It’s easy to say you are a purpose-led company but we knew from the beginning that this is in no way enough and that we would need to learn and decide how to make purpose tangible for Shake It Up Creative. Our previous post and subtle changes to our website show that we are increasingly becoming more purpose-led. It fits very well with why and how we started and we’re continuing to work on the entirety of the messaging and execution for, and within our company. Part of this involves talking to individuals with purpose-driven organisations and also reading books like Superengaged by Nikki Gatenby and The Participation Revolution by Neil Gibb. We are also drawn to articles exploring what it means to be a purpose-led business such as those written by Denyse Whillier, a business consultant who supports purpose-driven business owners. One of her articles inspired this post which talks about some of the ways we are making purpose tangible through our behaviour and how we communicate it to our existing and potential design and marketing clients.
In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 goals for a better world by 2030. One of the (several) Global Goals we align ourselves with is gender equality.
“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
“Political, economic and social equality for women will benefit all the world’s citizens. Together we can eradicate prejudice and work for equal rights and respect for all.”
As female founders working in the tech and digital sphere, and as mothers to both boys and girls, gender equality is very close to our hearts and hugely important to us. This is reflected in the type of individuals and organisations we associate ourselves with and do business with. It also influences the choices we make when it comes to public appearances, networking events and speaking opportunities. Furthermore, we are increasingly being recognised as influential leaders and advocates for women in business.
Here are a few ways we are doing this:
Although we often attend networking and business events open to both men and women and find great value in this, it is important for us to also support groups that are passionate about helping women to grow stronger and build more profitable businesses. Meg is a member of the Athena Network which is the leading international networking, training and development business club for female executives and entrepreneurs. As part of this group, we are able to support and champion women in business in addition to doing business with female-managed organisations. We also love the 9% event established and run by Georgina Burrows. She named the networking events for women after the current UK gender pay gap and gives a platform for inspiring women who have achieved success in any industry to discuss the highs, lows, pitfalls and tips for the top. It is important for us to attend events like these, support their directors, invite others to join in and include Shake It Up Creative at the forefront of these conversations.
If you Google ‘lack of women speakers’ you’ll find pages of search results with articles from the likes of The Guardian, The Drum and Forbes, to name a few, asking why there are so few women speakers or apologies from conference organisers for not including women speakers, especially in the tech industry. The best conferences for us are ones where there is a balance; not heavily weighted one way or the other when it comes to men and women attendees and speakers. Unfortunately, this pervasive age-old problem of not having as many female speakers as there are male speakers at tech conferences is a reality. Perhaps because the stats reveal that only 5% of tech startups are women-owned or that female executives only make up 11% of the total at Fortune 500 companies.
We want to help change this for the next generation of companies by attending and speaking at national and international conferences where and when we can. Putting ourselves forward as speakers or accepting invitations to take part on conference panels helps shift the balance and communicates our values to our client base, collaborators and business associates. We are putting our beliefs into practice.
Our company has grown-up in the presence of a local group called WorthingDigital, founded and run by developers Mark Ford and John Dalziel. Meg is now on the committee of this group and its members are very keen to raise its profile amongst the diverse digital and business community of Worthing and surrounding areas. We have been involved with this group for a number of years as attendees and collaborators; Rachael has given talks at their events and we’ve been regular supporters (we designed the WorthingDigital logo and help out when needed with artwork and marketing advice). To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, we are helping to organise a WorthingDigital lunchtime talk, the first of its kind for the group and one that aims to help bring #BalanceforBetter to an inclusive and supportive group. This event is open to all and we are very excited to launch the first of what we hope will be many WorthingDigital lunchtime events.
So, in a small but significant way, we are helping to embed gender equality into the cultural fabric of traditional institutions and this is part of what drives us as women in business and as a purpose-led company.
We hope this helps you to see how to make purpose tangible – how we are starting to do it at least. We’d love to hear about some of the ways you’re showing purpose for your organisation – please let us know in the comments.
Meg Fenn, Director of Shake It Up Creative