A traditional conference format, with jam-packed sessions and seemingly fleeting breaks in between, can be particularly challenging for working mothers, according to Carrie Kwan, co-founder and managing director of Mums & Co, an Australian network of business-owning mothers.
So when it comes to the group’s annual flagship event, Be MPowered, the organisation doesn’t play by the rules – they rethink everything from content to the conference format.
“The traditional business framework doesn’t suit mothers, nor does a traditional event format,” says Kwan.
In 2019, Be MPowered organisers introduced on-site childcare facilities for conference attendees, removing one of the major barriers working mothers face in attending events.
This year, the event will return in June with a flexible, hybrid format that embraces the best of face-to-face and virtual conferencing.
A survey commissioned by Mums & Co found 30 per cent of business-owning mothers live in regional areas and often lack access to upskilling and networking events.
To attract as many delegates as possible this year, the conference will take place in Sydney and will be supported by satellite member events across Australia and a real-time, online broadcast.
For virtual attendees, a digital swag bag will be available offering special food deliveries and activities for the kids.
In another shake-up of the traditional conference format, the event will be held within school hours to suit mothers with older children.
Rethinking conference content
For the 2021 event, Kwan says the conference content will be “snackable and stackable”.
This means each session will run for just seven minutes, with four sessions per hour to avoid fatigue and to allow ample time in between.
Kwan says this extra time is crucial for delegates to check work emails, catch up on tasks around the house and allows them to prioritise topics relevant to their business needs.
“This year, we sought to find a solution to bridge the demands of motherhood and business,” she says.
“We deeply understand the needs of busy business-owning mums and designed a conference specifically to suit them.”
While this event is specifically designed for working mothers, similar changes to your business event may open it up to a wider audience and make it more accessible to working mothers.
Find out more about Be MPowered, taking place on 2 June 2021, here.