Leaving teaching was a huge transition for me. Going from working with a big team – endless noise and constant bustle, to a quiet room in the house working with the husband was odd. Whilst I relished the prospect of a whole new ‘career path,’ I knew I still needed some form of human contact (and not just with the girl behind the counter at our local Sainsburys.) Meeting new people at any stage of life though is hard, and finding people who you actually connect with is even harder.
That first week of self-employment, filled with masses of enthusiasm and wide-eyed about having the flexibility to do whatever the hell I wanted, I was more than eager to get out there and find these like-minded folk. We hot-footed it to a local networking event accompanied by lanyards and luke warm coffee and introduced ourselves to a bunch of people who really couldn’t have cared less that we’d started our very own design studio – just as we lacked enthusiasm for having to give a sales speech to a bunch of strangers.
There were a few events that followed. Toby gave up and couldn’t deal with the idle banter. I continued to search optimistically for something that didn’t feel so flippin’ awkward. And failed.
Until Rachel and Nic showed up.
Rachel Hirst and Nic Sowden dreamt up the idea of The In Good during lockdown after recognising that forging connections at different stages of life can be really hard. It’s pretty clear they wanted to challenge the traditional norms of ‘networking,’ (shoving people in a room at 9 ‘o clock on a Tuesday whilst shuffling around making awkward chat) and acknowledge that mornings like this aren’t fun. Because they’re not.
Instead, they dreamt of creating a beautiful, inspiring event that tossed away pre-conceived ideas of what meeting new people is all about; allowing women to connect dine and share in beautiful surroundings at The Mowbray.
And that’s exactly what they did.
The first In Good Company event I showed up at, was back in Summer 2022.
I knew it would be great. Rachel and Nic’s shared skills and talents meant it always would be, but the attention to detail, the buzz in the room, the cocktails, the food (oh the food) and the company. It pretty much blew me away.
Yes, it’s a little nerve-wracking walking into a room filled with people you don’t know, but let’s not underestimate the power of a couple of delicious cocktails and an awesome atmosphere. Later in the evening after I’d chatted my socks off to women I’d only just met, (and wish I’d met sooner) it was time to listen to the guest panel who shared their inspiring stories and left us all wanting more.
We often spend so much time wrapped up in our lives, careers and families that we forget there is a whole world of women out there who have stories to share. Immersing yourself in these shared experiences allows you to see things slightly differently; it tilts normality and gives you the chance to explore new friendships and connections whilst feeling comfortable to sometimes show a little vulnerability.
Which is amazing by the way.
As Rachel and Nic often say, the women who attend these evenings are proud to be part of the Sheffield community. They may be freelancers, business owners, Mothers, creatives, or just a group of best friends who fancy a brilliant evening out.
Sharing on their Instagram recently, In Good Company is now one of the top 5% event creators in the Sheffield region and this year they were nominated for the Best Local Event at the Exposed Awards. And rightly so.
What they have created together is unique, special, and very much needed. It’s not just an event. It’s a joyful uplifting experience that leaves you feeling motivated, inspired and just really really happy.
If you’re local to Sheffield and looking to connect with like-minded folk, then there’s tons of info on their new shiny website and details of their up and coming events too. You can also follow along on the ol’ IG and be kept up to date with the latest details.
So go take a look and if you’re reading this from Sunny Sheff, I’ll see you at the next one!