Conduit Summer Event Blog

Last night was the second Conduit event, a new group for women working in publishing looking to connect. Natasha Lunn, journalist at RED magazine and founder of Conversations with Love was in conversation with Laura Jane Williams, author, journalist, speaker and broadcaster. It was a warming and motivating conversation, with very real observations on life, success and dreams.

Laura is the author of two non-fiction books and her first novel Our Stop is coming out this summer. Laura spoke very openly about how the experience of releasing her first book, did not feel how she thought it would. It was the dream for her, and found that once her dream had happened it left nothing else to look forward to. Laura also spoke about getting graded in life throughout education, but in the working world we lose that – how do we establish we are doing well?

Women are often taught not to step outside the box, and to not to ask for too much. Laura asked us to be brave with our lives and share our negative experiences to, in turn, get others to be brave with theirs. Share our stories, there’s enough to go round. We can sometimes have a scarcity mentality, if something good happens to a colleague, it can happen to you as well. There’s a lot of good to go round! It is our obligation to have a great time before we die; we were not put here to suffer and prove ourselves.

The definition of feminism has also changed, before it was thought you have to embody masculine energy to succeed at work. Laura says we do not want to see women behave like men, but we want to encourage more feminine traits in men. You don’t have to be at the office 24/7, you can love what you do but leave at 5. It can get to a point where you are not producing your best work, if you are overdoing it. Push boundaries for what you’re allowed to want.

Laura also encouraged openness in conversations; talk about what’s happened to you, you never know when other people are going through the same thing. Empower each other, not everything is brilliant all the time, but when it is you can celebrate each other’s successes. You may be going through a winter period but you can still enjoy the sunshine from someone else’s summer period; your summer may then be to come. Laura also mentioned the Chinese Bamboo theory of Success – bamboo grows underground for 7 years, and has to be watered every day before it shoots up. You never know what you have been watering every day.

One particularly powerful comment was that if you cannot get a seat at the table, build your own table. How do you do this? Don’t be afraid of failure, a ‘no’ is not the end and it does not kill you. Know what you want, you owe yourself the adventure of curiosity. How do you know your favourite flavour unless you have tried them all? Empower each other to go out and try things. If you’re trying to work out what it is you want and want to try, Laura suggested an exercise; take a load of magazines, look through them and rip out anything that appeals to you. Afterwards, group them into themes, and have a look at what is coming through. Natasha tried it and ripped out photos of the sea, so realised she’d like to live beside the seaside. What might you find out?

It was an inspiring event with lots to think about afterwards. We look forward to what Conduit will bring next!