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Northern Women in Leadership Conference

The Great Hall


Shaping Futures: Northern Women in Leadership 2019

In a rapidly changing commercial, professional and economic environment, the North is facing change, uncertainty and ambiguity. With change, comes opportunity. Organisations need people with the talent, skills and expertise to support the future. Northern Women in Leadership conference will debate these issues and how women in leadership roles will contribute and help shape the future. 

Attending the conference will offer delegates ways to:

Shape their organisational future

The conference will cover:

• The importance of strategy, recruitment, retention and diversity

• The role of leaders in challenging assumptions and managing across generations

• Ways to recognise the skills gaps and how to renew the skills and competencies of future leaders

• How to work across boundaries, with multiple, diverse stakeholders

Shape their individual work future 

Developing women in leadership roles has become a vital organisational goal for business success. This conference will:

• showcase a range of career journeys for women 

• provide examples of ways to access and develop leadership roles 

• debate the need for greater authenticity in leadership 

• address the challenges around the need for more inclusive styles of leadership to meet the expectations of a multi-generational workforce 

• enable participants to clarify, confirm and promote their leadership values 

Shape regional, national and global futures

The conference will address:

• Live local, act global issues

• Ways to position business in the North 

• Reflect on the importance of Place for people working and living in the North

This conference, the first of its kind in the north of England, is brought to you by Northumbria University. With its vision to Take on Tomorrow, Northumbria University is a research-rich, business focused professional institution with a global reputation for academic excellence, with particular expertise in the areas of leadership and management, gender, and sustainable work futures. Supported by Entrepreneurs Forum and Federation for Small Businesses, the Northern Women in Leadership conference provides a dynamic environment to help business leaders to be inspired and to connect with others, harnessing the experience and enthusiasm from across the North. 

In addition The Headshot Guy will also be at the conference for those who want to update their professional profiles.

Participants will gain: 

• A greater  awareness of how women leaders in different organisational environments and sectors optimise their roles 

• Insight into the different ways that women are navigating the challenges and opportunities as they face the future

• Practical strategies, tools and techniques that you can incorporate in your own working context 

• Guided reflection on how to create and promote an authentic self-narrative

• New networks


9.30am: Registration

10.00am: Conference Start

4.30pm: Close

4.30pm - 6pm: Networking 

Conference Speakers

Our workforce future

Speaker - Abigail Pogson, MD Sage Gateshead

Abigail Pogson took up the role of Managing Director of Sage Gateshead on 5th May 2015, succeeding the company’s founding General Director, Anthony Sargent CBE.

Abigail was born and grew up in Yorkshire. Following a degree in Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University and an MA in Cultural Management at City University, she began working in the arts. Combining a commitment to developing artists and supporting them to create great work with a passion for ensuring that the arts can be accessed by as many people as possible, she has worked for English National Opera, Music Theatre Wales and the Society for the Promotion of New Music.

In 2007/8 she was a Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme. She joined Sage Gateshead from Spitalfields Music, a charity based in east London. Serving the local area with the highest quality music in two annual festivals and a year-round Learning and Participation Programme, Spitalfields Music enjoys an international reputation for its quality, reach and innovation.

Theme Description

The commercial and professional environment is changing more rapidly than ever before. Organisations are now more mindful of attracting and retaining the best people with skills and expertise that will drive the future of the organisation – even if the future is not yet clear.

Leaders are visualising a future and who they need to achieve it: as organisations lead the next generation of innovations, leaders must ensure a continuous renewal of skills, expertise, and competences. Setting the tone for the future, valuing and developing particular skills and expertise not only presents a significant leadership challenge, but it may challenge staff and their sense of professional security in their known world.

This session will challenge current assumptions about managing across generations and suggest other ways of framing the leadership challenges many of us are facing.

Leadership in the North

Speaker - Marie Mohan, Chief Executive Common Purpose UK

Marie is the CEO of Common Purpose UK, a global not-for-profit leadership development organisation, specialising in cross boundary leadership. She has a track record at Common Purpose of bringing leaders together to tackle complex social problems, to understand collaborative working and to develop their ability to Lead Beyond Authority. 

Marie Mohan She is on the Board of Edinburgh Napier Business School and on the Council of Manchester Cathedral. 

Originally from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, she has lived in Manchester for over 25 years. Educated at Queen's University Belfast, Marie also has an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Manchester. She has three children - her son introduced her to the joys of football and she is now a Manchester City FC season ticket holder.

Theme Description

In this interactive session, Marie will be asking what it takes to be an inclusive leader, capable of crossing boundaries and working with multiple, diverse stakeholders.  

She will also reflect on some of the findings of Common Purpose’s 2018 Leadership of the North survey which revealed a considerable skills gap between what people wanted their leaders to be and their perception of the reality of that.  

Watch Marie discussing Northern Women in Leadership here

Leadership Challenges: Re-framing Organisational Politics.....for good

Speaker - Shona Marshall

Shona Marshall is a learning, OD & talent development specialist who has a passion for nurturing talent and harnessing the power of people to drive company performance.

Shona Marshall With over 20 years corporate experience, she has gained a reputation for having an inquisitive yet challenging approach to enable individuals to be the best they can be. Now, as an independent consultant, she is enjoying being able to satisfy this passion by working with others who have a similar focus and drive to deliver meaningful and sustainable behaviour change. In addition to running her own business, Shona also spends time supporting girl empowerment programmes, volunteering on various international teaching assignments and it would be remiss not to mention her prosecco and (quality) chocolate obsession!

Theme Description

This interactive and practical workshop will show how diversity, unconscious bias and leadership style are intrinsically linked. You will explore how these can positively contribute to navigating your workplace and its politics.

You will develop a stakeholder analysis through the lens of power and influence, explore the impact of informal networks within your own organisation and identify ways to build your own connections which increase your sphere of influence.  We will dispel the perception that organisational politics are a necessary evil.

Watch Shona discussing Northern Women in Leadership here.

Styles of Leadership

Speaker - Elaine Warburton OBE,  CEO QuantuMDx Group

Elaine is CEO of British life sciences, tools and diagnostics company QuantuMDx Group.

She is an entrepreneur with over 25 years’ healthcare and biotechnology experience with an eclectic background in nursing, genetics, chartered accounting and running hospitals. Elaine has taken QuantuMDx from concept to product raising around $50m in both equity and grants. She has overseen strategic collaborations with established Life Science companies, blue chip academic organisations and NGOs. She was awarded an OBE for services to innovation in healthcare in 2014.

Theme Description

Leadership is no longer an exclusively senior manager activity which is offered to the few based on their management skills. Being able to take on a leadership role is expected as and when required and is likely to be included in most job roles throughout the organisation.

Leading is part of what most of us do for at least some of the time. Achieving success in the task is often easier than taking on a successful leadership role.

This session will explore the challenges of stepping up, stepping back and maintaining authenticity as a leader.

We will also debate the role and impact of location and local culture on leadership and organisational roles

Leadership Presence

Speaker - Harriet Minter, Journalist 

Harriet is a journalist and women in leadership advocate. She focuses on a variety of issues relating to women, the future of work, media and diversity. She has written for publications including The Guardian, The Times and The Pool. She has a monthly column in Psychologies magazine and is the host of Badass Women's Hour on TalkRadio. She is a regular speaker on women’s rights, organisational change, workplace diversity and just getting stuff done. 

Theme Description

During this final session of the conference we will work with you on demystifying the practicalities of leadership.

We will consider ways to develop the approach to leadership you aspire to. We will discuss ways you can create a compelling narrative about yourself promote your vision and values. We will also debate the challenges of leadership and identify strategies to support your leadership style to meet the demands of your professional context.

Watch some of Harriet's talks at Tedx Events here and here.

*Please note the conference schedule could be subject to change. (This conference carries 7 hours of CPD)




Event Details

The Great Hall
Sutherland Building
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne


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