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WEA Women@Work Annual Conference 2014: Women in Public Life

WEA Women@Work Annual Conference 2014: Women in Public Life The conference was well attended and the feedback recieved was very positive.  Some of the comments are noted below

"Every session was useful, thoroughly enjoyed all your speakers!"
"This was a fantastic day and it was great to hear all the stories about people who managed to make huge changes to improve other people's lives."
"Very inspiring and emotional - it makes me appreciate I'm alive.  Thank you"
"The whole day has been excellent"

In response to the question "What will you use from today and how?" we received the following comments
" I will think about applying for a public appointment"
" I will be affirmative and assertive"
"Look for public appointment that is suitable"
"Motivated to get involved - not to blame too much work to do - get on and do"
"Taking a fresh look at what I am still able to offer since retirement"
and many more.

Rhoda Grant MSP spoke of her experience as a women in Public Life. Rhoda was born in Stornoway, brought up on the south shores of Loch Torridon in Wester Ross and now live in Inverness.  Rhoda has worked in both the public and private sectors in the Highlands and was also employed for a number of years with the public sector trade union Unison.

The aim of the conference was to inspire and facilitate women to participate in public life.  

What do we mean by "Public Life"?   
"Public Life" can be considered as an activity that is undertaken to benefit society e.g. making a contribution in a community whether in local community or at national or international level.   This includes the formal definition of Public Appointments as in influencing politics but also includes such activity as a volunteer member of a Board of Directors,  volunteer in sport,  Community Committee, charity organiser etc.

We are pleased to announce four speakers (including Rhoda Grant MSP)

Lorna Norgrove : Linda Norgrove Foundation.
Lorna will speak of her experiences including the setting up of the Foundation in memory of their eldest daughter Linda. Linda was an aid worker in Afghanistan, was kidnapped and subsequently died in a failed rescue attempt, Lorna and her husband started the Linda Norgrove Foundation in Linda's memory, to help women and children affected by the war in Afghanistan, a country which was very close to Linda's heart. Lorna was born in Lochinver and will be travelling to the conference from the Western Isles where she now lives.

Lisa Buchanan: Chief Executive, Cantraybridge College.  Lisa will speak of her experience in her role at the College. "Taking the lead: first time experiences as a female Chief Executive"
Lisa took on the role of Chief Executive at Cantraybridge College in July 2011 and has faced some important challenges in her role. Lisa will share what she has learned, how the organization recruited new Board members and how Cantraybridge is making a difference to the lives of young people with disabilities.

Mags Duncan: Principal Sports Development Manager, High Life Highland.  Mags holds the post is the which provides leadership for the development of sport in schools by way of the Active Schools programme as well as through very many coaches and volunteers.

In her personal life Mags coaches white water kayaking.  Mags  has recently passed the highest level in canoeing coaching (BCU level 5) and is the second Scottish woman to attain it.   She is an enthusiastic inspirational, expert on coaching women and has had a paper published on coaching women in a white water environment.   Mags is the Chair of the Scottish Women's Paddle Symposium which runs an event bi annually in Findhorn. The symposium is coached for and by women with the aim to help women paddlers reach the next level.  Mags is a UKCC coach educator for paddlesport, freelance for Glenmore Lodge and most importantly a mum of 2 children.    

There are 3 workshops being run in the morning and these are repeated in the afternoon.  They are
  • Learning about Public Appointments: "Take Your Seat on the Board"  This workshop will provide you with an overview of what public bodies and public appointments are, the opportunity to hear directly from a Board Chair about her experiences and a short exercise looking at how best to sell yourself as a potential Board member. This workshop will be run by Melanie - Public Appointments Officer (Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland), Anne MacLean OBE - Convener of the Mobility and Access Committee Scotland, and Tracey Finnigan - Diversity and Public Appointments Policy Advisor, Public Appointments and Diversity Centre of Expertise, Scottish Government
  • Illuminated Letters: A workshop to enable you to write an embellished letter to a woman you admire run by Glasgow Women's Library.  Since March 2013, Glasgow Women's Library and the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow have invited women across the world to write illuminated letters of love and honour to an inspirational woman. All the letters received will be exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art in March 2014. At these workshops, you can explore our treasure chest of gems, embellishments and other craft and writing materials and create your own illuminated letter. We can help you write it and you don't need any artistic or craft experience. We have compiled a list of 100 women, however, we would be delighted if you wish to write a letter to a local woman or another woman who has been important in your life. If your heroine is not on our list, it would be great if you could bring a picture and a short biography.
  • Moving Forward: Confidence in Public Life.   An Introduction to Life Coaching with Elsie Normington. An Introduction to Life Coaching with Elsie Normington. Elsie describes her story of learning to become an active lobbyist for disability and participate in public dialogue to secure better services for those who "cannot speak for themselves". She is an accomplished Life Coach, successful Community Development Officer and runs two large Singing Groups. She may touch on multi-tasking and work life balance! You will be inspired by her endless enthusiasm for life.

     There will be music provided by Green Ghosts a local female duo.

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