Nathalie Buckley Coconut, Lyndsey Hancock EWiF
New to Coconut, and new to franchising, we sent Lyndsey Hancock and Nathalie Buckley (also new!) to their first ever franchise event. Here, Lyndsey shares what she loved about attending the BFA’s EWIB conference!
The British Franchise Association (BFA) celebrated a decade of empowering women with a remarkable event to encourage women to come together to make new connections in a welcoming, safe space for women across the business landscape to be their authentic selves.
Stepping into a space buzzing with women in business was a revelation for me. In many of my past workplaces, the word “mum” carried a stigma, and discussing family, wellbeing, or personal priorities seemed almost unthinkable. Yet, surrounded by this incredible community, I found an environment where openness and vulnerability about the shared experiences of being a woman, mum, sister and friend were not only welcomed but celebrated.
These remarkable women aren’t just successful in the professional realm; they understand the crucial need for balance. Juggling work life, home life as a parent or partner (sometimes both), and prioritising self-care and mental health are values they hold dear.
Jane James’s story particularly resonated deeply with me. Her powerful message urged us not to bow to the pressure of doing it all on our own until we break. Her “Positive Circles” approach, emphasising balance, nutrition, sleep, and exercise, struck a chord, inspiring me to evaluate my own life. Jane’s personal journey through a breakdown showcased remarkable resilience, making her a true advocate for mental health and personal growth.
Rebecca Newenham’s talk on “Finding Connections” was another highlight. She addressed the self-imposed pressure women often struggle with, hindering progress toward their goals. The profound simplicity of the statement, no is a complete sentence, echoed in my mind. It served as a powerful reminder to set boundaries, even when the instinct is to say ‘yes’ to everything.
- Pip’s Personal Journey: Making Moments Count
EWIB kicked-off with an inspirational talk by Pip, who courageously shared her personal story, making herself vulnerable and open to her audience. Her narrative underscored the importance of seizing the moment and cherishing every second of our lives.
- Harpreet Kaur: The Apprentice Winner 2022 Turned Business Coach
Harpreet shared her experiences of balancing work, her personal life, and upcoming wedding. She’s transitioned into a business coach and mentor, inspiring others to pursue their dreams.
The Magic 6 Speed Sessions:
- Emily Price: Coaching, Collaboration, and Confidence
Emily, from the BFA, discussed the power of coaching and collaboration, drawing from her own life-changing experiences, including a world challenge activity which helped her overcome shyness and build confidence.
- Anne-Marie: Authentic Self and Advocacy
Anne-Marie, from diddi dance, emphasised the significance of authenticity and advocacy in building trust and connections. Her message: be open, share your real self, and stay true to who you are.
- Jane James: From Rock Bottom to Positive Circles
Jane, from “Little Voices”, wowed us with her opera singing, and shared her remarkable journey from hitting rock bottom to creating her “positive circles” method of self-care, mental health awareness, and personal growth.
- Lucy Campbell: Finding the Key to Self-awareness
Lucy, from Right at Home, spoke about self-awareness, challenging self-imposed limitations, and celebrating progress. She delved into the science behind women’s risk aversion and offered strategies for overcoming it.
- Vicky MacQueen: Team Playing and Superpowers
Vicky, from “didi rugby”, emphasised the importance of teamwork and how everyone’s unique superpower, contributes to a cohesive team as a whole. Her message revolved around having fun while being part of a team.
- Rebecca Newenham: Building Connections That Matter
Rebecca, from “Get Ahead VA”, highlighted the significance of building connections and nurturing existing relationships. She emphasised people remember you for how you make them feel, not for material possessions.
- Sam McAlister: The Power of Self-belief
Sam McAlister shared her incredible journey of how she, among many other impressive achievements, “How to Convince a Prince” whilst working at the BBC as a producer on Newsnight through self-belief and tenacity. This led to a Netflix movie starring Billie Piper, and two books!
- The Expert Panel: Professional Insights and Motherhood
The final panel session featured industry professionals and mothers: Amy Cridland (Macdonald’s Restaurants), Farrah Rose (The Franchising Centre), Gillian McAteer (Citation), and Susie McCafferty (Platinum Wave Franchising). They answered questions based on their wealth of experience, around running a franchise business, and motherhood.
- Enoila Aluke: Athlete, Champion, and Lawyer
The grand finale featured Enoila Aluke, a double FA Women’s Cup winner and three-time Premier/Super League champion, who’s had an impressive career both on and off the field. She’s also a qualified lawyer.
The enveloping lesson from the day was clear: each of us possesses a unique set of skills with powerful strengths, including the art of connection and empathy. And the call to be our authentic selves echoed throughout. It was a day brimming with positivity, filled with inspiring stories and the presence of strong, confident women who genuinely support and cheer each other on.
As I reflect on this experience, I carry with me the encouragement to embrace my uniqueness, set boundaries unapologetically, and connect authentically with those around me. EWIB served as a testament to the strength that comes from unity, the power of shared stories, and the empowering support that exists within a community of like-minded, remarkable, women in business, leaving us inspired, empowered, and ready to “Make Moments Count”.