Work for me doesn’t stop at the office, and I’ve taken on a lot of extra curricular activities to fill my spare time, from co-organising SheSaysMCR to recently being selected to be on Tech North’s Northern Voices public speaker training programme. But my latest endeavour is taking me on an adventure much further afield. At the end of March I’ll be heading to Atlanta, Georgia on a UK Department for International Trade mission for Northern Powerhouse Female Founders. This trade mission has been specifically designed for women who are at the forefront of businesses that they run, contribute to or work for. (You can find more information here: https://www.events.trade.gov.uk/nph-female-founders-mission-to-atlanta/event-day/nph-female-founders-mission-to-atlanta-1/)

Why am I going?

Wearing my technology startup hat, I’ll be going to Atlanta to scope out potential collaborations for Manchester from a tech4good perspective. The organisers have created an unintentional focus on social innovation and that ticks all of my boxes, from my past experiences at Dotforge Impact, helping to grow tech4good startups, to my work at FutureEverything delivering  Service Design as part of CityVerve.

What will I be doing?

I’ll be meeting the who’s who of the Atlanta startup scene, focussing on social innovation and female entrepreneurship. The trip will be a whirlwind of meetings, conversations and hopefully, lots of fun. The aim of the trip is to understand more about international business, startups and how to scale internationally. I’ll be there to represent Manchester as a city, FutureEverything, the other organisations that I am connected with, such as Dotforge, StartupDigest and SheSaysMCR, and all of the people I know.

I’m particularly thrilled (excited, nervous and scared!) that I’ve been asked to speak on a panel about tech4good startups. It’s only the second time that I’ve spoken at an international event – so the preparation has certainly already begun.

What I’m nervous about?

As always, my introverted side is coming to the fore. I’m going on the trip with some amazing female founders, but I’ve never met them before. My anxiety levels are pretty high but the adrenaline is starting to kick in so overall, I generally couldn’t be more excited! I also get to put into practice the recent public speaking training I’ve received, alongside facilitating and designing public events in service design and our community forum workshops, so I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes.

What I’m excited about?

I think the thing that I’m most excited about is the connections that I’ll be able to make whilst on the trip. I thrive off of meeting new people, understanding their journeys, stories and motivations. It helps me understand more about myself and I almost always leave feeling completely inspired.

I’m sure I’ll be doing lots of tweeting whilst I’m there and you can follow my journey on @ThatGirlVim.