International Women’s Day Celebration

‘When women support each other, incredible things happen’.

This was more than just a tagline for our latest event – it was the reason we had one in the first place.

Last Friday, on International Women’s Day, Vale Domestic Abuse Services partnered with a group of local women business owners who wanted to create a space for women just like them, to come together, to learn from each other and to support each other towards greater success.

Absolutely every detail of the event – from the free use of the venue space at Goodsheds, to the speakers, to the many businesses that generously donated raffle prizes and discounts – was arranged using the collective power and support of women.

And what this collective power brought about was a day of incredible empowerment, shared knowledge, joy and togetherness provided for free for women from the local area.

In the morning, we were joined by 15 women for a beautiful wellbeing and empowerment session facilitated by Ruth John of Reset With Ruth. The survivor-centered session took us through meditation, grounding and breathwork – it was an incredibly moving and uplifting way to start a day of sisterhood and solidarity.

In the afternoon we were joined by 35 women, from various different business backgrounds in the local area, and we heard from four incredible women about their journey towards running and owning a business.

Cassandra Bodington, founder of Success House Coaching, was our first speaker. Cassandra shared her incredible story of juggling self-employment and parenthood, as well as imparting invaluable advice to women business owners present. She reminded us to choose our own goals rather than modelling ours on someone else’s, and to break them down into mini goals to make them less daunting and more achievable. Cassandra also talked about the importance of women being vocal about our challenges and not being afraid to ask for help – because that help and support does not show weakness, it shows realism and a willingness to overcome challenges.

We then heard from Stacey Grant Canham of feminist fashion brand, Black & Beech. Stacey recently took the daunting step of quitting her ‘safety net’ job to run her business full time – and it was a calculated risk that has massively paid off – she now has the creative headspace to grow her business, expand her offering and reach new markets. What an inspiration!

We also heard from Rupali Wagh, entrepreneur, accountant and co-owner of a burgeoning street food business, Tukka Tuk. Rupali’s vast array of business experience – from hospitality to catering to cruise ships – makes her a well of valuable business insight. She reminded the women in attendance to trust themselves, and trust their values, because that way lies meaningful success. She also emphasised the importance of telling your own story to help people understand you and your values and what you are trying to achieve.

Finally, we heard from our own Vicky Friis, Chief Executive of Vale Domestic Abuse Services. Vicky drew parallels with the conversations of self-doubt and vulnerability to the experiences of the survivors we support and the courage it takes for them to come forward for support.

The connections made through the day, the support and encouragement shown to one another was truly phenomenal – a perfect way to mark International Women’s Day.

The day’s events couldn’t have happened had it not been for Ruth John and her steadfast commitment to empowering survivors, as well as Ashley and Helen of Box Edit Boutique and Lois Nolan of Annie & Lolo, both based in Goodsheds, Barry. Ashley, Helen and Lois saw a real value in creating a welcoming space for women business owners, whilst supporting a local charity like ours that provides support and a safe space for survivors from throughout the Vale.  

We are truly bowled over with the level of support and solidarity we received on International Women’s Day. We can’t wait to do it all again!

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