Croydon women gather to get down to business

Pic: Chloe Hirst

Croydon is now home of business networking group, 1230 The Women’s Company, where women will meet monthly to talk business.

Launched in 2002 the company sets up meetings across the UK for businesswomen in the local area to meet and network.

The first meeting was held Friday 12 October in Mamma Mia Restaurant in Croydon. Despite only 4 people attending, members said it was “a really useful meeting”.

Guest speaker was Sonia Thomas, of Sonia Thomas Coaching, who specialises in marketing strategy and works with women who want to develop their career. She said: “I help women who want to progress, get noticed and get promoted.”

Thomas said she has helped over 4,000 women over the past seven years.

She devised an exercise where the members had to give a small speech about their business and what they do, and then provided constructive feedback.

Fiona Coppard, who is a nutrition and weight consultant, achieved her qualification in Nutrition and Weight Management while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Now owner of S.M.A.R.T Nutrition and Weight Management, Coppard works with clients to develop personalised eating plans and exercise routines. She said: “The plan covers 5 days of a healthy lifestyle routine- with a couple of days off. It’s important to have balance.”

She added: “You can’t be a goddess about food, life’s just not like that.”

Thomas’ feedback focussed on Coppard using her personal skills to market herself, and told Coppard: “You seem non-judgemental, people will buy into your kindness.”

Antoinette Dale Henderson, owner of Zomi Communications, offers training in communication and confidence. She said: “We developed a project called The Gravitas Factor. It’s about identifying personal strengths and learning how to present yourself.”

Thomas discussed the significance of using the first person pronoun “I” rather than “we”. She said: “It’s your company, your idea, you are at the forefront. Don’t be afraid to talk about you.”

Despite the small numbers attending the meeting, members were upbeat and confident that the group will grow.

Networking events for women in business may play an important role in society. A recent BBC documentary showed that only 17% of senior management roles are occupied by women.

The gatherings provide an opportunity for women to exchange contacts, get advice and support from fellow businesswomen seeking to progress in the male-dominated workplace.

For more information about women in business read this EastLondonLines article about the increasing number of female professionals starting their own businesses.

1230 The Women’s Company meetings will take place on the second Friday of each month. Go here for more information.

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