June 11, 2020, by Ingenuity Lab

My Way Project – Dr Isobel O’Neil

Building on experiences gained through the success of the “My Business My Way” toolkit and workshops for women running their own businesses, HGI’s Dr Isobel O’Neil has developed and launched two new online initiatives to help support women in business during working from home and the Covid-19 crisis.

Along with her two co-producers – Nottingham-based entrepreneurs Alexandra Hardwick and Debbie Clarke – Dr O’Neil launched the “My Way Project” on Facebook, delivering empowerment and personal development toolkits and workshops for women at every stage of their working lives. Over 155 members can access a different self-development and career empowerment tool each week for 10 weeks.

“Having engaged with over 800 women, it’s great to also deliver the personal development toolkit online”, explained co-producer Hardwick, a creative branding entrepreneur. “The toolkit supports women at different stages of their career or business in these challenging times and helps create a supportive community, giving space and time for reflection.”

The tools cover aspects from personal strengths and values to defining career success and through to a final evaluation of the learning over the 10 weeks. The members are supporting one another and sharing theirs tips and insights into how to get through the challenges women in business currently face.

“I feel so proud that we’ve been able to offer an online version of the My Way toolkit to women in business at this time” said business coach Debbie Clarke. “Organisations like the Fawcett Society, the World Health Organisation and The UN have all pointed out how the Coronavirus exacerbates gender inequalities for women. So it seems that now more than ever we need to support women in the workplace and as entrepreneurs to feel empowered, to build confidence and resilience to be able to hold their own.”

Dr Isobel O’Neil

Parallel to this, the team have developed a similar “My Way Challenge” programme for members of the Women in WBA-Boots group (Boots PLC). Over 60 women signed up initially and each week are sent a different tool and a series of reflection questions they can use, after completing the tool, with their accountability partners or “lean in” circles.

“Having won a social innovation prize at Ingenuity19 for our work with lower-income women, we were looking forward to bidding for funding to run more courses in 2020. With that on hold, we have channelled our effort into these online initiatives.” said HGI’s Dr Isobel O’Neil. Personally, I have found that being involved in such impactful work has given me an additional sense of purpose in these difficult times.”

These initiatives are both supported financially by a Nottingham Impact Award (RIS) won by Dr O’Neil in 2019.

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