SWI National Conference a huge success

A weekend of stars, strategic developments, and sensational winners

Impressive! The Women In Scotland – SWI National Conference & Exhibition was a truly extraordinary two days, offering 300 women an incredible line-up of speakers and an engaging evening market hosted by Provost Xander McDade. Thanks to our key speakers  Mike Stevenson, Adele Patrick of Glasgow Women's Library, Mary Lewis of Heritage Crafts, Dr Isabella Moore CBE, Helen Vass, Gillian Paterson, Jen Hogg and Coinneach Macleod the Hebridean Baker!
A breakfast session for Federation Presidents kicked off the day with news that the Board of Trustees has agreed to proceed with exploratory talks with The Crichton Trust on bringing together two powerful parallel rural stories of women's lives and influence on Scottish society and wellbeing.
With a rousing speech by global inspirational speaker, Mike Stephenson, on friendship and the key role the SWI plays in Scottish life, the conference was off and running. The first of our member-led panel sessions followed, with Past President Linda Retson hosting a session on Pursuing Passions with guest speakers Mary Lewis of Heritage Crafts, Elaine Lindsay of Something Corny, and Dr Isabella Moore of The Olderpreneur Alliance.

Founder of Glasgow Women's Library, Adele Patrick's talk on the importance of capturing women's voices and giving women an equal footing to men was inspirational and led into a panel session on the strategic led by Julie Hutchison of LGT Wealth Management. A strategy update by Diane Cooper, SWI CEO, was followed by a members' question and answer session with Board Trustees Mary Burney, Karen Johnson, Linda McTurk and May Tosh. See the strategic update here

Throughout the day professional storyteller – and SWI member – Gillian Paterson brought stories from the birth of the SWI to life. Dressed in costume, Gillian recounted stories and characters from 1917 and the first National Conference in 1918. Historically accurate and a hoot in equal measure!

The day ended with the very first Pop-up Evening Market which offered local families a taste of all things SWI – Junior Dippers workshops, heritage craft sessions and cookery demonstrations.
We celebrated homegrown talent, winners, and outstanding members! The day began with another member-led panel session, with Skills & Events committee Convenor Anne Howat hosting a session on Sharing Skills with guest speakers Jen Hogg and Helen Vass. The trio talked TV stardom, teaching, and making the most of their talents.

The Hebridean Baker followed and was interviewed by SWI Board Trustee Susie Finlayson. Coinneach Macleod told tales from his life, sang Gaelic songs with his partner, Peter, and generally stole the show before signing books for thrilled delegates. What a morning!

An afternoon of winners followed – first the lucky members who had entered the spectacular prize raffle were drawn, then members’ skill was celebrated as the winners of the Evelyn Baxter Trophy, Warnock Trophy, Morgan Trophy and Vaughan Nash Trophy were called to the stage to claim their silverware.

Finally, the first winner of the Margaret Whiteford Trophy was announced – Maz Thorn, of Powmill SWI!

Thanks to everyone who came along, hosted, helped, and exhibited – a full report and pics can be found in the members’ magazine. Women Together.