OUR LEAN IN STORIES

We continue collect stories of our members who inspire us each and every day. It seems that there is no lean in challenge that is beyond us, with good support from all of us. If you’d like to share your lean in story with us, please get in touch.

We’ll post stories regularly – here are a few to get us started.

Please feel free to send us your stories to help inspire others! 

#EveryoneHasAStory

Lean In Stories

Leaning In With The Women Of Belfast

Joining a thriving global movement.

By Louise Brogan

I first heard of Lean In last autumn/fall when a co-working space I was based in, were hosting a networking morning for the ladies of Lean In Belfast. I was pretty intrigued to find out a bit more, as I have always championed women in business, and having a ready made network to join sounded ideal.

I joined a local Facebook group, not really knowing much about Lean In except that it was started by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg. As with all of these things, it’s only when you actually read the book yourself, you can make your own mind up. As I had some free time while we were visiting my in-laws in Australia over Christmas, I downloaded the book onto my kindle and started to read. I couldn’t put it down! It is written in a way that makes it really easy to read — lots of great real-life stories about women stepping up.

Everything in the book resonated with me. From my first job in Software Engineering back in 2000 when a senior (male) member of staff told one of my colleagues they had employed more women this year ‘to make the place look pretty’ to the frustration I had felt in my Project Management role where I wasn’t able to progress my career because I had chosen to work part time around my family.

When I got back from my trip, I was fully ready to really Lean In!! Brilliant timing as the Lean In Belfast circle was launched in collaboration with AllStateNI last week. There were women there from all different jobs and businesses, stay at home mums and even some men :). Lean in Belfast describe

GAYLE ALEXANDER LEAN IN STORY...so far

I joined Lean In Belfast at the end of  October 2016 on the recommendation of my outplacement mentor, Glenda Nelson (thank you).

At the start of 2016 I was about to return to work from my second maternity and had a few weeks prior to this,  broken my foot.  Needless to say returning to work on a new fewer hours contract in this predicament was difficult, not helped by a reduction in responsibility and numerous changes in working practices to get up to speed on.  Shortly after, the company I worked for, announced major restructuring and I found myself redundant by the end of the summer.  By this point I found myself experiencing major up and downs, devoid of any confidence or self-esteem and lost as to what to do next, when it was suggested I could contact Nuala.

After just my first couple of meetings with Glenda and talking with Nuala, I felt like I had gone through therapy, with a small glimmer of hope and a shard of confidence edging their way back in.  I signed up to the hub and introduced myself and also, I meet with a few other members to volunteer and help with the running of the group and at the same time up-skill to gain experience in marketing, a long held desire of mine.

With some trepidation I met these ladies and from there, the feeling of hope blossomed even more inside me  The genuine welcome, offers of support, willingness to help me on my change of career path, was a revelation to me and I can truthfully say, I felt on top of the world for the first time in quite some time.

I now find myself working part time on a voluntary basis with a start up company I was introduced to by Nuala, to gain marketing experience, studying MOOC online courses to supplement this, as well as working on the Lean In Belfast newsletters and new website.

I am now on a new path with more confidence and hope and it is exciting, so for this I would like to say thank you to Glenda Nelson, Natasha Walsh, Fiona Quigley, Lisa Strutt, Nuala Murphy and my husband for supporting this crazy journey.  Bring on 2017 and let's see what we can achieve together.

 

......to be continued. 

SINEAD AND HER MENTOR LEAN IN TOGETHER

I joined Lean In because it was recommended to me by my mentor.

I had reached a transition point in my career…I was on maternity after my second baby, and knew I was ready to make a change and wanted to start a business. I was thinking about focusing on coaching and developing women, and knew if I was going to take that step out of the corporate world I would need people around me, as I’m used to working with lots of people and go slightly crazy alone! Lean In has really helped with my confidence to take the plunge. Ironically, at my first meeting I delivered a session on confidence.

Why lean in Belfast is different.

It’s different to other ‘networks’, it’s hard to describe, but it feels more sincere. In other networking groups, the focus seems to be more on what you can get from it, this group feels like it’s about what you can give, and I think that’s what makes it so great. When everyone is so keen to give, it feels safe and easy to open up, and the support you get in return is unbelievable. I’ve not just felt able to make that step, but know that I can reach out and ask for help and it will be there. This is a fabulous group of women, and has cemented for me that a business helping women is the right thing to do…so now I’m doing it with my business partner Fiona. I never thought I could have gotten this much from the experience, but I’m so grateful that Anne suggested it.

Sinead is a Leadership Career coach and trainer.  You can learn more about Sinead in our team bios.

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