It was just over a year ago that the first She Is Sustainable event was held, in London, Since then, there have been three more sessions, in Cambridge, Lancaster and Oxford, with more in the pipeline. Around 150 women have been involved altogether, bringing with them huge amounts of energy and enthusiasm. (Here’s more on how it’s gone so far)

So far, SiS has evolved organically. Emily came to the London event, then ran another in Cambridge. Becky persuaded Lancaster University colleagues Gail and Jess to join her and bring SiS to the North. Mairi heard about what we’d done and decided to get together with friends and colleagues to run one in Oxford. Each event has followed the same basic format, with some tweaks and additions; each has been run with minimal budget and loads of goodwill.

After a whirlwind first year, we thought it would be good to take stock. Collectively, we’ve created this brilliant thing called She Is Sustainable, which lots of women have benefited from in different ways, but we don’t really know what it will be next.

Following a chat between some of us involved in running SiS over the past year, we’ve put a few ideas together – which is where you come in.

If you’ve been to an event, if you came to speak, if would like to come along next time, or just like the idea – please give us your views, and tell us and whether you can help with the next stage.

Here are some ideas:

  • Could we write a how-to guide or downloadable pack for running a SiS event, and run the project as a sort of ‘franchise’, where we let people run more event, under the guidance of a committee? (this is a slightly more formal version of how it happens how)
  • We really need to improve the website, which is very basic! Some photos, reports from the events, info about the core team and so on… We could do more to manage SiS social media, too.
  • Do we want to stick to the current SiS event format, or (and?) do we want to branch out, for example creating a SiS mentoring scheme?
  • Could we raise funds to get a co-ordinator to support future events, and possibly have a seedcorn fund to help future events off the ground?
  • If SiS wanted to raise money, it would have to be set up as a charity, or taken under the wing of another charity, as a project. Are either of these possible or desirable?
  • If we set up SiS as an independent organisation, we’d need volunteers to act as trustees, treasurers and so on.

We’d really like to know what you think about this. And as SiS develops, there are specific skills that we’ll need to call on, including for example:

  • Website development
  • Social media
  • Setting up a charity (if we decide to go down that route)
  • Fundraising and financial management (if we decide to raise funds)
  • And obviously, people who’d like to run future events and networks.

So, in short, we want to find out what you think, and whether you can help. You can comment below, or email sheisustainable[at]rebeccawillis.co.uk . We’d love to hear from you – by the end of April if you can.

Becky, Emily and the She is Sustainable gang.

2 thoughts on “Where next for She Is Sustainable?

  1. Penny Walker says:

    Thanks very much l team for taking things this far and for throwing open the forum for views on where to go next!

    I am 100% confident that women working in sustainability will find future SiS events wonderful, supportive and inspirational.

    I am keen to run a SiS for older women, although I haven’t been able to move this forward yet. I don’t have strong preferences about financial models or how to ensure capacity for future events. What I can offer are some reflections on what’s stopped me going further forward, and I expect that these reflections will help the team make choices.

    What helped me get as far as I have?
    • going to an event, being inspired, meeting great women, helping to run bits of it, and my general experience of event design and facilitation;
    • warm welcome from Becky to the idea of me running an event;
    • clear guidance on what experience has shown to be a good way to do it.

    What has stopped me getting further:
    • other work priorities;
    • lack of contacts for sufficiently high profile key note speaker;
    • unenthusiastic response from possible venue provider;
    • not feeling chased or committed to doing enough to overcome these things.

    What would help?
    • buddy, team or other person as committed/more committed as me, to check in with regularly, share the worry and ideas, share the work, hold me to account;
    • specifically, more ideas and leads on speaker and venue;
    • links to testimonials and event descriptions to show speakers and venue hosts that SiS is a brilliant thing they will want to be associated with.

    I think once those things are in place, it would take off.

    On the business model, I really like the idea that I can tell everyone involved that we’re doing it on a shoe string and beg/borrowing. Keeps it simple, keeps it cheap and builds sense of team. Gets rid of suspicion that it’s a money making thing for the organisers.

    I think that’s all from me!

    Penny

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  2. Gráinne says:

    Hello ladies
    I agree with what you’ve suggested and what Penny has said about having a buddy to bounce ideas off of. I have been looking into organising an event in Dublin and unfortunately I might have to mess with the format as I’ve been told that employers would be generous to give one day off to attend a conference like this but two days is too much so I’m looking now into condensing those two days into one. So I would appreciate any thoughts on what types of thoughts or workshops should be given priority to make this mini conference as successful as possible.
    Thanking you
    Gráinne

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