Leaders of the future: Catholic women in public life

Julie Etchingham, Marie-Claire Amuah, and Baroness O’Loan, DBE on the panel

In early November, 50 women gathered in the London Jesuit Centre on a cold and rainy evening for the ‘Leaders of the future: Catholic women in public life’ event, which was co-organised by CAFOD and the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

The event was a celebration to mark our 60th anniversary, and to reflect on our beginnings as a charity, and where we are going in the future. We were delighted to be joined by Julie Etchingham (CAFOD Ambassador, Journalist and Newsreader), Marie-Claire Amuah (barrister and author), and Baroness O’Loan, DBE (crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, and former Police Ombudsman), as our panellists for the evening who spoke with such raw honesty and compassion.

Throughout the evening our panellists covered a variety of topics from imposter syndrome, raising children whilst also trying to progress in their careers, to the importance of male allyship in workspaces and so much more.

On the event itself Baroness O’Loan commented saying “Thank you for having me tonight, it’s been a really wonderful event, I have met some absolutely amazing young women and I have great faith in the future, and I think they’re very brave, very spirited, and blessed with great gifts.”

Attendees commented on the event saying:

“I feel quite honoured to be here today, you wouldn’t normally meet these inspiring women on a day-to-day basis, so to hear their stories, how they started, how they live their lives was just amazing, and has inspired me greatly in what I do as my job.”

“I would say the rain outside was awful, and you come along to an event like this, and you think am I really going to be in it?, and tonight we heard the words from three amazing women it was so raw but it was so authentic, that it doesn’t matter now if it’s raining outside because I feel uplifted, I feel empowered to be the catholic women I want to be.”

Supporters who attended the event networked with our panellists afterwards over food and drinks, with many saying they wished the evening went on later. What was clear from the evening is that spaces and networks such as these are so important and more needs to be done in order to bring Catholic women together in community to share and network with one another.

You can find out how to support us during our 60th anniversary year.

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