CAREER AND LIFE COACH ANIA JEFFRIES IS ON A MISSION TO INSPIRE INDIVIDUALS COURTESY OF HER REVOLUTIONARY WOMEN WORK EVENT WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE ASSEMBLY HALL THIS MONTH. HERE SHE TELLS EILEEN LEAHY ALL ABOUT IT AND HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
What does the Women Work day entail?
It is an innovative networking opportunity running on March 10 at the Assembly Hall for people to meet other likeminded, driven individuals. It’s an event that hopes to encourage individuals to ‘be bold, be you and be heard’. It aims to celebrate an alternative world where adversity is overcome in order for all – but especially women and the young – to succeed in a huge variety of fields, regardless of their background.
How will you do this?
By showcasing achievable role models (both male and female) and demonstrating their power and ability to influence another individual to take that first and all-important step in transforming their life. The day will be split into two with a morning and afternoon full of free workshops all run by expert volunteers where attendees can learn or develop multiple skillsets. The evening event, which costs £5 per person to attend, will be packed with inspirational speakers – including some well-known faces – with all proceeds donated to the Pickering Cancer Drop in Centre.
How did you come up with the idea?
I run a life and career coaching business and within this field I also work as a Progression Mentor for the Princes Trust. I am also an Ambassador for the Girl Rising initiative and help deliver mentoring programmes in self-belief and confidence in schools. I am passionate about supporting others to find their voice and reconnect with life so they can excel.
So you already have experience in this area?
Yes. Even though I work with people of all ages I have three passions: inspiring women and young people, supporting entrepreneurs and raising awareness of mental health. The springboard for the Women Work event was that I felt all these areas could be explored and incorporated into a workshop which would inspire individuals to firstly believe they could achieve anything in life with the right support and network, and secondly, provide them with the tools to take the next step to create positive changes.
Why do you think it is necessary to put on an event like this?
Quite simply to build strong relationships and partnerships within the community and to bring people together who would not normally engage. Another of the Women Work aims is to raise awareness of the most fantastic wealth of services and skills we all have available to us in Kent. We also want to offer opportunities for women whether they want to retrain or return to work. It’s about making them feel confident to know they can ‘walk the walk and talk the talk.’
Who are you reaching out to?
We are supporting women and young people of all ages – those who are out of work, those who have never worked, those looking to change or return to their roles or start up a new businesses – and also recognising the men that support us in the process. It’s also crucial that this event raises awareness of mental health in the community. We have to stop living behind glass doors and reduce the stigma behind it.
How did you go about recruiting the experts who will be guest speakers at the event?
I went out and started the conversation about what I was aiming to do. The response has been phenomenal with amazing people approaching me, wanting to be involved. It’s quite unbelievable to think that something which started off as a seed – I was originally going to do a tiny workshop of approximately 100 people – has grown into an oak tree with a potential audience of 1,000 at the Assembly Hall and lots of experts in their field participating.
How will you judge if Women Work has been a success?
If everyone just takes away one tip to create positive change in their life, then I will deem the event to have been a success and very worthwhile.
WHAT WOMEN WANT – Some of Ania’s key mentoring beliefs
Many people think that running a business is glamorous but success is based on hard work, resilience, determination and self-belief. In the USA failing is a badge of honour. In the UK, failure is linked to shame. We all have to fail in order to grow and I want to offer individuals the opportunity to network with other likeminded people, founders of businesses; individuals who can share their wealth of experience and offer tips for you to build a successful business, grow in confidence and self-belief in order to maximise your potential.
Love your Life
Parents play a huge role in influencing their children to ‘dream big’ and sometimes with the pressures of daily life you begin to believe you are not good enough; not successful enough; not beautiful enough. Life is about loving who you are, maximising your potential and being the best you can and our event will provide you with the tools to take that next step.
I was very lucky to have three mentors in my early 20s who impacted on my life hugely. I still have two to this day, one of whom, Chris Hughes, Chairman of Vistage.co.uk, was instrumental in advising me on my own business start-up, and I would not be where I am without them. They listen to me, share ideas, advise me on confidence, push me out of my comfort zone and most importantly, never judge me. Not everyone is as lucky, but that’s where I want to step in.
I’ve learnt over the last few years that transition is positive – especially if you have the right mindset. You can’t fight change, it will hit you whether you want it or not so just embrace it. My three children, as well as my husband, have all inspired me to believe I can achieve anything if I choose to. The hardest step was taking the initial decision to do something out of my comfort zone and reaching out to others for help.
I grew up believing that asking for help was a weakness, sometimes a potential inconvenience to others but organising this event has shown me that it is in fact a sign of strength. Through this process I have met the most amazing people, built partnerships with likeminded individuals and grown in ways I could not have imagined before. This might mean making a simple phone call I don’t really want to do but know I have to … such as asking for sponsorship for this event.
Rise to the Challenge
We are all built the same: we all have the same insecurities and moments of doubt. The difference is simply in our approach. I now have a daily mantra which is simply ‘do something each day which challenges me’.
Further info on Women Work: Tickets are now on sale from the box office at Tunbridge Wells 01892 530 613 or www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk