06 Jun 2024
by Meat Business Women

Courage & Confidence: Insights from MBW's UK & Ireland conference

Confidence is a theme that we cover time and time again. Because it’s clear that whilst the Meat Business Women community is made up of incredible professionals who are doing fantastic work in their companies (yes we’re speaking to you!) confidence and self-doubt crop up again and again.

In a recent survey, 65% of our community said that they feel moderately confident at work, whilst only 16% feel very confident and 18% said that they don’t feel very confident.

We know that confidence isn’t built overnight, and it takes courage to step outside of your comfort zone. Reflecting on some of the many key learnings from the Meat Business Women UK & Ireland conference, in London, our speakers had a great deal to say on the topics of confidence and courage that we had to share…

Turning self-criticism into self awareness

Steve Murrells, CEO of Hilton Food Group’s message was clear: Trust in your capabilities, even when you have doubts. Women can be much more self-critical but this will also make you aware of your blind spots, which is a great skill in a leader. Steve’s advice was to try and turn that critical voice into self-awareness and harness that in our leadership style.

"My advice to all of you is that when you have those doubts about your own ability, ignore them. Trust in your own ability that what you're trying to do is right. Don't give up and keep pushing on.”

Because becoming self aware and being a believer in your ability to reach your goals and make change for good means that the business will become much better as a consequence.

Courage to Find Your Purpose

Tiffanie Darke, Interim CEO of Smartworks Charity shared findings from Smartworks Unemployment Index which looked at the primary driver for women seeking employment. “And it wasn't what you think it is. It wasn't money. The number one reason those women gave was that they were seeking purpose in their lives" says Tiffanie.

Tiffanie encouraged us to have the courage to reflect on what truly motivates us and to seek roles that fulfil our purpose. What drives and motivates us? When do we feel happiest and most fulfilled? What are our non-negotiables?

We spend a huge amount of our lives in the working world, so aligning our role with a clear purpose and knowing that we’re doing the right thing for ourselves can bring with it a real confidence boost

Courage to Know When You Need a Break

Ruth McDonald, Corporate Services Director at Morrisons spoke about the critical importance of recognising when our energy levels are depleted. "It’s not a weakness to recognise that actually some of those tough things we do every day take it out of us.”

We all know the challenges of working in a high-pressured, fast moving industry. “If we're dealing with crisis, one on top of another, or having those confrontational conversations, or dealing with things we don't have knowledge and experience of.”

Taking necessary breaks to recharge and knowing when to step back is not a sign of weakness, but a strength which can help to build our confidence in putting boundaries in place between work and home life.


Courage to be yourself

Do you bring your true self to work? It takes real courage to be ourselves, particularly in challenging environments.

Zara Mohammed, Secretary General of The Muslim Council of Britian’s had a phenomenal story to tell around the power of authenticity and shared the importance of “communicating who I was very effectively."

Often, it feels the easy option to sit back in a meeting, because you’re unsure if you’ll say the wrong thing, or not speak up with an idea. But Zara emphasises that we need to embrace what makes us unique and have the courage to “create a new space” for ourselves by communicating who we are authentically.

Be More Dog…!

Yes, really! Jodi Goldman, Personal Impact Coach led one of two fantastic workshops with a powerful reminder about the importance of maintaining a positive outlook and the value of curiosity in networking. (Think a dog’s excitement when they see you come through the front door at the end of the day!) “They don’t think ‘oh I might get rejected here’ or have any self consciousness. They are excited to meet people, are curious and they just expect the best.”

Her advice was to always assume the best and be open to new connections and opportunities. And if things don’t work out the first time, have the confidence to brush it off, and move on to the next opportunity with a refreshed outlook.

The event was a powerful reminder of the incredible strength, resilience, and leadership that women bring to the meat industry and we were lucky to hear some really fantastic insights incredible speakers.

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