On a warm evening in July, Impact Hub Westminster was creating it’s own kind of heat, as over 100 women gathered to connect, share stories and drive social change. This was the Good Women Network, an initiative by Vanilla Ventures to create a space for women (or anyone identifying as a woman) to share ideas and communicate without boundaries.

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To kick off the evening, Rachel Whale, Founder of Vanilla Ventures encouraged unstructured, spontaneous and smart conversations leaving unnecessary limitations like job titles and sectors at the door. With a focus on ideas and collaboration, a collective space for positive impact is much more likely to be created organically.

The event wasn’t completely unstructured however. After introductions from Rachel and Floree (who many of you will know from her days as the Impact Hub Westminster Community Manager) the stage was open for 10 people to climb onto a virtual soapbox and speak for three minutes about something close to their heart. The positive messages and passion conveyed by the women who chose to speak was inspiring and really set the tone for the night.

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Some of the exciting initiatives mentioned were The Schools Consent Project, an organisation working to raise awareness around sexual consent and what that means; Rubies in the Rubble who create relishes from food waste; Voting counts creating unbiased voting information for young people and teachers; Tribe, a mentoring charity for black girls and Young Women’s Trust an organisation for women on low or no pay who are at risk of being trapped in poverty.

After this whistle stop tour of exciting ideas, the group was energised and wasted no time in getting down to some eager networking. The feeling was relaxed and friendly throughout with conversations reaching far and wide across the social change landscape. As Rachel said: “When you get a group of women into a room for an evening of networking all sorts of exciting possibilities can be created”.

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Women are considerably more disadvantaged than men in many areas, from education to human rights and livelihoods. Floree presented some striking data about the UK: 8.4 million people are living in households that report having insufficient food, one million children are living in poverty and three million women suffer domestic or sexual abuse every year. Vanilla Ventures are strong supporters of mobilising talent and leadership to tackle the most defining issues of our time. They believe in the impact intelligent, connected people can have on complex social issues when given the time, space, networks and experience to understand and address them collectively.

At the end of the event, they made a call to action around the topics of gender equality, social mobility and food security in order to launch some Innovation Labs. If you are interested in getting involved or at least know more, don’t hesitate to email Floree.

The next Good Woman Network event will take place Tuesday, 11th October, 6 – 9pm at Impact Hub Westminster once again. Grab your ticket here (before they’re gone).