Empower Conference 2018 – All You Need to Know About Leeds University’s First Student Led Leadership Conference

You will almost certainly have seen it being advertised and promoted both online and in the Leeds University Union building, but what exactly is the Empower Conference? Where did the idea for a student-led, company-sponsored and leadership-focused event arise from? In addition to this, why is the Empower Conference a much needed day for both students and non-students alike?

If a day full of interacting with businesses, attending workshops ran by experts, and improving your networking profile appeals to you, then pencil the 9th February into your diary and purchase your tickets for the Empower Conference as soon as possible! With workshops already filling to capacity and a number of highly esteemed guests in attendance, the view we get of Empower is that it is a unique opportunity for all interested to learn more about the world of business and discover top tips to succeed in employment and industry.

The Empower Conference has been planned and produced by the University of Leeds’ Women in Leadership society, a new and innovative business-based society aimed at equipping students with the confidence and skills they need to progress both in employment and more specifically- leadership roles, which statistically are all too often dominated by older men. Whilst founded in early 2017 by Business School students, Women in Leadership (or WILSOC) now boasts multi-dimensional subject field representation, with directors of both Arts and science based subjects (STEM) to name only a couple. With an aim of creating opportunities for members to network with a range of businesses, WILSOC often host informative talks and workshops with guest speakers. However, the Empower Conference is unique in that it is WILSOC’s biggest and most anticipated inaugural event to date, bringing together sponsors, students, staff and anybody with an interest in the sphere of business and enterprise.

Empower Conference

Leeds University’s Women in Leadership society boasts free membership in order to promote the value of inclusivity, therefore alongside ticket sales the event would not be possible without their multitude of sponsors, all of whom promote gender equality in the workplace. Such a high volume of external influence within both WILSOC and the Empower conference should certainly allow for students to interact with important individuals outside of their academic life. Speaking on behalf of the society in relation to their sponsors, conference director Maria Miles said: “We have been lucky enough to secure sponsors including KMPG, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Leeds University Business School, who will be present at our networking lunch as well as providing merchandise for our attendees.”

A wide range of speakers will be delivering talks on both their own specialist areas and also more widely applicable techniques on how to make yourself stand out, communicate confidently and show innovation when applying for company positions. Six talks have been planned in total, and speakers include Jessica Taplin, CEO of V.Inspired – the UK’s leading youth social action charity, as well as Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive and Founder of the Ahead Partnership, and Racheal Neaman, Chief Executive Officer of the Corsham Institute.

Corsham Institute


One incredibly anticipated area of Empower appears to be the series of topical workshops that are purchased alongside the sale of every ticket. So far, the most popular is the ‘3 ways to empower yourself’ workshop, delivered by Jess Baker, a business psychologist and women’s leadership coach. Empower will also provide an hour long networking lunch, as well as an entrepreneurship panel, predicted to be the highlight of the day. The panel “gives four experienced entrepreneurs a chance to discuss their experiences, insights, success, challenges and failures in their different fields”, Something which should be useful for anyone looking to advance themselves in those areas of employment.

Speaking with regard to the objectives of Empower, conference director Maria Miles emphasised the inclusivity and attendee-focused nature of the event, saying: “The aim of the Empower Conference is to leave attendees inspired, empowered and practically enabled to pursue leadership in whichever direction they choose, regardless of their gender or any other defining factor”. In addition to this, a detailed summary was provided of what attendees can expect. “We have recruited experts in topics such as body language and interview skills to give interactive workshops to help attendees learn these soft skills which are essential to excelling in whichever career path they wish to follow.”

Whatever your first impression of the Empower Conference, it cannot be disputed that the university’s Women in Leadership society are determined to provide a unique and professional leadership-oriented event, fully inclusive towards both students and non-students alike. The impression gained from previewing such a conference is that it is an opportunity not to be missed, whatever your subject area or professional interests may be!

Catheryne Fairbairn

Image: [Empower Conference]

The Conference is taking place on Friday the 9th February in the Leeds University Union. Tickets are just £12 for this full day event, which includes a buffet lunch and refreshments.

You can find out more information about this exciting event, and links to tickets, at our website: www.empowerconference.co.uk which also contains links to all of our social media pages