Women with Metal

Women with Metal 2023

It’s been 7 weeks since the first Women with Metal event and the 2nd edition of this sell out conference has already been booked top take place on 29 October 2024.

Kirsty is increasing the size and scale of the event and has booked a hall at the ICC Birmingham for year 2 with the ambition to almost treble the event’s size.

Overview video from the first Women with Metal event.

Interview with Kirsty

I caught up with Kirsty last week to have a chat about the first event, and what’s planned for the year ahead.

Pete (P) : So now you can sit back and reflect on the first event, how do you feel it went?

Kirsty (K) : Well, in a word, it went ‘well’ (laughs). It took me by surprise just how invested and engaged people were about the event so I’m hugely excited about the future of Women with Metal

P : You turned this idea into an event very quickly, do you think working to such a short time frame helped?

K : At the beginning It didn’t really seem like a short time frame but quickly I learnt that I knew nothing about event planning and it did become quite hectic in the last weeks before the conference. Luckily I had some really good people helping me, and I love an Impossible deadline!

P : So you’ve got a regional event planned about ‘Goal Setting’ that Steph Snade is presenting. What are the plans for this type of event, and are you looking to take the event to different locations around the country?

K : There are lots of once a year events, but I think there is demand for networking and personal development that is more frequent than that. The smaller events will be more focussed than the annual event, and this will allow smaller groups to have more discussion with the presenters, and we will have different topics and different presenters depending on where we are In the country. In 2024 we’ll be doing at least three regional events, and we plan to stick to this going forward.

P : I’ve recently spent a week at an event similar to the event that you’ve just created. Are you planning on extending the event so that it can run over multiple days and allow for more networking and workshop style groups?

K : That is the plan Pete. For year two the event will be one day, but we’ve booked the ICC so we can seat around 300 people. So we’re going to try and grow the event significantly from year one and then we’ll get feedback from the attendees to see if there is demand for a two day event with the smaller group sessions which will allow more choice for those that are attending.

P : 300 people, say it quickly and it’s not that big…Do you think you can fill it?

K : Yes. And If I don’t then I am going to personally lose a lot of money. I want to make sure that we encourage more men to attend and also people from other Industrial and professional sectors. This year we didn’t just have people from the metals sector we had lawyers and someone who runs several businesses

Including a catering company. So whilst I do want It to focus on the metals sector there will be great content and return on Investment for everyone attending again.

P : Something that surprised me was the volume of Q&A after each speaking session. Are you worried about the larger size auditorium for next year’s event and how that might impact the debate?

K : Yes of course. And one of the ways I will be getting round this is to use software where each delegate feedback anonymously In real time during aspects of the presentations. We will have roving mics as well and hopefully a mixture of the two will work.

P : Immediately after the event you said you wanted to ‘Fabricate the Future.’ So, how are you going to do that and what’s going to be new for next year?

K : I say a lot of things In front of the camera that sound good and then I have to turn them Into a reality. I should know better by now! For me this is about equity and benefitting both men and women In the workplace and also the company they work for. If the employees and employer are all happy then that’s the future we want.

I have several speakers I am currently talking to about next year and one of the topics I want to focus on is burnout and how to recognise and combat this and part of that Is learning how not to take work stress home.

P : Finally. Apart from Rob Cooper and I, there weren’t any other men in the room. What are your thoughts on Men attending these events

K : I think it’s incredibly important for men to be there to learn how to be good allies. One of the things that I want to turn is help facilitate conversations where men can ask ‘am I allowed to say this/ask this?’ Quite often they do want to support and be an ally, but they aren’t sure how to do this. It is very important for women to be in the majority as within our industries we are usually one of only a few women In the room and giving a safe space to talk and relate to each other was Incredibly powerful.

P : Well good luck with it Kirsty, I’ll see you in January.

K : Yes you will, and keep an eye out for the December newsletter which will be full of great content.

I recorded a short roundup of the event which you can find here:

Highlights from the first Women With Metal Event

The Next Event

If you can’t wait until next year’s main event then you can catch up with Kirsty at the first regional event in January.

I’ll also be attending this first regional event which will take place on 23 January 2024 at the Hilton Gardens Inn Birmingham.

The ‘Goal Setting Workshop’ will be hosted by Steph Snade

If you’d like to attend you can use this link to book a ticket.

Podcast

We’ll also be getting Kirsty on the other side of the microphone in January 2024 when she’ll be featuring on our podcast The Metal Guys Talk Business

Amongst a number of talking points we’ll get a lot more insight into the future of this event and the regional events that she is planning to run alongside the annual conference.

For more information on Women with Metal check out the website here.

Thanks for reading.

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