Honestly, networking is not my favourite topic and I find it can be something that falls down my list of priorities as a result. However, undoubtedly some of my most successful career moves and business results have come from building a network of strong relationships.
Kat Higgins @ 9-2-3 Jobs Manchester
As she's based in Manchester too, we thought we'd shoot over our quick fire #nothernflex interview to Kat who's heading up our NEW office there who tells us all about her ideal working week and what she loves about the City.
1. Tell us a little about you?
I have lived in the North-West all of my life and adore Manchester. It's been amazing to see how its changed over the years. I'm a mama of two and a fiancée to my long term partner and I am blessed to currently work virtually shouting about 923 and flexi-working across Manchester but overall it means I am around for my family - here to wipe the tears (or bums) when I need to and not to miss out on those precious memories.
2. Your fave spot in Manchester?
It has to be Spinningfields. There is nothing nicer than nipping to an outdoor bar (when the sun is out) and having a drink or two.
3. How would you describe your ideal working week?
Doing what I am doing now! Working around my family and when I am most productive.
4. Fave Manchester band/song?
I have a few favourite Manchester bands from the Stone Roses to Elbow to Oasis. But the song closest to my heart is Oasis 'Live Forever' as it reminds me of a dear friend of ours that sadly passed away.
5. Why does flexible working appeal to you?
Because it makes me and so many others happier. Work no-longer feels like a chore but somewhere I can use my skills effectively and to the best of my ability. I have the best of both worlds - work; where I feel challenged and rewarded, so I am always going to go the 'extra-mile' and home; where I can be everything and more to my beautiful family. Happy employee, happy employer!From a childcare perspective - it also saves us money!
If you’d like to reach out to Kat to get more information about working/ employing flexibly in Manchester, please contact her at email@example.com
Some people may shudder at the thought of networking, I for one used to dread this situation…how do I start a conversation, ask the right questions, do I hand over a business card?
I can honestly say that the more you do these events, the more confident you’ll become at simply being yourself and ultimately representing your own brand, better than any other tactic you may have going on in your head.
Here at 9-2-3, we have seen many women come together over a cup of tea, share (sometimes very emotional) stories and even come away with the prospect of finding a new career for themselves.
In a day where technology is king, it’s sometimes so nice to actually talk in person to one another about a shared view or topic.
Here’s a fab article that highlights just how important it is to go out and network, especially when you’re a Mum.
So…what exactly is the 9-2-3 Club?
You may have heard us mention the 9-2-3 Club so here’s a little low down on what it is and how it became what it is today…
The 9-2-3 Club aims to enable women to connect with one another, and be inspired by others who might be able to help further their ambitions.
We line up a variety of speakers:
- from those campaigning for more women on boards of big businesses
- to those who are successfully running their own business
- and HR directors working for progressive companies who are looking to recruit flexible talent
Some meetings will take place at the offices of big businesses, which will give members the valuable chance to step back into a workplace environment - and realise it's not scary - it's actually quite exciting!
The big launch!
While launching The 9-2-3 Club at The House of Commons I called on all businesses to advertise their next hire as a flexible one and called on all candidates to ask about flexible working arrangements in their next interview – not a demand, just a question.
As anyone who’s spoken to me will know – I’m passionate about flexible working, and I was thrilled with the support The 9-2-3 Club had at its launch. Representatives from businesses – big and small – along with candidates (those who have had career breaks and those who haven’t) plus others, such as Digital Mums, who like me, are campaigning for a more flexible workplace.
The launch wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Victoria Prentis MP, who sponsored the event. She said: “Having job shared before I became a MP, I am really supportive of any initiative that encourages flexibility in the workplace. It is not just mums and dads who have career breaks – increasingly we are seeing people taking on caring responsibilities for elderly relatives as well. Helping these talented professionals to continue to work is so important.”
I was also delighted that Margot James MP (Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility) came along and spoke passionately about the benefits of flexible working – for both employees, employers and society as a whole.
It’s funny to think that all this started a few years ago, while I was pushing my children on the swings at my local playground….
I had been struggling to find any flexible or part-time work, and I looked around and saw I wasn’t alone. The playground was full of talented and experienced professionals all looking for flexible opportunities. And at the same time I realised there were lots of businesses out there struggling to find the talent they needed to help their business thrive and grow.
The 9-2-3 Club will be holding their next (and possibly biggest) event on the 12th September 2018 where we will be encouraging business leaders, employees and in fact, everyone to work flexibly for one-day #LetsAllFlexTogetherDay. We’re lining up some brilliant speakers and panels so do keep in touch and keep an eye out for more news on our website and social media pages! You can register for a free ticket here or join in online on the day....how?
If you can't make it in person, why not join some of our panel discussions! We'll be providing a link (and times) on the day so that you can view these from your laptop! We'll even be hosting a Facebook Live so that you can ask questions to the panel when the live Q&A happens. Why not join in the conversation and tell us how you're already working flexibly (and all its benefits) and post/ tweet/ comment these using our #LetsAllFlexTogetherDay hashtag, we'd love to hear your opinion and photo's would be GREAT!
Haven't tried flexible working before?
This is your perfect chance to give Flexible Working a go for one day! Let us know about it online if you do!