Bloomfest 2024 – Lift Each Other Up

A shocking 93% of women working in the marketing, advertising and communications industry say a lack of work-life balance has negatively impacted their mental health. Moreover, only half (53%) are satisfied with the flexible working arrangements their employer offers currently. These new findings come from Bloom UK’s new study, The Juggle, which was unveiled last week at its annual Bloomfest event – a one-day festival from the professional women’s network, bringing together 300+ women and allies to raise each other to new heights.

The day was full of moving and inspirational discussions, with an eclectic mix of voices and perspectives which reflect Bloom’s ingrained intersectional values. 

There were many highlights for the Propeller team on the day. This included an eye-opening discussion between Michelle Moore (Leadership coach, author, speaker) and two elite British female athletes, Rachel Yankey OBE, a former footballer and Natasha Jonas a professional boxer. Both revealed shocking truths about the discrimination they faced as women in their sport and how they were able to rise above this and break through the barriers. 

Rachel talked openly about the start of her career – having to change her name to Ray (her initials) and shave off her hair just to be able to compete in tournaments. Meanwhile, Natasha recounted when she fell pregnant and was dropped by amateur boxing – leaving her with no monetary maternity support – because “sports contracts were made for men.”

It gave us pause for thought on how much there still is to go to reach equality in an industry that risks deterring female participation. And yet there is a clear demand for more women’s sports.

The theme for Bloomfest this year was “The Lift”, with the aim to ‘lift each other up’ and feel empowered. With this in mind, there were many panels and debates designed to boost self-confidence. This included a session chaired by Reeta Loi (Storyteller, Buddhist and Forbes 100 Founder) in conversation with Lisa Bent (Group HR Director, SEEN Connects, Seen Presents & Seen Studios) and Gerry Anyanwu (founder of The Uncommon Collective, co-founder of JOT). The trio explored what it means to be authentic, the importance of having values and the journey to being the person you want to be – at home and at work.

Lisa said: “Move with passion and move with integrity. Introspection is everything … Be your biggest cheerleader and understand what lights you up and your values … No one talks about internal success. It starts with you.” 

Gerry also stressed that being confident and authentic to yourself takes time: “You won’t wake up like this…My life and years allowed me to release. Bit by bit you will become the person that you want to be. Even I’m still a work in progress.”

Throughout the event, the Propeller team could feel that the rooms were buzzing with others revealing how inspired, engaged and motivated they felt by the discussions and workshops that day. For us, there were certainly many takeaways to apply in our own personal and professional lives to further empower ourselves, champion gender equality and celebrate the essence of womanhood.

Propeller is the PR partner for Bloom UK. You can read Bloom’s latest research, The Juggle, here.