Pandemics are unlike any other challenges faced by industries and countries. They bring an unprecedented level of anxiety and uncertainty about the future. In these very difficult times, the Women in Rail Team has been determined to retain a close relationship with its male and female members. We devised initiatives to continue to foster a sense of community and keep our members engaged and positive during lockdown.
Our primary focus has been on ensuring that Women in Rail members have access to the support they needed when confined to their home. We compiled a list of the organisations offering help to individuals and families affected by the pandemic and circulated it via the Women in Rail social media channels. These included links to the NHS England volunteer support line, foodbanks, domestic abuse and mental health helplines, to top rated apps for wellbeing, stress relief and meditation and links to free videos to improve CV writing and interview techniques.
We collaborated with Minerva Engagement, an organisation whose initiatives are underpinned by neuroscience, to deliver free weekly wellbeing webinars. Topics to date have ranged from how taking care of our nervous system to ensure wellbeing and resilience, to how to stay connected when socially isolated, how to productively switch between focused attention and mind wandering and to how to regulate emotions and alleviate anxiety in order to flourish.
Mentoring is a powerful mechanism to keep learning and make new connections. In collaboration with Moving Ahead, we adjusted our very successful cross-industry mentoring programme to deliver all events and learning programmes digitally, thus finding innovative ways for mentors and mentees to connect with one another. Moving Ahead also kindly developed a series of live virtual classroom sessions, on how to manage the reality of balancing work and family during isolation, how to create mental health balance at home and how to move from crisis to strategy in leadership roles.
To ensure our members retained connections with people in the industry, we organised a virtual national quiz night. The event was hosted by Chris Fairclough, a professional Event Host and also a Driver Trainer for LNER. Chris guided players through the interactive quiz using an app on their phones, streaming via Facebook Live, so everyone taking part had the opportunity to interact with fellow members and engage in friendly rivalry, just like you would do at a normal “pub quiz”!
Lastly, we recently completed the judging for the Women in Rail Awards scheduled to take place on Tuesday 22nd September at the Roundhouse in Camden. It is a fantastic opportunity to bring great news to all the shortlisted nominees and to give guests something amazing to look forward to.
The Women in Rail team has many more initiatives planned for the next few weeks, to continue to support its members during the pandemic and bring them hope and happiness in these difficult times, so keep looking at our website: www.womeninrail.org and do not hesitate to reach out if we can help you or colleagues in any way.
This Article was authored by Adeline Ginn, Group Strategy and Legal Director, CPMS Group and Founder and Chair of Women in Rail.
To find out more about Women in Rail, visit their website: www.womeninrail.org.