Updated: May 21, 2021
I've launched a business!!!
Her Mark. is officially live, and I am so excited. Over the last year, I have been bubbling away with ideas, developing programmes, running taster sessions to gather feedback, and I've undergone professional development, learning and honing in my skills. The ideas for Her Mark. started way over a year ago, and the ethos and fundamental practices of the business are something that I feel I've been doing for as long as I can remember. Only now though am I bringing my love and passions together to support others in one place.
Her Mark. will provide support and programmes for women, by women, offering bespoke and holistic services that are tailored to females and their individual needs. I'm so passionate about supporting others, offering advice and opportunities, and bringing people together. Her Mark. will provide female led coaching through one-to-one coaching and small group coaching programmes, mentoring for women, by women, events showcasing and celebrating the achievements and work of females, and retreats with other female producers and businesses providing well-being support, and the time and space we, as females, need to grow, develop and achieve.
Why is Her Mark. needed?
At different points in my life I haven't wanted or needed CPD programmes or training for my career, but I have known that I had areas of work and life that I wanted to improve and learn about. I wanted a professional, non-judgemental 'friend' who I could honestly confide in whilst having someone who I felt I could relate to and be inspired by. But, I found it so hard to find someone! I looked towards my network and felt that either their working relationships were too close to my own, or that I would be asking too much of them. That was when I did a Clore Residency and trained as a coach with fellow Cultural Leaders. It was then that I fell in love with coaching. I loved being the coach as well as coaching others. The role and the way the coach listened and provided the right questions at the right time guided me through some of the most challenging behaviours and barriers I was facing. I had never experienced it before but it felt so natural to me. Coming out of the training I continued to find it hard to find someone who could provide this for me and I knew there was a gap. Through my friends and colleagues, I knew that I wasn't alone.
Through coaching and mentoring I wanted to overcome my own barriers and in doing so I realised that I wasn't alone. A MASSIVE thing that I have struggled with in my career is imposter syndrome. Like so many other women, I have felt like I have need approval from others to take the seat at the table, which I have worked so hard to get. Every women I have spoken to about this has the same reaction, 'me too!'. Along with that, I know that I share similar feelings to other women of not feeling 'enough', being too hard on myself, comparison of myself and others, and have struggled (still do) with body image. These feelings over the years have made me feel inferior and I've struggled with my worth. I know I am not alone. As women, we are judged for what we look like, whether we have or don't have a career, whether we have or don't have families, whether we have or don't have marriages.... I could go on. It's bollocks! It's the patriarchal society in which we, unfortunately, still live in. It's a society that still tell you that you need to be slim to be happier and healthy, that those in relationships are superior, and that there is such a thing as 'having it all'. 'Having it all' isn't a thing FYI, it's not physical or even emotional, but thanks to decades of marketing campaigns that started in the 1940's, post war when women where able to work and have families, women (notice here not men, and wait until you hear what was marketed to them....) have been told that if they had a certain kitchen appliance their lives would be easier and they could go out and work and feed the family at the same time. They were told that if they bought a certain face cream, not only would they be more attractive (usually in a certain ideal imposed on them by men) but they would be more successful, and so on and so on. At the time, those companies would have been headed up by white men, and the lack of diversity in the industry shows that the majority of them still are. So still, we are surrounded by these lies.
I felt like I couldn't talk to my male colleagues in the same way as I could with my females ones about this. In my personal life, even though my male partner is incredibly empathetic to these feelings, he has no real life experience of them.
I have started Her Mark. so that we can challenge back unequal gender systems, bringing women together to acknowledge the challenges we all face, giving everyone a platform to discuss them, not apologising for them but talking about them to empower themselves and other women. Throughout history and in different cultures, women provide council to one another. They raise families and each other, and Her Mark. has been developed to provide time, space and these platforms for women to break these societal boundaries imposed on us, and to achieve more than we ever thought possible. Your goal or your barrier may not be because of your gender, but together, with other women, Her Mark. can help you develop, grow, achieve and, if you need be, to overcome.
Why on International Women's Day?
International Women's Day is so important in regards to acknowledging all of the incredible work that has come before and helped us to date. Enabling and improving the lives of many women. However, it also gives a day each year to raise awareness f the challenged and inequalities women still face. It made sense to launch Her Mark. on International Women's Day given everything it stands for, however I'm passionate about ensuring these conversations and the work that needs to be done doesn't just get profiled one day of a year. Women, everywhere, should be celebrated and empowered all year round. The vision I have for Her Mark. is that we can make real, life long changes for women, supporting each other all day, every day and cheering you all on from the side-lines as you grow, overcome and achieve. being involved in calendar events and anniversaries is important, but it can mean that there is a hiatus of conversation and then it dies down. Her Mark. has launched on International Women's Day, but it will do it's work all year round to support and celebrate the lives and achievements of women everywhere.
About the name
I wanted a name that when you read it, you know it's for women. There needed to be a word in it that had meaning around what it is to be female or identify as female, or a noun that is used to describe women. At the same time, I wanted something that told the story about the impression we make, the differences women together and individually create, and nod towards my background in the arts and making marks as we go. The full stop was purely a design feature created by our incredible graphic designer, Lucia Harry, who created our logo (and I agree with her, it looks much better with a full stop!). 'Her Mark.' was created.
What to expect
I have so many ideas for Her Mark., but there's only so much I can do now, on my own and during lockdown, but here's where I see it going and my grand plan thus far -
Her Mark. will grow and respond to the needs of those I work with (women and those who identify as women), including different communities and ethnicities of females, as well as those at different stages of their lives. I want to develop a network of female coaches and mentors who can provide support for others, so that they can reflect and best support those who need it. I want to gather a network of female nutritional advisors to support women at different junctions of their lives with the nutritional support we need. Whether it's a puberty, pregnancy, pre / during / post menopause. As well as inviting women to come on our books as freelancers to provide this, we will provide training programmes to train other women up to be coaches and mentors, ensuring that our bank of professionals are diverse and represent the intersectionality of communities, backgrounds and needs of all women and those who identify as women.
Coaching and mentoring programmes will be provided (anyone surprised by this?), which are available now to sign up to. For the personal sessions, I will start the conversations off by helping you identify what your goal, or goals are, as sometimes it's not always clear. We'll also explore the roles of mentors and coaches and find which is best for you. You will then be matched with someone who will inspire and represent you and your needs. The group coaching sessions, known as Action Learning Sets, are available to sign up to now. Over a period of three months, we will meet virtually every other week, and together you will be taken through a facilitated set of questions within a framework to help you move forward and tackle the issues you may be facing and wanting to improve on. It may be that you have different circumstances, stresses or worries at each session, or you may want to work towards one goal. Together, as a group we will provide a nurturing and supportive space, facilitated by myself to guide you through. You in turn, will develop a solid group of female supporters and be able to network with peers and develop professional and personal relationships that can help you stay accountable to your actions and provide the support you need. In fact, I'm recruiting for my first Action Learning Set, so if you're interested email me today for more info.
Given my background as a Creative Producer, I can't not have a programme of creative events as part of Her Mark. The arts and creativity provide so much resilience, share the world around us and bring people together. As and when we can, with social distance requirements, I will develop a programme of;
- Breakfast Clubs for women / those who identify as female,
- Networking and Talks with inspirational women / those who identify as female who have overcome their own obstacles and challenges,
- Exhibitions of work by female / those who identify as female artists and those working in the creative sector
- And, live events, including spoken word nights.
I would love to run these in partnership and collaboration with others, so if you'd be interested, please let me know.
Finally, my plan is to also run a couple of retreats each year. These will be weekend long retreats in rural and beautiful settings, providing the scene and environment needed to bring women / those who identify as female together. Through these you will be given space and time you need within a nurturing programme of support including yoga, food and nutrition advice, mentoring and coaching. You will leave the retreats with clear goals and ways forward in developing them and yourself.
What difference do I want to make with Her Mark.?
Her Mark. will provide the platform, programme and time needed for women, individually and as a community to make their own mark and achieve their own goals, whatever they are. Goals are so personal to us, and in fact they might not even be a 'goal'. It might be that you want to start your own business, or it might be that you want feel clarity in what you're doing. Or, it might be that you feel you have everything in line and in a way you want it, but you want time to be resilient, develop extended networks and give back to yourself. Her Mark. will be there for you and give you what you need in your time of need. I want to support others, encourage them and empower them. If I can help do that, then Her Mark. will be achieving it's aims.
As well as supporting individuals, Her Mark. I will campaign for the equal rights of women, including calls to action around diverse representation in certain professional sectors, gender pay gap, and societal pressures on women. We / I will speak openly about these, using Her Mark. as a platform to encourage others to do this, and gathering voices of those who go unheard. Her Mark. will support those who are also working towards and campaigning for the equal rights of women everywhere.
Want to get involved?
Please do! This is about us all as communities, not just me. I want women to join me as coaches and mentors, artists and facilitators. Everyone working for Her Mark. will be paid fairly for their time.
If you'd like to collaborate on an event or a retreat then email me! I'm looking at starting these this Autumn, so planning for them will begin over the next few months.
Tell others about Her Mark. I know, like me, there are women out there that want professional support but don't feel like they have access to it. Please tell them about Her Mark. by sharing our website or sharing our instagram profile. Sign up and subscribe to get blog alerts and become an advocate for other women and their achievements.
Tonight, on International Women's Day 2021 and the launch day of Her Mark. I will be raising a glass of bubbles celebrating women everywhere. We have come far, but we still have a very long way to go until we are equal in society and each others eyes. Together we can make that difference and through Her Mark. I will do all I can to make that so.
Thanks and happy IWD2021!