Business start-up My Confidence Matters aims to boost women's self-assuredness in the workplace
PUBLISHED: 11:23 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:38 12 March 2018
When Joy Burnford and Sophie Edmond attended the same networking event last year, they could not have expected that their meeting would end up with them going into business together.
But they did and their new venture is called My Confidence Matters - a business aimed at boosting women’s self-assuredness in the workplace.
Joy, who lives in Kelvedon in Essex, is a former management consultant and Sophie, who moved from Buckinghamshire to a village near Debenham in Suffolk a few years ago, has over 20 years of experience delivering training and development in the corporate sector.
“We want to help women become more confident at work,” explained Sophie. “Our mission is to inspire women to become leaders in their field, to give women entrepreneurs more confidence, to enable women to speak up and develop the self-belief to have more of an impact at work.”
Sophie and Joy knew from their experience that this was an area where more work is required but to back this up they recently commissioned a survey of 300 women. It revealed that almost three-quarters of respondents said they felt a lack of confidence on a regular basis.
The two areas that made the most women nervous at work were ‘asking for a pay rise or putting prices up’ (43%) and ‘standing in front of an audience to make a presentation or speech’ (40%). ‘Networking’ (34%), ‘being intimidated by my boss or other colleagues’ (27%), ‘competing with work colleagues’ (20%) and ‘chairing a meeting’ (19%) were also areas where the women surveyed lack confidence.
Of those women who had taken a career break, 62% said they felt less confident when they returned to work.
Sophie said their plan is to develop master classes and hold retreats for women and to give them the skills to handle potentially difficult work situations.
The research also showed that 57% of women would find being part of a community of like-minded women would help to boost their confidence, so My Confidence Matters is inviting business women to join an online community to bring women in business together.
They want all women regardless of sector, job type or location, to come together to discuss the areas where they lack confidence and overcome some of the issues that could be preventing them progressing in the workplace.
Sophie said the venture has been supported by a lot of men she has spoken to, and she acknowledges that the problem isn’t necessarily between the sexes but lies in the processes and organisational structures that exist in the world of work today.
She feels that with the recent focus on gender pay gaps and the #MeToo initiative there has never been a better time to establish a business like My Confidence Matters.
“The news is filled with shocking stories of women being underpaid and under-appreciated in the workplace, she added.
“One of the barriers we find is that women lack confidence in the workplace and I strongly believe this holds many of us back. ”
Visit www.myconfidencematters.com/community-sign-up/ to join the My Confidence Matters online community.