A month ago I attended a Girls Talk London workshop on Getting into Journalism, at my local library. It was part of their, Enterprise Skills Sessions. The guest speaker was Jennifer Savin, Features Writer, for Cosmopolitan Magazine. How was I eh? The session was very helpful and gave me a fresh perspective on sourcing content for my blog as well as ways to find freelance opportunities. My experience was so good, and I really wanted to share their Founder’s, Vanessa Sanyauke, story and find out more about Girls Talk London.
The Vanessa Sanyauke Interview
TTT: What was the catalyst that led to Girl Talk London being set up?
VS: I started Girls Talk London in 2013 due to the low number of women on boards, which at the time was around 20%, and there were extremely low numbers of women working in sectors such as STEM which was 14.4% at the time. I wanted to create a movement to encourage and empower women and girls to achieve their career goals despite these circumstances.
TTT: Tell us a bit about your team.
VS: We are a small team which includes myself and our Head of Programme who is in charge of our flagship mentoring programme Step into STEM and our tech initiatives. I also have a freelance PA and admin assistant who helps with co-ordination or programmes, my diary and personal bookings.
TTT: Did you have any challenges at the start? If so, what were they?
VS: Yes, challenges were around securing income and growing our traded income which took perseverance. Also, setting up legal documents for board members, staffing and insurance etc. As well as, getting the right size team with committed reliable people.
TTT: What has been the best feedback you’ve had from parent(s) of your Step Into Industry Programme candidate(s)?
VS: We don’t really work closely with parents but with teachers. The best feedback we have had has been helping about how the programme has helped students get into university to study STEM subjects and increased their confidence and career prospects.
TTT: What has been the impact of the research element of Girl Talk London?
VS: We don’t really do as much research as I would like, however, we have done a few surveys. The most common areas of concern for women were around getting promotions, developing networks and starting businesses. So, we have curated festivals and summer business schools to address these issues which has helped participants get new jobs, start their businesses and progress in their careers.
TTT: What advice would you give to budding girl bosses?
VS: 1. Stick with the hard times it will get better
2. Have a plan and set some intentions/goals
3. Be excellent and remember customer care is key
TTT: What would winning Community Project of the year for 2018 European Diversity Awards mean to Girls Talk London?
VS: Being nominated makes us feel like winners already! To be recognised for a programme all our team have put blood, sweat and tears in is incredible. Winning would be a bonus.
TTT: Where do you see Girls Talk London in two years?
VS: No idea, I am really now going with the flow and what opportunities present themselves but I definitely see more girls we work with, more partnerships and more success!
(Updated 15th May 2020)