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Women In Public Affairs Networking-Autumn Drinks 2013

As proud sponsors since The WIPA Network’s inception in June last year, we have seen the drinks events held at many great offices, from Pagefield’s homely office near Carnaby Street to Weber Shandwick’s modern offices in Holborn and MHP’s off Great Portland Street. With a champagne reception at Bell Pottinger’s offices in Chancery Lane, The Women In Public Affairs Network Autumn drinks definitely got off to a flying start! Instead of the normal Networking, drinks, nibbles and speakers, last night’s event was a panel discussion, with great talks from Harriett Baldwin MP, Baroness Susan Kramer and Daniella Goldman, Director of public affairs and Government relations at Huawei Technologies UK. They all gave really interesting perspectives about how women can progress in the Public Affairs Field. Harriett Baldwin spoke first and gave an interesting insight into how an MP operates and the best ways to integrate yourself with MPs from a lobbying perspective. No EDM signing! Harriett had managed to avoid signing a single one since her term as an MP began in 2010 and she strongly lobbied against their use as constituents often misinterpreted their value. Another pointer was about events-. The worst events are those where no one is expecting an MP to turn up, it is heavily overcrowded and no one can hear a word anyone says! As for Party conference, Harriett said she was against one on ones unless absolutely necessary. Getting a one- on -one for your CEO was not something she was keen on! Next to speak was Daniella Goldman. Her insight was very interesting, with her advice focussing on knowing your subject matter thoroughly. She repeated this sentiment throughout her talk- with one anecdote about how, on her first chat with an MP, they threw her out of their office as her knowledge of her subject was not good enough. Lesson learnt the hard way, she re-iterated how knowledge is key and one way that women can successfully assert themselves in the workplace. Last to speak was Baroness Susan Kramer who spoke of her varied career as a stay at home mother, working in Financial Services and latterly in Politics, firstly as an MP before being made a Peer in the House of Lords. She spoke of how you are in charge of your own career path and to keep going no matter what. The need to turn negative points into positive was something she spoke very passionately about. The change in set up gave a fresh approach to the Autumn WIPA Networking and was a great way to get everyone in the mood for party conference season.

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