First WiP webinar highlights community

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The Patrons Panel – the inaugural webinar of the refreshed Women in Print network – was oversubscribed and well received by all attendees. It delivered a strong message around the importance of community and support in the current Covid-19 crisis.

Long live print, it will flow forever in my veins: Natalie Taylor, NSW Patron of Women in Print, departs the industry

All current patrons of the newly registered Women in Print (WiP) entity were in attendance – Susan Heaney (QLD), president of WiP; Sandy Aspinall (SA) vice-president; Natalie Taylor (NSW); Kirsten Taylor (VIC); Marisa Symrneos (SA); and Lisa Blachut (WA). The discussion was ably facilitated by Kellie Northwood, CEO, The Real Media Collective.

To set the context, Susan Heaney shared her story on how the network originated, and why it is important to the women in the print industry. Heaney said when she started working in print, she found that often she was the only woman at an industry event and realised there was a gap to create an opportunity for women in the industry to network, and through that to build their self-belief and confidence.

Despite detractors, Heaney related, the network launched and was an immediate success, with 650 attendees at events in the first year, numbers that have been maintained ever since.

Panel facilitator Kellie Northwood, CEO, The Real Media Collective.
Panel facilitator Kellie Northwood, CEO, The Real Media Collective.

Northwood turned the discussion to the four pillars that form the framework of the newly rebranded Women in Print entity – Knowledge, Community, Support, and Network – asking the patrons to comment on each in turn.

Kirsten Taylor (VIC) said, “Knowledge means empowerment, and from empowerment comes growth. Our network has an abundance of knowledge, and resources, and the more we share that the better we can be together.”

Marissa Symrneos and Sandy Aspinall (SA) addressed the topic of community, noting that, though WiP already enjoys a strong sense of community, there is room to grow this “to provide an opportunity for all voices to be heard and shared”, for all women to feel comfortable and welcome, to create an environment that nurtures self-belief, that would in turn strengthen the WiP community.

Aspinall also spoke about an exciting programme for mentors and mentees that will be kicking off soon, creating an opportunity for mentors with specific knowledge and expertise to assist with the professional development of mentees.

On the topic of support, Lisa Blachut (WA) said WiP is all about inclusion, connection and real engagement, in both a professional and a personal sense. “It comes naturally to women to nurture; we connect with our hearts, minds and souls.”

Blachut reminded all members that there was an open invitation to get involved, and said there are many ways for women in the industry to participate and support the patrons and the community.

Natalie Taylor (NSW) was tasked with speaking about her favourite pastime, networking, but ahead of this Northwood told those WiP members who had not yet heard the news, that Taylor is leaving the print industry after 25 years to start a new venture in the hospitality sector. Northwood said it would be a big loss to the industry (a sentiment shared by many of the webinar attendees who sent messages to Taylor), and thanked Taylor for the passion she had always shown for Women in Print, for her ongoing advocacy for women, and for her friendship to so many in the industry.

Taylor said she will always remain passionate about the female voice and spoke of the tremendous value of networking for growing the Women in Print community.

“Long live print, it will forever flow through my veins,” she said.

Taylor concluded that in these challenging times, when events can’t be staged, there are other ways to engage as a community (this webinar being a case in point), and she echoed the overarching sentiment of the panel: now more than ever we need to reach out as a community, to show support to women in the industry who are impacted by the current crisis.

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