Inspiration and connection at WIFN event

The second Women in Furniture Network event has been hailed as a resounding success, bringing together women from across the furniture and design industry for an afternoon of inspiration and connection. 

Centred around the theme of Mentorship, attendees heard from Emma Botham, eBay senior category manager (furniture); Heather Agan de Visser, speaker, coach and ‘creator of space’; Zoe Bonsor, Clarion Events retail division portfolio director and Natalie Cole, The Furniture Makers skills plus coordinator.

They were inspired by the speaker’s stories and motivating anecdotes that proved how integral mentoring is for a women’s career. Agan de Visser delivered an engaging presentation that touched on the importance of learning to trust your gut in life and business, as well as ensuring that all women work together to support and raise each other up. Her insights into personal and professional growth resonated with attendees, leaving them inspired and motivated to pursue their goals.

Botham shared how mentoring has helped shape her career journey at eBay. She highlighted the importance of how her mentor has helped her throughout her career and is an essential sounding board when she comes up against challenges. 

Cole introduced those present to The Furniture Maker’s Company’s new incentive, the Apprentice & Skills Plus Service. She highlighted the importance of getting young people interested in careers in the furniture industry and how it can be beneficial for manufacturers to take on apprentices to ensure the continuation of British manufacturing. 

‘It has been a wonderful afternoon meeting so many lovely women from across the industry and I am so pleased to see how the network is growing. Plus, the overwhelming positivity from our attendees regarding how new connections made at our events are helping support them with collaborations or sharing industry insights shows a positive step in building the WIFN network. With the launch of the Mentorship Exchange platform, the network can continue to grow outside of our events, giving women a chance to either find a mentor or become a mentor – both benefiting their career tremendously,’ says Bonsor.

The initiative behind WIFN is to foster a proactive network to help women in the furniture and design industry connect and support each other’s career progression and development. To continue this initiative, the WIFN team are excited to announce the Mentorship Exchange platform which will facilitate an environment where mentors and aspiring mentees can connect, find support and guidance from other women facing similar challenges in the industry. 

The next WIFN event is due to take place at the January Furniture Show on 22 January from 5.30pm-7.30pm at the Networking Hub in Hall 4. Attendees will be able to join a Speed Networking session where they can meet a mix of exhibitors and visitors attending the show, providing numerous opportunities to make connections. 



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