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Connecting women at the top with the next generation of leaders

Danielle Barwick, lives in Essex and works in London. She is the founder of the Until Proven Otherwise network.

I would describe myself as the girl who starts a new diet every Monday. The girl that attempts to create a monthly expenses spreadsheet on the first of every month. And the girl that on the 31st of December decides to evaluate every holiday, credit card statement and heartbreak I have experienced in the last 365 days.

I then go onto writing my plan for the next five years. But I don’t think I am alone and the only woman that does this.

Striving for more

I see myself as being an average working woman. My dad is a postman and my mum works in an admin role for the NHS, so some would say I am from a working-class background.

I have found myself continuously striving for something better in every aspect of life. I think this is due to the fact we now live in a world where social media is so powerful and expectations are high. This has had a huge impact on me as an individual, which in a way I dislike.

Losing my confidence, then getting it back

I have always been very career-driven, and so did the thing I was supposed to do and went to university, completing both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree.

On completion of these, I expected to find my dream job, husband and buy my first house. Instead, the opposite happened and I ended up in a job I disliked, surrounded by self-doubt and in a lot of debt.

I ended up working for a company with only men in positions of power and I lost all my confidence. At the time I felt confused and undervalued and started to accept that maybe it’s only men that can reach the top.

But then I found a women’s network which changed my whole perspective.

Connecting women

Since then I have made it my mission to attend as many events and join as many female-empowering networks as possible.

Read more: Why we set up Generation Tribe

This was great but I still felt as though I (personally) wasn’t helping others. There was still a gap between women that are successful and women that wanted to be. I made it my mission to bridge the gap.

Someone once said to me knowledge is only powerful when shared and so I felt that the advice women in power could offer could be incredibly valuable to those more junior.

I decided to create a network connecting women in the marketing and creative industry (as this is the industry I knew most about) through a blog called www.untilprovenotherwise.co.uk.

The aim of this is to connect those in the same position as me so that I can speak to, listen to, and relate to young professional women that have always had a vision of where they want to get to like me, but sometimes feel that this becomes lost in everyday life.

Looking ahead

This is still a new project for me, however, I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received so far.

I hope this year I can host real-life events where women of all levels can connect and discuss their everyday issues (no matter how big or small they may seem).

There is a huge amount of material out there advising how is best to pursue your dream career and there are many self-help books out there, which I do appreciate, but I hope that my network can connect people on a real human level. I truly believe in women supporting women.

To find out more about Danielle’s work connecting women in marketing and the creative industry, visit: untilprovenotherwise.co.uk

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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