Sessions and Speakers


We have a fantastic selection of practical workshops and inspirational speakers for you this year – do keep checking back as we add our 2016 selection. These are optional sessions that you can choose to include in your day – please see our On The Day section for details of how to do this.

Do take the time before the day to explore our workshops and speakers (just click on the titles for more information) and choose those sessions that will help and inspire you most. You can then add them to your day planner (which will be emailed to you before the event) to enable you to create your own unique day.

jean-atkinsonDo you wish you knew how to get more great clients without spending a fortune? If so this session is for you!

You are within the first few years of starting your business. You’ve had some success in attracting clients, but it’s inconsistent. If only you had clarity in your marketing, guidance on next steps and specific how-to’s to get there. Join Jean for a session which will challenge your mindset and get you geared up to attract your ideal clients.

Twitter: edenb2b

jean-atkinsonThe clue to using Social Media is in the title. Be sociable and you will find success. In this session Jean will  provide advice on how to engage your audience using relevant and rich content. You’ll walk away with a top tips sheet and access to some of the best free and paid tools the internet offers.


Twitter: edenb2b

31f81b8Have you ever considered serving as a paid or voluntary board member or non-exec? Do you want to know more about what’s involved and why your skills may be in demand?

This session introduces the basics of being on a board, including what is involved, who is needed, and how to find the right opportunity.

Twitter: RubyStarTweet

31f81b8How to make your business more efficient without breaking a sweat – a practical workshop on how to apply lean principles to your business.

Twitter: RubyStarTweet

catherineIf you read Harry Potter or other children’s books, you’d be forgiven for thinking that an Invisibility cloak was the most marvellous thing to have. And yes, if you want to know, I have harboured dreams of the adventures I could get up to – go on admit it, you have too!

But in business, the Cloak of Invisibility is a dangerous thing. If you are brilliant at what you do, (and you are, of course), and if you know what you do is important and makes a difference, (which it does), then hiding it serves no one – least of all your clients or potential customers.

Join me and throw that cloak away. Relish and enjoy the connections and influence that can be yours once you have the confidence to stand up, speak up and stand out.

Through study, 20 years experience, and having some of the best presenters in the field as her mentors, Catherine has learned what it takes for even the most reluctant of professionals to become highly effective at presentation skills – and that’s what she teaches her clients.

Twitter: presentingqueen
Facebook: frompanictopoise

Heidi-Fisher-3Your Money Mindset is based on the stories and messages you heard about money during your life. Those messages come from your parents and form beliefs that are in place by the time you are 7 years old. These beliefs then become the subconscious programmes you run throughout your life regarding money. In this workshop we will explore some of the common negative beliefs around money and how these affect your ability to have a successful business. You will have the opportunity to test your own subconscious beliefs around money and success during the workshop, and learn techniques to remove these beliefs and change your mindset permanently.

Heidi has a passion for enterprise, having set up and run several charities, social enterprises and businesses over the past 15 years. She’s passionate about helping people to change their lives and their businesses, by identifying the growth points in their businesses and unblocking peoples’ issues and beliefs around abundance, money and success. This belief work is delivered in conjunction with strategic advice on your business, using Heidi’s skills in Theta Healing, business and accountancy.


sueevansIt’s easy to get stuck managing stress. The more it builds, the less time and energy you have to resolve it. What if you could switch off some of that stress, deep inside your thinking and breeze through the things which used to bother you? Get back that time you used to spend managing, for what you want instead. There’s a common myth that real change has to take time, and effort and practice. A myth Sue likes to bust. So join Sue, and find out for yourself how to stress-less. You’ll learn innovative ways to change your mind’s unhelpful habits, how to avoid the biggest mistake which almost everyone makes and how Helium could be the key to your inner calm.

When you want to ease away stress, your first thought might not be to work with an Engineer. Sue’s delivered £multi-million projects and culture change for international organisations including Danone, Corning and Lloyds Bank; and the same no-fluff, no-faff approach now underpins her success in helping numerous people to overcome life’s pressures and challenges. As a speaker and coach, Sue specialises in resolving stress and anxiety, and building lasting confidence. She’s an NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer, and was also one of the first in the UK to be approved as a Havening Practitioner. Her a unique range of FAST Pathways on-line courses, share powerful skills with an international audience.

Twitter: FASTPathways
Facebook: SueEvansFastPathways

What could the likes of Aphra Behn, Alice Walker and Emily Dickinson offer you in moving forward? How can wonderful women such as Mary Wollstonescraft, Maya Angelou and Sylvia Plath help you and your business?

Women have known best for centuries! Attempts to silence us have failed, but many wise women’s words are still only a whisper in the crashing cacophony of patriarchy. Come along to hear women’s literary advice and gems of wisdom from across the centuries. Explore quotes from a range of women’s literature and how you can apply their message to you and your business. Listen to their whispers and create a thunder of approval and confidence to inspire you and your business.

Tara started Literature Delights in 2015 after her world crashed down…yet again. Having escaped from an abusive marriage, she gained a First Class Honours Degree in Literature with the Open University, looked after her children and worked as a Teaching Assistant before enrolling on teacher training and becoming an English Teacher for 11-18 year olds. All seemed well.

Then things started going wrong at work; Tara didn’t fit the culture. A close family member committed suicide and she discovered a colleague in the road having been knocked off his moped. The downhill slide led to stress and anxiety and ended her career. Tara decided to focus on what she loves. Literature, educating children and empowering women. Literature Delights was born. They offer classes and courses aimed at children and women sharing their passion for literature. It has helped Tara free herself from the grips of anxiety and become more confident.

Twitter: litdelights

amandaAre you suffering from marketing overwhelm? With Social Media being the new shiny marketing tool, plus all the original ones like, telephone, direct mail, printing, PR and so on it’s not surprising. A lot of the time we get overwhelmed about which element is the right one to use, when to use it, what to say, how to measure it… Join Amanda and learn 5 Simple Steps to put an end to Marketing Overwhelm. Get re-focused, know what your next step is and take more action!

Amanda Dodd is the Creative Director of Koogar, providing integrated marketing services to SMEs; including social media, websites, brand design, video, email marketing and marketing reviews. Amanda originally trained as a graphic designer, then went on to become a web designer/ Internet developer and worked for clients including Liverpool Football Club, HSBC, Churchill, Argos and many more in various software and design houses during her career.

The future of marketing is relationships and building them with people we want to work with. It’s about being authentic, edgy, and creative; giving our following what they want. It’s about being the best we can be!

Twitter: koogar
Facebook: koogardigitalmarketing

Taking space to improve wellbeing both at work and in our lives. Living in a hectic, digitally focused, hyper-connected over-stimulated world often means sacrificing our ability to step back and take a breath. Excessive busyness and over commitment are the norm, they increasingly result in negative impacts on our mental and emotional lives. How might we counter these problems? This workshop provides some tools & techniques including mindfulness to combat busyness and distraction, become more productive and live happier simpler lives.

Rhiannon is a social entrepreneur developing an early stage social enterprise – Creating Cynefin – Finding your happy place.This grew from the RSA Connecting Communities Project which calls for a new, more ‘human’ approach to mental health and wellbeing, which enhances our connections to others, reduces isolation and seeks to empower individuals and communities to find the solution that’s right for them.

Creating Cynefin is focusing on Regenerating and developing people and places. Nurturing and building resilient, sustainable and inclusive communities that are good places to live work and play.

Initial income streams are from delivering interesting and quirky personal and organisational development programmes, working with companies to enhance their community footprint and add to their social impact for CSR. Other income streams may include social prescribing and personal health care budgets.

Twitter: RJ_R

Happiness NinjaMarie-Claire is a Happiness Ninja. This wacky job title may make you think she’s super confident but it wasn’t always this way. Growing up she felt different. Mixed messages from her family didn’t help either – a jumble of violence and over-protection left her very confused about life, her place in it and moreover, her worth. Learned beliefs and behaviour lead to her becoming a people pleaser but inside she battled with a rebellious heart. Not knowing who she was or what she was supposed with her life to do meant her low self-esteem lead to many years of depression.

Unable to handle her feelings, she closed up until she didn’t know who she was any more. At the age of 28 she decided this was no way to spend life and decided to go on a six and a half year adventure to find out who she actually was and where her happiness was hiding. When she found it, she realised it was too good not to share and thus The I Dare You Project was born!

Marie-Claire is a Professional Rebel – an Ambassador for Authentic Living. She’s a Moment Capturing Goddess at FlukePhotography and a Happiness Ninja at the I Dare You Project. She’s created a life she loves, she gets to be herself and encourages people to do the same. She helps people love who they are and feel excited about life. She loves her jobs because she gets to make people smile… on the inside as well as the outside too!

Marie-Claire provides workshops and talks for both grown ups and schools; awesome events where you leave your problems at the door and embrace your inner child whilst making new friends; one-to-one sessions to learn to think like a ninja and shares her ninja mind tricks in an online course with a super supportive online group to help you along your way. Oooh and if you ask nicely or bring biscuits, she might even take your photograph :)



AAEAAQAAAAAAAAa0AAAAJDYyZWI2MTVjLTQyMDAtNDFjNS1hMzQ3LTY4ZjI4YzU4NDU3MQBusiness journalist and broadcaster Penny Haslam demystifies the way the media operates, so you can get the expert advantage for your business, right here in the North West. Appearing as an expert commentator on TV and radio isn’t as hard as you think!
Join Penny to learn:
  • Why the broadcasters are actively seeking expert women!
  • How you can get the attention of journalists, so you can appear as an expert on their programmes!
  • Techniques and tricks that will help you pull off a brilliant on-air performance, so you keep getting get asked back.
Penny Haslam is a broadcaster and business journalist who’s career spans nearly 20 years, during which time she has presented the business news on BBC Breakfast, the News Channel and has fronted two Panorama investigations. She’s been a regular presenter on Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money and reporter for The One Show. She’s now much in demand as a speaker, conference facilitator and media trainer.



Twitter: @pennyhaslam 

Amanda BallIf you want your business to be more than a lifestyle choice then the sooner you consider your exit strategy the quicker you will learn to have focus!
Your business probably currently feels like your baby and while you are nurturing its growth and survival you more than likely can not begin to imagine a life without it. To even consider thinking about exit might feel like you are being disloyal to your creation. However the reality is that until you consider your exit plan you are more than likely to be in a reactive mode rather than a proactive one. Learning how you want to exit your business enables you to make important decisions that forms the culture and structure of your company.
Join Amanda Ball, CEO of AD Sprinklers as she shares the lessons she has learnt since founding and growing her business to a £4m turnover company from scratch.
AD Sprinklers designs, supplies, installs, project manages and maintains fire sprinkler systems, protecting life and property throughout the UK. AD was formed by founder Amanda Ball ten years ago. It has gone from a zero turnover company to a four million + company, with one employee in year two to thirty eight full time employees and over sixty sub-contractors.
AD’s ethos is that its people are its biggest asset, so they come first not the customer. This actually benefits our clients as when they work with a member of team AD they are presented with a person who is very empowered and engaged, an individual that can make decisions and move a contract forward without delay, thus ensuring that our clients achieve their projects on time and in budget.

Fiona Atkinson

Growth is a subject of great interest to every business owner, whether you’re just starting up, or running an established business.  In this 30-minute session I will share my story of growth. I’ll tell you about my personal journey from a single mum of two to a remarried director of a portfolio of successful businesses.  I will share how I measure my growth, something I find quite challenging at only 5ft 1 inches!!

I will share how I define it, both personally and from a business perspective and some different ways of measuring it to reflect your value proposition. I’ll share some of the lessons I have learnt along the way and also the importance of A Box, A Pipe and Mr Ben!

I am an Owner and Director of a number of businesses which have a common theme aligned to my own key personal values and passion, which are all about supporting people and enabling opportunity.

My successes include  winner of Stockport Business of the Year 2013; runner up in the North West for Outstanding Business Women of the Year 2014 and 2015, NMT Training and development Award 2014 and  number of other awards for staff development during the last 5 years.

My businesses incorporate 3 strands of recruitment, 4 types of operational services, student support and development services and also financial payment solutions.

Social justice is high on my agenda.

High growth is very much a key focus, not just for my businesses but also for my people and community.

Other interests outside of work include being a Skills Ambassador across Manchester, a Governor of my local Stockport College, where I both studied and taught in my past life and working with the Skills and Employability Partnership to shape the future workforce in the North West.


Twitter: @Akki_fi


Melanie Bryan OBE DL

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking:

  • I never have enough hours in the day
  • I can’t remember the last time I had ‘me time’
  • I never get to the end of my ‘to do’ list
  • I wish I didn’t have to check emails/work in the evenings, weekends and holidays
  • If only I had more time…

then this workshop is for you!

My Nana used to say if you want something doing ask a busy woman – and she was right! But as we juggle running a business, with family commitments and the pressures of modern life, it can feel as though time is a rare commodity that we just don’t have anymore.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Join Melanie to learn the simple time hacks every woman should know – make more time to do the things that really matter to you.

Melanie Bryan OBE DL ‘accidentally’ founded WhyNotChange in 2009 and quickly built it to a multi-award winning enterprise. Whilst doing so she also found time to create the North West Women’s Enterprise Day; volunteer for national, regional and local causes; manage extensive family commitments, (including having her 2 boisterous grandkids stay every weekend!) and find time to read a couple of books every week, create fabulous crochet and have her nails done.

The epitome of ‘ask a busy woman’ Melanie has been recognised by a cabinet ful of awards including National Enterprise Champion and being named as one of the Maserati 100.



Twitter: @whynotchange

Zena Me

Exploring your supreme greatness and authority as a woman.

“No other woman on earth can do what you alone are called to do, can give to the world what you alone were sent to give through your authentic gifts. The call may be so faint you can barely make out the message, but if you listen, you will hear it.’ Sarah Ban Breathnach

In mythology, the heroine’s  journey begins with a call. It is a call to adventure, to explore something not yet known, or to challenge oneself to discover hidden strengths and abilities.

Join Zena to explore your own story, the ‘systems’ you’ve belonged to, what you’ve learned from them, and how you can use them to transform your unique female gifts and answer your ‘call’ to stand in your own authority and greatness as a woman.

Zena Me works with coaches, small business owners and corporate clients illuminating the complex hidden dynamics that often act as an obstacle, stopping them from moving forwards.

Twenty years ago, Zena founded her own leadership development business working as a coach and facilitator to leaders and teams in business, charities and politics.

Zena has researched and studied across a wide field of human development, including: psychology, psychotherapy, leadership, cultural values, mythology,
shamanism and systemic constellations. She has integrated and incorporated these disciplines to create a unique approach to her work.

Zena is an Associate of The Cranfield School of Management and teaches on
their High Performance Leadership Programme.

Twitter: @zenamee
LinkedIn: Zena Vivienne Mee
Facebook: Zena Me

Cath Daly

We are living through interesting times and it can feel that our future is uncertain. This is the time when the world needs more women leaders using their feminine energy to make important decisions. The energy that taps into our intuition, awareness and knowledge as women to bring a new dimension to leadership – to lead in a way that is authentic, energising and extraordinary.
It’s time to STEP UP and STAND OUT in Feminine Leadership.

In this workshop I’ll share with you:

  • Why the present models of leadership don’t work for us as women 
  • The myth of “Superwoman” and why it’s time for her to retire 
  • The top 2 feminine addictions that are sabotaging your health, wealth and happiness 
  • The 3 common disempowering archetypes that prevent women from being effective leaders and how to avoid them
Cath’s passion is helping women to tap into their natural feminine talents to be truly confident and extraordinary leaders.
Having suffered from the health problems and prolonged high stress levels as a result of spending over 20 years being “a man in a frock”, she now promotes a way of leading that is congruent and authentic for women, enabling them to avoid “burn out” and lead with ease and grace.
Cath is the author of Presenting Secrets: 104½ Quick Tips Guaranteed to Transform Your Presenting; The Confidence Click(TM) – How to instantly be more confident whenever you need to; Getting Better Connected – How to build new, better and deeper business relationships quickly and get clients fast;
and is featured in Public Speaking Tips from the Pros and The Coaching Gurus.
Social media links:
Twitter: @cathdaley
Sam Lewis Sam's Diamonds

Do you ever reflect upon yourself to find our who you are? Are you true to yourself or do you allow others to hold you back? What makes you tick? How can you embrace that to be the best version of you?

What will it take for you to find your calling? Join Sam to help you find the answers to these questions and hopefully kick start you to go for it! Be happy, be satisfied, be you!

Sam’s Diamonds was set up by Sam Lewis in 2012 after Sam herself was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. During chemotherapy Sam found it difficult at the times when she felt well enough to get out and about as friends and family were in work. She wanted to get out of the house and experience new things, and live her life….while she had one.

After a lot of self reflection, Sam walked away from a 14 year teaching career and made it her mission to start a support group that remained positive and helped women to keep moving forward in life and make the most out of every day.

Sam’s Diamonds started in Widnes and now has 75 members from all over the Northwest who regularly meet and support each other to shine bright.



Telephone: Sam 07749 198 190


Imagine what it would be like to be scared to be with the person who is supposed to love you most. To walk on egg shells all the time. To constantly think what can I do to stop this happening again? This is ‘normal’ for around 2 women each week who are murdered in domestic abuse incidents, the 2m women each year who report domestic abuse, and the millions more who the authorities never hear from.  Domestic violence is a hidden crime that affects women from all walks of life and of all ages. Devastatingly it all too often also affects their children. If you think you don’t know anyone affected, you may want to think again.

This workshop will explore:
• Signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse
• How to approach a conversation if you suspect a colleague or employee is being abused
• Options available to people seeking help
and will give you an increased knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence abuse.
Independent Choices is a Greater Manchester based charity established in 1978. Our mission is to support women and their dependent children who have experienced domestic violence and abuse. We do this by providing free confidential advice and signposting.
We provide a telephone helpline for all women available 10.00 to 16.oo Monday to Friday, and a community helpline sensitive to the cultural and language needs of South Asian women (Urdu and Pubjabi spoken).
We take around 5,000 calls per year of which 1000 are from or about women of
South Asian origin.
Website and
Twitter @WDAChoices
Do you have a killer pitch?
Do you waffle rather than wow?
Having worked with 100’s of entrepreneurs I’ll share our ‘secret sauce’ to get you pitch perfect.
As an entrepreneur you know your business inside out and back to front, but the real challenge is distilling that passion and knowledge into a format that articulates who you are, why you exist and how you do it.
Getting investment ready? Want to stand out from the crowd? Head to this session to be given the tools to craft your own ‘Killer Pitch’
Entrepreneurial Spark is the world’s largest free business accelerator for start-up and scale up businesses and has provided free support, mentoring, and networking for over 650 businesses in 13 hubs (Hatcheries) across the UK. Run alongside partners NatWest, KPMG and EMC, the programme aims to inspire and enable positive social change through the action of Entrepreneuring. NatWest provides office space for the Hatcheries as well as in-house support and advise to the entrepreneurs (Chiclets) taking part in the programme.
Twitter @ESparkGlobal and @Vic_Manchester


Around my 30th birthday I started to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Unhappy with circumstances an idea emerged from a daydream – that I do indeed want to become a book! I came out about my strange desire and allowed myself to go on a journey of play and self discovery to fully define the description to my new job title. I met fairies in the forest at a storytelling festival, live streamed stories from my bedroom to the world in my pyjamas, and invited people to my secret garden. All whilst interviewing older and wiser storybooks growing my passion for oral history as a fantastic educational resource.

Come and hear about how a fantastical idea has now become a viable business and the lessons I have learned along the way.  

Becoming Storybook produces magical storytelling adventures for adults. Services include digital bedtime stories, story pop up performances for team building and personal development and one on one business development days. The enterprise has a social mission to build a oral history library – an educational resources with the profits from speaking engagements. Previous work has been completed for MMU Playful Learning Conference and Community Learning Festival. Stories have been played out on beaches, lakes, canals, high buildings with a view, secret gardens and libraries!


Twitter @storybookcase

Instagram @storybookcase




During this interactive and engaging session, you will explore the differences between management and leadership, examine leadership styles, the impact of the leader on your company culture, and the social reinforcement of culture. This session will give you thinking space about your own leadership style, and lots of take-away leadership tips and ideas.

Claire is an Enterprise Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University Centre for Enterprise and works across a series of programmes to support leadership, business growth, and entrepreneurship.

Claire has extensive teaching and learning, business support, project delivery, and higher education experience.

She is the Project Manager for the ERDF Greater Manchester High Growth Network Programme. This fully-funded business growth programme is for companies with high growth potential. Claire facilitates and delivers a number of the session as well as managing the programme.

Claire is also the Programme Director for the highly acclaimed Managers2Leaders courses and also teaches modules within this. She has developed and successful launched the new M2L Sales and M2L Digital Marketing courses.

Prior to this, Claire project managed he award-winning £2.5M ERDF Knowledge Action Network project across the North West (which worked with 214 small companies upporting these firms to create 71 and safeguard 61 jobs), and the European multi-partner Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation project.

Claire graduated from Newcastle University in 2002 with a BA (Hons) in Politics, and gained her Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice in 2014.Claire is currently undertaking a PhD in gender, entrepreneurial learning and leadership.


Sounds crazy I know, but in this session Louise Muir, managing partner at award winning branding and graphic design agency PITCH&CO demonstrates how shoes can help to create a unique personality for your brand.

This session is ideal for anyone just starting out in business who is developing a new brand or women already running a business that needs to refresh its brand image and create standout in the market place.

What’s more, in this session you could even get treated to a new pair of shoes – there’s an opportunity to win a £50.00 voucher!!! 


Website :

Twitter: @PitchandCo