The second SMART Women conference took place on Monday (June 23rd) celebrating the achievements of more than 200 women who have taken part in the project over two years.
SMART, a £750,000 project run by Cornwall College Business that received Objective One European Social Fund and Learning and Skills Council investment, aimed to encourage more women in Cornwall into advanced positions in business.
This year’s conference was opened by Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership Office and patron of SMART Women. Keynote speaker was the highly successful entrepreneur Dr Glenda Stone – previous European Businesswoman of the Year, founder and CEO of the 30,000 strong Aurora Businesswomen’s Network and Co-chair of the Government’s Women’s Enterprise Taskforce.
Ms Kelemen said:
“This project is a major opportunity for many women, both employed and self employed, to further their professional qualifications whilst strengthening their personal development. As well as educational challenges women who took part in this project brought their own unique set of skills and life experiences to share with others. The SMART women network will go on long after the project closes.”
Dr Stone challenged the audience to step up their aspirations and make more money, more profit. She said “Your journey is to move from low money and high work levels, to high money and lower work levels”
Her presentation also emphasised the benefits of the work life balance and said that businesswomen in Cornwall were well placed to achieve this, partly because of the widespread availability of broadband.
“With broadband technology it doesn’t matter where you are, it is OK to run a company internationally from home. That is brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”
The event also included workshops lead by 30 seminar speakers representing organizations including the Chartered Management Institute, The Leadership Studies Centre at the University of Exeter and The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, as well as local businesses, Coodes Solicitors, Worldwide Financial Planning and Jump Media. In addition, Carleen Kelemen discussed the Convergence Programme and its opportunities for the women of Cornwall.
Jennifer Atherton, SMART Women Project Manager said:
“This massively successful conference celebrated the fantastic achievements of the women in this great county. Through the conference and the SMART Women Project we have proven that, given a small nudge in the right direction, your possibilities are endless”.
The SMART Women Project was the first of its kind in the country, combining a personal development course with business skills training. A total of 216 women undertook the SMART Women course, studying either the nationally recognised Chartered Management Institute qualification or the Institute of Directors Toolkit Series. 135 women, the majority of whom were employed or ran their own business, gained their CMI qualification and 40 completed the IoD Toolkit.
Glenda started out as a teacher in the Australian outback before working in the Queensland Cabinet Office and the Treasury. After moving to the UK, she worked in international trade and investment before embarking on her own venture. In 2000, Glenda founded London based Aurora, an impressive 30,000 strong women’s business network which also provides direct recruitment for blue-chip companies at wheretowork.com. Glenda is married with one son, holds a Dip. Teach; a B.Ed; an M.Ed and an honorary doctorate from Leeds Metropolitan University.
The SMART Women project ends on Friday (June 27th).