This post from our North of England network, which was established in the summer of 2019, tells of how the network developed and what it does for IP Inclusive Charter signatories and supporters in the region.

We’ll be posting about our other regional networks over the coming weeks. Meanwhile you can find out more about them, and subscribe to their mailing lists, here. And if you’d like to help set up a new one, closer to where you work, please do get in touch: it would be a great thing to kick off during IP Inclusive Week, which this year runs from 11-17 November.


How did it start?

The North of England Network has evolved from the rapid development of IP Inclusive as an organisation: as the number of Charter signatories and IP Inclusive events has grown in the last couple of years, it has becoming increasingly evident that IP professionals across the North are keen to embrace and promote the importance of diversity and inclusion across the IP spectrum.

Most notably, whilst the seminars, panel discussions, webinars and social events being run by Women in IP, IP and ME, IP Out and IP Futures are becoming ever more popular, it is clear that gathering people in the same room is the most powerful and effective way to share experiences and ideas, provide support and understanding, and simply to network with each other.

Broadening our reach

IP Inclusive’s North of England Network aims to organise two big events a year, with ideally one every quarter to cover a range of topics and offer alternative ways of getting involved. 27 June 2019 saw the official launch of the North of England Network through the IP Connected Bubbles Event organised by the Women in IP community. Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield were three of the eight cities hosting this nationwide networking event, with IP professionals representing every level, role and gender sharing experiences and stories.

Most recently, the North of England Network organised a panel discussion on “Flexible Working – making it work for you and others”. The event was hosted in Leeds on 8 October 2019 with live broadcasts to venues in York, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle. The discussions were lively and enlightening, with even a few references to “dinosaurs” thrown in. It was an excellent opportunity for the local networks to learn from one another, as well as enjoying some refreshments afterwards whilst sharing ideas and thoughts following the discussions.

What next?

We are keen to continue these events, both the more and the less formal. Whilst we appreciate the pressures on all our diaries, the more we can share what works well and ideas for enhancing all our lives, the more enjoyable both working and personal life will be. If anyone would like to get involved, please contact any of us below and we will welcome whatever support you can offer, from office space, to ideas for events, to experiences and advice to share.


The North of England network committee
(Karen Greville-Woods, Abdul Lawal, Vanessa Stainthorpe & Joanna Thurston)
October 2019



The current North of England network committee members are:

  • Vanessa Stainthorpe (HGF) (committee lead)
  • Catherine French (Sacco Mann)
  • Abdul Lawal (Franks & Co)
  • Liam O’Connor (Marks & Clerk)
  • Joanna Thurston (Withers & Rogers)

You can contact the North of England network at, or join their LinkedIn group.



Page published on 22nd October 2019
Page last modified on 19th May 2020
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