Tom Keighley

Bdaily meets…Girl Geeks

Bdaily was at Friday’s inspirational evening of top class speakers and networking hosted by emerging social enterprise, Girl Geeks.

Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central and Shadow Minister for Innovation and Science, and Lorraine Heggessey, former chief executive of Talkback Thames, and former Controller of BBC1, both delivered fascinating insights into their careers, with the aim of inspiring other women to aim for success.

Speaking of her upbringing in the west of Newcastle, Chi told the audience of her determination to become an engineer, and the route which brought her to more recent roles in politics.

Chi spoke of the prejudice she had faced on her accent, but also focused on the international travel that had characterised her career before bringing her back to the North East.

She encouraged other women to be “bloody minded” in pursuit of their career aspirations, and discussed how government should support entry into engineering and technology professions for young people.

Lorraine Heggessey wowed the audience with anecdotes from her time as BBC1 controller, commissioning such iconic programmes as Strictly Come Dancing, Dr Who and Animal Hospital.

She talked of her beginnings as a junior reporter in London, before her manoeuvres through broadcasting production jobs to senior level roles.

Commenting on the differences in men and women, Lorraine said: “Generally, I think men go for jobs two years before they are ready, whereas women will go for jobs two years after they should have done.”

Her words intended to encourage women in the audience to step out of their comfort zones, and pursue opportunities that they may have thought were unattainable.

She said: “There was many instances in my career where I felt as though I wasn’t ready, or didn’t have the right skills and experience, but it is important to have confidence in yourself.”

Lorraine’s talk also touched on her family life, and raising children at the same time as developing her career.

More information about the work of Girl Geeks, and future events can be found here.

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