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4 pieces of advice every woman in events should hear

March 15, 2023

In a post written for International Women’s Day 2023, the team behind DTX + UCX, organised by Women in Exhibitions corporate member Clarion Events, share their four pieces of advice for women in events.

In the events industry, the true flow of time comes secondary to show dates. Which might explain why we’re always surprised another year has passed when International Women’s Day rolls around.

Admittedly, our go-to activity is to shine a spotlight on some of the female speakers who grace our DTX + UCX stages, but we thought it was only fair to give some behind-the-scenes insight too.

We decided to ask four members of our team to share the advice they’ve found to be the most impactful in their own careers in the hope it inspires others.

 

Say yes to the things that scare you and trust your own abilities

 

Maxie Smit, Brand Marketing Manager, DTX + UCX Portfolio

“I found that I lacked confidence in my career a few years ago and this was holding me back. My female boss at the time encouraged me to venture out of my comfort zone and say yes to things that scare me. She stressed that showing vulnerability was not a sign of weakness and in fact it’s something that I should embrace.

With the support of my boss, I started to throw myself into tasks and situations that I wasn’t sure I could handle. But it helped boost my confidence massively as I soon realised I could do things that I never thought I could.

That small nudge was what I needed to start trusting my own abilities and judgements.

I’m currently reading a book by clinical psychologist, Dr Julie Smith, who states “When you are trying to build self-confidence, it’s a process of building self-acceptance, self-compassion and learning the value in vulnerability and fear.”

This resonates with me as instead of fearing discomfort, I’ve learnt to embrace it. It’s important to put yourself out there to learn more about what motivates you and what your strengths are. This can help you grow professionally and personally.”

 

Challenge the traditional ways of doing things and know it’s okay to fail

 

Natasha Taylor, Head of Research & Portfolio Development, DTX + UCX Portfolio

“One of our speakers once told me how his biggest successes came from taking risks in the spaces where others were complacent. He was a natural challenger of the status quo.

As my career progresses I’ve found myself becoming more risk-averse, often aware that women face more bias against failure (something that is especially true for women of colour).

But I do wonder how many opportunities for success I’ll miss if I don’t remain willing to lean into failure, take a chance on a new idea or try to build a new skill.

I try to remind myself that every time I have made a misstep or followed the wrong course, the lessons learned from getting back on track have been invaluable.

My advice to others (and myself) would be to allow more room for trial and error. And to give other women the grace of failure we more easily give to men. There is bravery in trying something completely new and challenging traditional ways of thinking and we need to support more women in being comfortable to do so.”

 

Understand the value that you and your individual experience brings to your role

 

Daniela Dos Santos Virissimo, Senior Event Operations Manager, DTX + UCX Portfolio

“My advice for people starting out in their career is to think about what they bring to the table.

Your background, life experiences and challenges can sometimes be a bigger source of skills and resilience than education and work experience.

It’s important to consider how your contribution fits within the bigger picture. This in turn makes you feel more valued within your role and gives you a more analytical view of your strengths and where perhaps improvements can be made.”

 

Remember that you are in control of your own mindset, even if you can’t control outcomes

 

Tanya Cooper, Commercial Director, DTX + UCX Portfolio

“There have been many inspiring people that I have come across in my personal and professional life, both men and women. There have also been many that have had the opposite effect!

The trait that has influenced my career thus far is honesty, empathy and trust and this has always led to a positive working environment. We spend more of our life at work than at home and so we must be in a job and conditions where you can thrive and be happy.

Obviously we can’t control difficult clients and colleagues that are having a bad day but how we deal with it can affect the outcome. As Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

 

With this in mind, my advice would be, stay true to yourself and trust your gut instinct. You won’t always be right but there will always be an opportunity to listen, learn and grow in every situation. But most of all, be in a place where you can feel at home all the time.” Our upcoming theme for DTX + UCX Manchester (17th-18th May) is “Together we transform” and we truly believe this will be the key to long-term gender parity. As IWD rightly recognises, opportunity is not enough to bring forward equity. In every industry, all genders need to come together to support, champion and listen to underrepresented voices, and not just on IWD but every day as well.

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