I was honoured to be invited to speak on a panel at BloomFest on 8th November, bringing together my work life and my infertility life - this was truly ‘coming out of the closet’!
BloomFest is a one-day conference and the flagship event for the Bloom network, a professional network for women in communications. The theme for 2018 was ‘Fighting Our Fictions: Challenging myths within the industry’, with proceeds from the day supporting Women’s Aid
We believe that myths within our industry are barriers to women realising their ambitions. Accepted fictions about power, privilege, pay, parenthood and beyond, become the basis upon which the industry is built and influence how women shape ourselves and our careers. At BloomFest 2018, we will uncover and meet these fictions head on, challenging the narratives woven into the workplace and ourselves in order to drive real change.
It was daunting and thrilling to be on the bill alongside incredible women in the industry (keynotes were delivered by Dame Carolyn McCall and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado Perez), and it was a fantastic and inspirational day
I took part in a panel about the Secret Self, about hiding invisible struggles at work - concealing who we are, or what we face, in order to project a professional image of ambition and perfection. I was honoured to speak alongside some amazing women from my industry (Helen Calcraft, Founding Partner, Lucky Generals; Jan Gooding, Chair, Stonewall UK & President, Marketing Research Society; Charlie Hunt, Head of New Business, Digitas UK; Namrata Dhadialla, Associate Director, MediaCom; moderated by Victoria Brooks, Sustainability Strategy Director & Head of Programmes, Bloom) discussing issues including sexual harassment, cancer, mental health, sexuality, bereavement - and infertility & pregnancy loss.
Whilst the other sessions were filmed and tweeted, our session was kept private to respect people exposing their vulnerabilities - but what was very clear was that whatever we see on the surface, we never know what someone else might be going through. I was the nominated ‘infertility and pregnancy loss’ speaker, but I wasn’t the only one on the panel who’d gone through multiple rounds of IVF. I spoke to lots of different women during the day, and many revealed their own struggles.