive you, in order to begin to work out what you want to achieve and how to make it happen. Whether you want to get back to a previous career or start something completely different – or simply need a kick start to make that initial decision – this workshop presented by The Pickle Shed co-founders, will give you the tools to find your purpose as a working mum.

This session is suitable for all delegates

11.15 - 11.45am

Morning Break and an opportunity to visit the Sponsor Lounge

11.45 - 12.35pm

How to make your career click into place

Join Zena Everett, one of Mumsnet's favourite careers and coaching experts, for a session to help you achieve your career goals. Together you’ll look at what the concept of 'career' means to you and examine questions such as – what is important to you about your working life and what can get in the way of that?  How do you make your work more meaningful and how can you get better work more quickly?  Exploring how you should describe what you have to offer in this digital, highly competitive market, and giving tips on how to define your own expertise - this session will show you how to move your career forward and make your hopes and dreams a reality.

This session is most suitable for Returners & Switchers

11.45 - 12.35pm

How to bounce back when your confidence has hit the floor

You've spent the last year or, even looking, looking after children. You can't imagine what it's like to walk into a professional environment looking and feeling good, but you're ready, willing and want to get back into the swing of things at work - you just need a boost! Join experienced impact coach and speaker Esther Stanhope to learn how to find the time to get into the right frame of mind for entering the world of work again. She'll help you find your inner confidence and help you understand what will make a positive impression with employers and colleagues. Plus, learn how to make body language speak for you - and lots more!

This breakout session is suitable for all delegates

11.45 - 12.35pm

Fundamentals of starting a business – everything you need to know

Starting a business can be the most exciting and liberating experience but also more than a little daunting. To help you on your way, four experts who have either started or helped start successful businesses will impart their essential tips on going freelance and setting up on your own. Drawing on a blend of practical tips and personal experience, this session will cover the absolute fundamentals of starting a business covering everything from registering your business with Companies House and opening a business bank account to identifying your customer and hiring an accountant. Brought to you by Barclays, the day's headline sponsor, expect to leave with a list of invaluable advice every entrepreneur needs to make their business a success.

Featured experts:

Caroline Pullich,Barclays Head of Business Relationship Banking, North East of England
Kerry Gilroy, Co-founder, And So To Dream
Hannah Martin, Co-founder, The Talented Ladies Club

Chaired by Alison Perry, Not another mummy blog.

This session is tailored for Entrepreneurs

12.35 - 2pm

Lunch // A chance to visit the Sponsor Lounge

2 - 2.50pm

Taking the plunge

Starting your own business can feel like one of the most terrifying things in the world, especially during a period of economic uncertainty. But, arguably, there is no better time to start your own business than now. The hardest thing is taking the plunge and knowing how to do it successfully. During this session you'll hear from four fantastic entrepreneurs who done just that and made it work, including pottery guru Emma Bridgewater, Little Dish CEO Hillary Graves, and former winner of the Apprentice, businesswoman, mother, and Creative Director of Start Up Loans, Yasmina Siadatan. Chaired by Sally Peck

This session is sponsored by Start Up Loans

This session is targeted at Entrepreneurs

2 – 2.50pm

10 Steps to Better Networking

According to some estimates 80% of jobs are never advertised, instead are filled through word of mouth and recommendations. So how do you break into this hidden job market and discover jobs that no one else knows about? This session – led by Helen North, Careers Coach from Inspiral Development, will help you get the career you want by improving your approach to networking. You will leave the session with 10 practical steps on how grow and manage your network of contacts to work for you.

This session is applicable to all delegates

2 – 2.50pm

Tackling your fears, doubts and guilt

Do you find yourself plagued by fears, doubts and insecurities when you think about going back to work? Do you feel guilty about leaving your family and lack confidence in your own abilities at this stage of your life? This session – led by Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould of Women Returners – will focus on recognising and tackling some of these common anxieties, to help you to feel more positive about returning to work and able to move forwards.

This session is suitable for Returners

3 – 3.50pm

Social Media Masterclass

Expert trainer and all-round social media whizz Daisy Griffith leads a masterclass to help you sort your Twitter from your Tumblr. This session will reflect on the social media revolution of recent years and give the lowdown on all major social media platforms. If you’re looking to use social media channels to grow your small business, or maybe you’re returning to a marketing or comms role and want to update your skills, or you simply want to know how to make LinkedIn work for you – this session is a must.

This session is suitable for all delegates

3 – 3.50pm

Returning to work after an extended career break (2+ years)

Returning to the workplace after an extended absence can be daunting, no matter how successful you were in your former working life. Are you wondering how to explain your career break, how to reignite and develop your networks and where you can find an interesting job that can fit with your family life? In this session Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould of Women Returners will help you to develop your career story and to identify practical steps you can take to find your route back to work.

This session is most relevant for Returners

3 – 3.50pm

How to command the room & present a more confident you

You’re ready for 'The chats over coffee' that will get you back into your career. This is when you HAVE to shine and ooze confidence but honestly, you feel like a sack of potatoes. Don’t fret – this high octane session with Esther Stanhope will show you: How to be credible and compelling in the first 3 minutes; what kind of research you need to do ahead of time, and how to craft and deliver a compelling message (you’ll learn the art of the sound bite!)

This session is most suitable for Returners & Entrepreneurs

3.50 – 4.20pm

Afternoon Break

4.20 – 4.50pm

Closing Keynote: Jo Malone

We’re delighted to welcome fragrance entrepreneur Jo Malone to deliver the closing keynote speech at Workfest. Jo is a household name who built her first business, Jo Malone London, from artisan beginnings – running a skin care clinic from home. She grew this to a multi-national business which she sold in 1999 to Estée Lauder Companies. She has continued with her passion for fragrance, launching her new business, Jo Loves, in 2011 to great acclaim.

4.50 – 5pm

Closing remarks and thank you