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'When Women Meet' Nottingham’s Diana McKenzie on building a community of professional black women

The second edition of When Women Meet will be held on Saturday, 4th February 2023. Four years after its maiden edition in 2019.

Diana McKenzie, Organiser of 'When Women Meet'

When Women Meet was created after Occupation Health practitioner and businesswoman Diana McKenzie conceived the idea of connecting the women in her network to one another.

“I was meeting these amazing women and I thought it should be interesting to get them all together, I know they would like each other, and they are all doing unique things in terms of business.”

Diana’s own understanding of the lack of representation of black women at certain levels in the corporate sector, inspired her to start this event.

“It's black women that inspire me really, because of my background in nursing and where I have moved in nursing. Outside of the hospital, I have always worked on senior management teams because that is where occupational health sits, and in those spaces, I am usually the only black person there, so I know what it feels like to not have representation or to feel at ease to look over and find someone you can look over and say, hey girl let's go for lunch “

Diana acknowledges that black women are excelling but believes that networking is crucial for them to reach their highest potential.

“Black women are the fastest rising entrepreneurs; they are the fastest rising businesswomen and professionals. I want to see more of us networking and supporting each other because we can't do it alone.”

With a target to reach black women of every demography, the event promises a diverse group of richly selected speakers. From lead speaker Natalie Gasson McKinley (MBE) who heads the federation of small business, to Business coach Yvonne Delgado who will be teaching about the importance of digital footprints, and Author Keisha Swaby who will be talking about health issues.

To fulfill its commitment to providing a diverse experience a few gentlemen are invited to discuss property and wealth management, accessing funding and grants.

“I didn't just want them [men] to be here because they are men, but because I know that they are very committed to women succeeding in business.”

“The good thing about ‘when women meet’ is that every single attendee will have the mic to tell everyone what they do.”

While exposing women to professionals and different networks is the goal of ‘when women meet’, Diana believes in creating a tension free networking environment where women will not only connect on a professional level but can unwind.

“I want it to be relaxed because that's what it is about. It's coming into a space where we have our businesses, we are professionals, we are thinking about it. Wherever we are on the spectrum, I want us to be in a space where we can talk to each other and support each other”

“It is really networking with the intention of supporting and building each other”

“I want to see our money circulate in the black community before it goes out.”

While the event is open to women of all races, it is more focused on black women because of how marginalized black women are. Diana adds:

“My passion is for black women and I do not apologize for that because as a thriving and striving group we are usually the ones that are not well recognized”

“I know black women and who they are, [they..] will never shun any person that comes into their space no matter their race. They will bend over backwards to make you feel comfortable, but I want to focus first on us then expand it out.”

Diana recognizes that women are at different levels professionally and personally therefore there are no restrictions to who can attend.


“We function on any level, we multitask, a mother can come with her kids and she will enjoy the same way. And other women will be there looking out for your kids, it's a safe space when women gather”

The first event successfully connected some of the attendees with one another.

“I saw friends who didn't know each other before the first event start a business together.”

Diana is hopeful for an expansion for future events.”

“I want it to be bigger, I want to go on retreats, I want to focus on health and well-being.”

She is sure that women will be taking a “renewed sense of possibility away from the event.”

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