Words of wisdom: Ten top quotes from WISE 2019

On Thursday 28 November the women of the WISE100 network came together in London for a day-long learning event followed by an awards evening. It was an opportunity for the women to share experiences, learn from each other and celebrate their achievements. 

An event running from day to evening for women in the WISE100 network meant there was no shortage of wisdom and inspiration. 

From how to deal with imposter syndrome, to why women often feel pressured into telling their personal stories, the event focussed on ideas that were topical to women working towards positive social impact. The conversations seemed to throw up more questions than answers, but certainly had minds whirring and left attendees with lots of discussions to mull over. 

The Pioneers Post team members pricked up their ears – here are our top ten quotes of the day.


1. “Most people don’t really know what they’re doing: 30% of what they’re doing is intentional, the rest is accident and bluff... Having had that realisation I feel way more confident – my chances are at least as good as anyone else's.” - Mursal Hedayat, CEO, Chatterbox


2. “Once you realise everyone else has [imposter syndrome] too, it's easier. I talk to my little imposter on my shoulder. I have class imposter syndrome: I'm a little working-class girl from Tottenham.” - Sam Smethers, CEO, Fawcett Society


3. “Any space that’s speaking about 'women in business', or 'women in social entrepreneurship', or 'women in finance', needs to acknowledge that that’s not the only marginalisation... and call that out. If you have a panel of women and they’re all white and all able-bodied and all straight and all cis-gender, you’re actually just perpetrating the problems that you’re trying to challenge. So the first thing is just acknowledging it and holding ourselves to account in the same way as we would in male-dominated spaces.” - Naomi Alexander Naidoo, community manager, Finance Innovation Lab


4. “Some people say it's 'human nature to have inequality', but we need to push back on these things, argue, be prepared, and don’t be the bystander but be the upstander.” - Baroness Lola Young, campaigner against modern day slavery and member of the House of Lords 

5. “The fact that the social enterprise sector is new-ish means there are less codes of behaviour, less entrenched behaviour. That more fluid space works better for all groups, whereas in traditional spaces often doors are closed” - Alastair Wilson, CEO, The School for Social Entrepreneurs


6. “Sometimes I think we look inward too much...On the gender pay gap: is it about [women] not asking for a raise or a wider systemic economic condition? We need to move beyond the self-limiting narrative” - Jessica Brown, Connect Fund manager, Barrow Cadbury


7. “I’ve been in situations or in meetings where a man can rock up to the table with statistics but I’m not credible until I’ve shared my lived experience of that problem. I do see that happening quite often, particularly in women’s events where there’s a vulnerability that we’re expected to show.” - Tamzin Byrne, programme manager, Cambridge Social Ventures


8. “There’s that pressure as a woman to bring your story to the room. But you are in control of what you share – you don’t have to do it.”  - Sam Smethers, CEO, Fawcett Society


9. “If we all boasted a bit more, would we be collectively smashing more ceilings, or would it be inauthentic and... the things that make us female leaders in many ways - would we be leaving that behind?” - Caroline Macfarland, founder and director, Common Vision


10. “Stand up and become the role models that you can be...We all know about Elon Musk’s work because he won't stop going on about it.”  - Mursal Hedayat, CEO, Chatterbox


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