Cumbria WISH members get assertive

17th March 2016


WISH Cumbria gets assertive – it is OK to say no

Cumbrian branch of WISH (Women in Social Housing), held their latest event in Kendal, where attendees learned a few new tricks to help them become more assertive. Speaker Emma McColm from Lakes Coaching provided top tips, highlighting the difference between assertiveness and aggression.

Feedback from women working in social housing right across Cumbria provided the organisers of WISH Cumbria with a list of topics that would be really useful for personal development. How to be more confident and assertive were at the top of that list. WISH events have been held in other parts of the country, but the WISH Cumbria team were keen to source local providers and eager to work with Lakes Coaching.

Over twenty women took part in the event, including a team from Napthens Solicitors who sponsored the event. Carolyn Greenhalgh Assistant Director at Eden Housing Association and Chair of WISH Cumbria said “Our group is definitely gathering momentum and that’s because we have such a good mix of people; there were solicitors, surveyors, maintenance contractors as well as those involved in fund raising and housing management. It created a really nice buzz on the day and was good to see people from different walks of life, all connected to housing in some way.”

“Emma gave us the basic tools for dealing with difficult situations – we all agreed it’s hard to say no!   She showed us the difference between assertiveness which focuses on problems or issues, compared to aggression which is fuelled by frustration and personal emotion. The trick is how you deal with it.”

South Lakes Housing hosted the event, Lindsay Simons, Director of their Corporate Services said “Emma packed a huge amount into the session and we learned that using facts to express our argument is a very effective way to make a point with conviction. We also learned that you can compromise without being a doormat and what you allow is what will continue.”

Summing up the session attendee Carolyn Greenhalgh said “Learning to say no without feeling guilty is very empowering – and it’s true what Emma said ‘what you allow is what will continue.’ Hopefully we have all learned something to help us improve how we get our messages across.”

The next WISH Cumbria event is a networking lunch followed by an outstanding guest speaker. As an Opera singer and First Lady of the London Quartet, Sarah-Ann Cromwell is sure to give a powerful performance, helping attendee’s deal with nerves and hold a room to attention, giving them a toolkit to help project confidence and create a professional impact. It is being held at Penrith Rugby FC Club on Wednesday 18th May.

Members of WISH NW and WISH Cumbria can attend the event free of charge, with tickets for non-members at £30. To register, visit the Cumbria event page at,

Getting assertive with WISH Cumbria in Kendal

Pictures: Attendees at the Cumbrian WISH Assertiveness meeting with Emma McColm (white shirt black trim centre) from Lakes Coaching near Kendal, held at South Lakes Housing Association, Kendal.   For more information or pictures contact Tracey Errington on 07799 640 290 or email [email protected]

Editors notes:   WISH operates across the UK, to support women working in jobs right across the housing sector. In the past, with Cumbria being so geographically remote it has been harder for women living and working in this sector to network. The new Cumbria WISH group has already made great strides to change that, with a year long programme of events and training opportunities taking place across county including Carlisle, Kendal, Penrith and Cockermouth.,


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