Having started my first job in the digital sector a few months ago, I was delighted to be able to attend the BBC Fierce Women in Media event in Leeds on the 6th March 2019.
The event brought female industry leaders together from the digital and creative sectors for a series of talks and workshops, all aimed at inspiring women to follow a similar career path.
I arrived at the Northern Ballet early in the morning and began the day with a cup of coffee whilst chatting and getting to know the other women attending the event. Following a chance to chat and network, we were brought into the main studio where the event kicked off with a series of talks from accomplished female journalists, presenters, writers and social media experts.
To begin with, we heard from BBC documentary maker Ellie Flynn, who told us more about what it’s like to work as an undercover investigative journalist – including having to wear disguises to avoid being caught out as a reporter and how she dealt with interviewing some potentially very dangerous people.
Then Lauren Mahon, BBC Podcast co-host of “You, Me and The Big C” and founder of GIRLvsCANCER gave an incredibly moving and honest account of her personal experiences with cancer and how speaking about the illness helped to normalise it.
All of the speakers gave crucial insights into how much work it can take to succeed in their chosen career paths and the challenges that awaited them – from facing rejection on a daily basis to dealing with imposter syndrome (as well as how they carried on in spite of these). They also spoke about how working in roles that may, on the surface, seem completely irrelevant can be crucial in cementing your future.
In the afternoon I decided to break off from the main event to take part in some of the workshops that ran through the day.
I first attended a social media workshop led by Jo Booth from Social Media Makes Sense, then went to a “How to Instagram” workshop taught by BBC trainer Elaine Wilson. I even delved into podcasting with award-winning radio journalist and producer of ASFB Productions, Clare Freeman. The range of workshops on offer made choosing difficult, and the skills I learned in these workshops will prove incredibly useful. I cannot wait to use them in my day-to-day work.
Leeds is a well-established media hub that is continually growing, with northern bases which include the BBC, ITV and Sky – and more recently it has become the chosen location for Channel 4’s national HQ. As a proud Yorkshire lass, I believe that there is no better place to start your career in digital. I look forward to seeing more events like this in the future!
All photographs by Jodie Beardmore.