That ‘Lightbulb Moment’

There are a few sites that I firmly believe every young woman should read to stay up to date with the most contentious topics at the moment and one of those is The Pool. Created by the amazing women that are Lauren Laverne and Sam Baker (previous editor-in-chief of Cosmo, one of the best women’s magazines, natch) it’s got everything young women need to stay in the know. So when their newest talk popped up this week called ‘Lightbulb Moments’, I knew I had to go.

Located at the Century Club on Shaftesbury Avenue, it boasted a fine selection of women to talk about their ‘lightbulb moment’ and how it got them where they are.

Jessie Burton, writer of bestselling novel The Miniaturist

  • I originally wanted to be an actress but chronic unemployment meant I ended up doing a novel-writing course, which lead to me writing The Miniaturist [the best-selling book of 2014]
  • I believe you should always have illusions in life, of where you are and where you want to be in life. It was a slow process over four years of writing my book including lots of rejections which only sharpened my hunger. Writing novels is actually the hardest thing to do and sometimes pretty boring.
  • I'm a bit of a nerd as my books have a lot of historical context which I wanted to put across without it being like a history lesson.
  • My biggest hurdle was to keep going as nothing is worse than your inner critic saying you can't do it. My first book was just a shot in the dark but my second book coming out next July has to replicate the success so it's a lot more pressure.
  • I'm a bit like an elephant when it comes to ideas: I get an idea that sits inside me for a year so it's a very slow process! And I had so many that I had to cut about 30 characters from my first novel, but only one so far from my second. It's a long process of dead ends and cul-de-sacs of ideas.

Karyn McCluskey, a police officer who co-founded Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit

  • When I was in Glasgow, there were up to five murders a week. After a 16-year-old boy bled to death in the gutter, as a 70 year old woman cuddled him, he cried for his mother... That was our Rosa Parks moment.
  • We reclassified violence as a public health issue. It spreads like an infection; think think of the London riots.
  • I was told it was too big an issue to tackle, but I've always said you have three choices: lead, follow or get out of the way. Whilst I didn't have a map for my plans, I did have a compass.
  • Glasgow was once the most violent place in Western Europe; ten years later, it has less than half the murders having gone down from 141 a year to 60 a year. It worked because we had a zeitgeist: Visit Scotland weren't happy being called the most violent place in the UK!
  • We also use ADVR to train dentists and vets to recognise the signs of domestic abuse. One dentist had a woman with cigarette burns in her mouth but didn't know how to approach it. I also employ ex-sex workers and ex-gang members.
  • Women aren't equal yet.  And you know you're being innovative when you scare the hell out of people.
  • It all starts with men as so many don't know how to be a good man compared to women understanding themselves. With gang culture, we teach them that a good man walks away from fights. But violence is everyone's problem; I don't want vigilantes but I don't want bystanders when it comes to abuse either.

Anne-Marie Imafidon, co-founder of the Stemettes

  • You need to start young; we condition them with pinks, no lego or building toys for girls. We start from the beginning with girls from the age of five to build websites, games and apps. We even have our #LetToysBeToys campaign.
  • I've always been into tech and I've always been a girl! So I started this voluntarily in 2013, and we aim to give role models to girls to normalize techy and 'nerdy' jobs.
  • So far we've had over 5000 girls, and our long term goal is to be redundant and not be needed to get more women into these roles.
  • Tech even started with women; with punch cards and computers being based on looms. It swung one way towards men so we can swing it back again. It's actually very creative.
  • 50% of the world are women so they need to be recognised as consumers; when one of the newest IOS updates with the health app, designed to innovate health care excluded menstrual cycles, it shows the lack of women on tech!
  • I always identified with Tim Burners-Lee, the British guy to invented the web. The start up world is very collaborative.

Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine, founders ofaccessory brand Tatty Devine.

  • We started as art students in 1996, where we ended up living together, studying together and eventually becoming a collaboration. We found 18 bags of off cut leather outside a shop and that's where the brand started. We even had leaflets at art school on how not to get diseases from skip diving!
  • When shops such as Urban Outfitters wanted to sell some of our stock, we realized we could start pitching to other shops and when our business started to grow. When Vogue liked one of our designs we were wearing, we ended up creating a whole collection over a weekend to be featured.
  • We discovered our trademark perspex material in 2001 on a research trip in Paris, after finding a shop creating these shapes for road signs. We then used it in the real world with pop culture and anything current to create out individual designs, with our desire to be different driving us.
  • Our five year lease on our shop in Brick Lane was our biggest moment and commitment. It's been hard work but we were obsessed with our brand so it worked.

Run by Lauren Laverne and The Pool sponsor Clinique, it was an evening spent listening to some of the best of the best of women in all industries and some came away feeling inspired to do something for the next generation of women As well as having some prosecco and canapés. Girls gotta eat.