Media Parents

Monthly Archives: December 2010

New Year, New You : January 10th Event – MORE THAN RESOLUTIONS


I'm delighted to announce our first event of 2010. On Monday Jan 10th from
6:30 - 9pm Life Coach Angus Fletcher will be running a FREE coaching
session MORE THAN RESOLUTIONS for Media Parents subscribers in Central

In this session you'll get clear about what you are going to achieve in
the year ahead. We will clarify your destination, determine the resources
that will assist you, and pinpoint the challenges you are likely to face
over the year. You will leave understanding the actions you will take and
the state of mind you will need to achieve those actions. The session will
involve working individually and with your colleagues.
To reserve your place please email

Angus Fletcher is an NLP Master Practitioner and is certified to coach individuals, teams and relationships.  He has over 15 years experience of the non-profit sector in roles ranging from IT Director, Project Management and Fundraising Director.   He has coached teams in the non-profit sector, schools, prisons and corporate settings. Angus is also the founder of Streetcoaching, a company specialising in coaching people on the go in the city.  He is pictured in the Media Parents Christmas Party photos.

take life in your stride

Angus Fletcher

December 17, 2010 @ 2:02 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents Christmas Party in London


Please find yourself on the Christmas Party photos below and comment to identify yourself!  Thanks to all those who came and made it a great party!

2. Media Parents Director Amy Walker, centre and Jo Tracy, right.

3. Emily Freshwater, Will Bulman, Kylie McCarroll (lovely nails), Amy Walker, lady in pink, Jo Tracy.

4. Robin O'Sullivan and Elliott Cranmer, left, Rebecca Dowell and Michelle Dalton, right.

5. Sarah and Zain Sabur.

6. Amber Rose, the first Media Parents baby to be born, and Zoe Fryer.

7. Rear : Anna Brabbins, Clare Richards and Tim Allan. Front left, Media Parents Director Amy Walker, Julann Smyth, Emily Freshwater.

8. Jill Robertson tries to get away from Elliott Cranmer, right.

9. From left Mikhael Junod, Caroline Bourne, Rosie Bowen-Jones, Sarah Andrew. Foreground Benjamin and his mum.

10. Media Parents first baby-off. From left Linsey Winton and Raphy, Zoe Fryer and Amber Rose, Samantha Williams and Nyome.


22. McCracken Jnr, Jean Manthorpe, Hazel Palmer

22. Jude Parker, Alex Evans, Eoin O'Shea.

23. Background Anna Bonnadio, Corinne Sweet and Teresa Nunn.

24. Teresa Nunn and Lubna Bhatti with some enormous glasses of white.

25. Karen Jenkinson and Heidi Cross

26. Toral Dixit and Angus Fletcher

27. George Hencken, left, Jane Lush, Alison Martin, Kate Gibbard

28. Alison Matthews.

29. Alison Matthews talks to Nina Ferguson, foreground.

30. Mikhael Junod, Angus Fletcher and Kat Hencken.

31. Erica Wolfe-Murray, Shurwin Harwood, Jean Manthorpe.

32. Gorgeous.

33. Amy Walker and Raphy talk to Jean Manthorpe and Carl Callum.

34. Linsey Winton, Lyn Burgess, Amy Walker and Raphy Winton.

35. Corinne Sweet and Iain Mitchell.

36. Nyome Williams and Donald.



39. Anna Brabbins, Claire Grossmith and her dad.

40. Donald, Ronald and little cracker Nyome Williams.

Many thanks to all those who came along and made it a great event, and to ENVY for their kind hosting.  Happy Christmas from Media Parents.

17. Media Parents Director Amy Walker, shamelessly minesweeping. Julann Smyth was a graceful victim.

18. Lucy Sandys-Winsch, left.

19. Hello! Clare Richards, Tim Allan (as Curtis Brown), Anna Brabbins.

11. Jean Manthorpe and Erica Wolfe-Murray, right.

12. Angus Fletcher, foreground, Farrah Jaufuraully, centre, Corinne Sweet, rear right of frame.

13. Jane Lush and Kate Gibbard with Alison Martin.

15. This lady was not buying any of Jake Sumner's chat.

16. George Hencken foreground, with Alex Evans, Eoin O'Shea, Jude Parker and Hazel Palmer's hair.

December 15, 2010 @ 4:57 pm Posted in Events, News Leave a comment

How to Network Effectively


Media Parents Series Producer Suzie Marsh discovers How to Network Effectively is running a series of Christmas Parties and networking events in early 2011 to help you make connections, so here are some pointers on effective networking.

One of the hardest things to do as a freelancer is keep up your contacts, harder still is finding new ones. And it’s a million times harder to find the confidence if you’ve been out of the game having babies.  Media Parents is here to help with that. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been though, taking off the baby head and putting on the work head again can feel a bit uncomfortable, and almost like it doesn’t quite fit the same either. Or, if you’ve been out of work for longer than planned (or wanted!) your confidence can take a large knock too.

I went along to a networking event on behalf of Media Parents set up by ‘Third Door’ in Putney. It’s run by parents Shazia Mirzia and Yusuf who were looking for a better way to balance work and childcare. Their idea brought the two together. A nursery downstairs, and rentable office space upstairs for parents who want to work flexibly.  They also put together events to help people returning to work, those who are starting a new venture or just giving people the chance to meet new people – networking.

The event was not only ‘traditional’ networking (working the room whilst balancing a glass of wine and vol au vent in your hand), the evening started with a talk about the techniques and methods for making networking work for you. Anna Smee, a Business Consultant from Ovens & Smee, spoke to the group about ‘How to Network Effectively’.

She broke it down into three areas to consider:

1. Planning

2. Execution

3. Management


1. What/Who is your focus? To get a job, to broaden your contact base, to re-establish yourself and get yourself out and about again.

2. Who should you speak to? Think broadly to find people who can give you opinions, not just people who can hire you, but people who can give you background on a company/programme or information about the industry at the moment.

3. What is your objective at a networking event? Just to meet people and get out there, or make concrete connections?

4. Compare yourself against others, can you be different, how can you highlight your talents and stand out?

5. Timeline the three areas: planning, execution and management.

6. Manage your online presence

-       Be more visible by making comments – write for the Media Parents blog and watercooler, write for journals, use comment to improve your personal brand

-       Understand the sector, track your ‘brand’ development (google yourself; can you do anything to improve it, what you’re associated with etc. Or is there someone else with the same name as you?)


At the networking event

The most important thing is to prepare before you go – look at the list of attendees, do your research, find out about them and what programmes genres you have in common (if you’re coming to one of the Media Parents Christmas parties the names of some of the attendees are on the Media Parents watercooler – for a reason. It’s good to know who’s who.  You can Google images of other people to give yourself a headstart.

Sharing information can lead to all kinds of leads, direct and indirect. The purpose of an event is about exchanging details and finding mutual contacts. But it shouldn’t be all about me, me, me! It’s about building bridges, making connections and sharing information about programmes and people. So, as much as you would like advice and help yourself, you should also be helping others with what you can offer. Maybe you’ve heard that a company is looking for researchers (you’re a producer, so not for you) pass on the info, it might be a stepping stone for someone else.

Don’t forget, you are interesting and other people will value your opinions. Something we don’t often consider is that other people feel nervous too, even Execs can be worried about meeting new people.

The worst bit of networking is if the person you’re speaking to seems distracted or disinterested. DON’T take it personally. Everyone has a lot of things on their mind all the time, it almost certainly isn’t you that is making them behave that way, but instead the fact that maybe their child is ill and they want to go home, or they’ve got a big presentation in the morning and want to get off and finish it. If you can see it’s happening, be resilient and professional, say your thank yous and move on.

What if you want to leave the conversation? Sometimes the talk can tend to wander and neither knows how to end it and move on. Honesty is the best policy. After you’ve exchanged details and talked about mutual interests, say, ‘It’s been lovely to meet you and I think I should go and try and meet a few other people tonight too’.

After the event

1.    Always send thank yous to the organisers. Be courteous, and you’ll be invited again and remembered too.

2.    With the new contacts you made; wait a few days before contacting; phone calls are better than emails. Always prepare what you’re going to say, have a little script ready. Stick with it and keep trying, perseverance will out!


There are two areas to consider:

Data Management

It’s very important to keep track of business contacts and any relevant and mutual information. Then if you meet them again, you’ll remember you both are interested in; rugby, running or maybe you’ve worked on the same shows, and will appear (and actually be) super organised with a fantastic memory!

Relationship Management

Ask friends and family for help. Just chatting about opportunities, what you’re looking for in the future, they might just have something that can help. With your friends in the business, don’t expect or ask them for a job, but ask them to look out for you, maybe the name of the HR person at the company they’re at. But don’t put pressure on them to deliver. Those relationships are for the long term and should be nurtured.

Not all networking is about going to events where you’re expected to work the room. Think about the people in your life and those relationships that may be able to help you. There are three types of relationships, to consider.

1.    Offers support – these people don’t work in the same business as you, but you can be honest with them, and they are with you. They may not help you find a job but they will help you stay motivated.

2.    Refers/ Recommends – These people will usually work in the same business as you, and will email on your behalf to their contacts, forward your emails and put you in touch with others.

3.    Consider you a candidate – These people want to employ you, but maybe haven’t got the right job for you at the moment. Make sure you keep in touch and let them know what you’re doing, every couple of months.

Think long term about your relationships. It’s not a harsh hard sell, as you’ll probably only work there once. And it’s not how often people will help you, but the fact that they’re willing to at all. Don’t forget it’s a two way street, you should enjoy what you can give, as much as what you hope to receive. What goes around comes around…

Suzie Marsh, flexible working Series Producer


I’m predominantly a studio producer, having spent fifteen years doing live programming including many many ‘This Mornings’!

After having children I branched out in Edit Producing (BBC Ent), and P/Ding, including running VT departments, as well as development. I’ve also SP’d youth discussion and magazine shows, as well as compilations shows. I chose to take on a variety of short term contracts to maintain a reasonable work/family life balance.

I’m looking to progress my career again now they’re both at school (and super keen to go to Disney World).

Suzie Marsh’s full biog and CV can be found at Details of the Media Parents Christmas parties where you can network to your heart’s content can be found elsewhere on this blog or by emailing

December 7, 2010 @ 2:07 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

Media Parents flexible working meeting : Bristol – who said what (1).


In November Media Parents held a meeting in Bristol called “Can TV work more flexibly in the South West?”  Many employers and freelancers from across the South West gathered to have their say.   The overwhelming message of the evening?  If you want to work flexibly you’ve got to start by having the courage to ASK…

A full list of those attending can be found elsewhere on this blog: It's worth looking at the attendance list to see some of the employers who support flexible working, and some of the talent that wants to work flexibly. They can all be found at

Media Parents Director, Amy Walker :

“I hope we will be able to discuss the viability of flexible working from both a business and creative standpoint this evening, that we go away better informed and inspired to make positive changes. is all about flexible work that suits you – as a freelancer or as an employer. is a new jobs and social networking website which collects short-term contracts, part-time, job share and regular hours media jobs in one place so experienced talent can find them.

We all know the hair-raising stat about 5000 women leaving TV and 750 men over 3 years.  But that’s not the only one –  compare the percentage of people in the national workforce as a whole who are parents – 62%  - with industry norms for TV:

% of men in TV who are parents : 34% And women in TV who are parents: 21%

Media Parents are now largely considered to be a diversity group. Within a relatively short time, the Cultural Diversity Network has named working with Media Parents as one way to fulfil its Diversity Pledge – the one which Channel 4 has said companies must be signed up to or Channel 4 will no longer commission from them.   So please GET INVOLVED!”

Chris Hutchins (centre) Head of Talent for Factual and the NHU at BBC Bristol

Chris Hutchins, Head of Talent for Factual and the NHU at BBC Bristol : “Our workforce doesn’t reflect the diversity of our viewers – and that includes parents.  We NEED to change. I’m committed to making flexible working work here at the BBC and I will persuade my colleagues to get on board.”
Chris is the new head of talent at the NHU and BBC factual.  He’s been in the new post since September and was Series Producing before that.  He claims that most of his team does or has worked flexibly, and that he’s always encouraged this.  It makes people happier.
“Parents are better time managers and so very desirable employees.” Chris admits that this is easier to achieve on some projects more than others, especially within the NHU it’s possible though – it can be a good use of budget to have part time workers.  Chris’s own mother was an actress, so he’s familiar with the problems she had juggling care of him and his brother.
Chris is trying to convince other BBC departments that flexible working can work for the employer. If anyone feels the BBC isn’t getting it right, let him know.

COMING NEXT : Annie Warburton from Skillset and the Bristol Anchor Partnership speaks.

With thanks to Chris Hutchins and BBC Bristol for hosting, to Harriet Wallace, Kate Edwards, and Rachael Power for taking notes, and to Amy Organ for taking photos.

December 6, 2010 @ 8:53 pm Posted in Events, News Leave a comment

“TV – No Career for a Woman?” RTS Debate


On November 17th Media Parents Series Producer Alison Martin organised a debate for the RTS in Southampton called “TV – No Career for a Woman?”  Here’s Alison’s summary of who was there and what was said. is working to provide solutions to many of the issues raised below so do join us!

The "TV - No Career for a Woman?" panel in Southampton

  • Mandy Cooper (Former TV Producer now Head of Communications at Dorset Cereals)
  • Lorraine Heggessey (Former controller BBC1 and CEO Talkback)
  • Dermot Caulfield (Series Editor, Bang Goes The Theory – a single dad with 3 small kids)
  • Ruth Pitt (Executive Producer and Screen Yorkshire Board Member)
  • Fiona Phillips (TV Presenter and Journalist)
  • Jo Ball (MD Ricochet)

Here are the headlines:

  • People were shocked by the Skillset report findings in terms of women leaving the industry over the last 3 years (750 men versus 5000 women)
  • It may be easier for women to get into television, but it’s getting harder to keep them
  • There was disagreement over whether the Miriam O’Reilly case shows ageism or not
  • Women are making enormous sacrifices to stay in TV, and many are giving up because they can’t see a way to balance work and home
  • Lorraine and Fiona had some great anecdotes about their struggle to the top
  • A rough manifesto for change was put forward

Lorraine Heggessey (right)

LORRAINE HEGGESSEY: (making her first appearance on a public stage since leaving Talkback)

  • “I know Jay and it’s not true she dislikes women” (re O’Reilly case)
  • Argued that moving Countryfile to primetime was “a hugely courageous decision”, and you have to consider what’s right for the slot
  • Says dozens of beautiful young women come to see her, wanting to be presenters, and they won’t stand a chance because they don’t have that special something
  • Told a hilarious story about having to have dinner at short notice with the gangster Mad Frankie Fraser when one of her daughters was a baby – she took her to the restaurant and had to breastfeed her in front of him
  • Was shocked at the Skillset figures and wondered whether women took redundancy because the blokes would fight, so the women would say “all right, I’ll go then”
  • Said that earlier in her career she felt she had to “out-bloke the blokes”
  • People assumed when she got the BBC1 job that she would be useless until proved brilliant, whereas people assume men are brilliant until proved otherwise
  • Thinks women are getting better at asking for more money
  • Describes one Sunday evening when she was trying to match her daughter’s white socks ready for school, and she thought to herself “I bet Alan Yentob doesn’t have to do this!”
  • Has always paid to get the housework done, so she can concentrate on the kids

Fiona Phillips and the panel at RTS No Career for a Woman Event


  • Has battled to find a work/family balance, which often led to clashes with her husband over child-care
  • Once had to interview Victoria Beckham at short notice and couldn’t find childcare, so took her baby with her and fortunately Posh’s mum was there and ‘scooped my baby up’ and looked after him. She recalls her son playing on a mat with Brooklyn
  • Says she “finds it cringeworthy” to think about what Miriam O’Reilly is doing, because presenters “have to get on with it and take the good times with the bad”. But she laments that there are not more older women on screen (she loved watching Cilla Black) and asks why, by contrast, there are “so many wrinkly old blokes” instead
  • Still feels guilty that she was working too hard when her mother was ill
  • Recalled one former boss calling her into his room (he had his feet on the desk) and demanding “Phillips, darn my socks will you!”
  • Says she sometimes wishes she had “a real profession…I always wanted to be a doctor”!

Jo Ball, MD Ricochet, right


  • Was a single parent from the start of her career
  • Struggled to find a balance in the early years
  • Thinks “maybe we should all have babies a bit younger”
  • Recommends women move to the regions to improve their chances of getting a work-life balance
  • Says work pressures are “probably the reason why I only have one child”
  • Also thinks “you have to accept that having a child is going to eat into your time
  • Argues strongly that age and beauty are not the issues around women presenters. “it’s not about how you look, it’s about personality”
  • Points to Sarah Beeny as the quintessential woman on screen. “She’s a brilliant presenter with 4 kids. She does it her way”. Thinks women generally should be a bit more ballsy
  • Fights hard to keep her top women staff whatever their domestic commitments – “Some people are just too valuable to lose”

Mandy Cooper, ex TV Producer, left


  • Left the industry (was a series producer at the BBC) because she wanted a better work-life balance
  • Moved to Dorset to raise her family
  • Laments the collapse of TV jobs in the regions, which afford many women a better balance and often give them access to relatives who can help with childcare
  • You also avoid long commutes, ie wasting hours on the train when you could be at home with the kids
  • “TV’s not the only job there is”!
  • Loves her work in PR
  • Mentors are a really useful way of helping women stay on track in their TV careers


  • Became a single dad of three kids under 10 when his wife died a couple of years ago
  • Was treated “like a minor celebrity” by other people, which single mums never get
  • Culture of presentee-ism is problematic: “doing the job well is not about how long you stay in the office”
  • Admits he rarely goes filming in order to manage his family commitments better
  • Says he became a dad very early and felt isolated from the other blokes he worked with, because they were always going out while he stayed in
  • Didn’t quite realise how much support he’d had from his wife (a doctor) until he lost her
  • Argues that it’s easier for people in the higher echelons to manage family commitments, because they have the cash to sort childcare etc
  • Competition for jobs doesn’t help women with restricted working hours: “I advertised for a runner and had over 100 applications. With that kind of competition you’re going to employ the person best placed to give you 100%”

Ruth Pitt chaired the panel and invited comment from the audience

  • One woman said she had an abortion so she could take a job
  • One said she had just left the BBC at 42, disillusioned, had sacrificed having kids for her career – and now feels she made a big mistake
  • One said she felt ‘over the top’ at 35 and was wondering ‘what next’
  • One was a PHD student, investigating the gender gap in TV with Skillset
  • Several people said the collapse of ITV in the regions had been devastating for many women
  • One man said “let’s face it, women are better than men!”


The panel agreed the following could help keep women in TV:

  • More flexible working (but NOT full-time work for part-time pay) is a great place to find flexible working options – or any jobs – we let the talent choose if the work is right.
  • Good mentoring schemes The Women in Film & TV scheme is up and running but full for this year,  Media Parents has been approached by companies offering to mentor so if you’re interested either as a mentor or mentee please email
  • More opportunities in the regions, where work-life balance is easier to achieve Media Parents is going regional – join us at one of the Christmas Parties, and watch out for much more regional activity from early 2011
  • Support for women to set up their own companies Media Parents blog, facebook and watercooler are all great places to share information and resources
  • More high-profile role models not afraid to talk openly about their commitments Read the Media Parents blog to see some of the great events that have given people a platform to talk about their experiences this year – and if you have something to say please make contact
  • More job-sharing enables you to find other freelancers with a similar skillsbase, and indicate to employers who your chosen jobshare partners would be.  See elsewhere on the Media Parents site and for information about companies who support flexible working in media, and how to approach them.

Media Parents member Alison Martin


Alison Martin trained as a journalist at ITN. She reported and presented for Meridian’s regional politics programme and ITV – “…on the day Diana, Princess of Wales died I was part of ITV’s presenting team tasked with telling the nation the terrible news.”

A life on the road beckoned… After a stint as a Senior Producer at GMTV Alison switched to the BBC producing Watchdog and then Rogue Traders. “Whilst making Rogue I fell pregnant. I spent the nine months squeezing my bump into cramped vans as we filmed undercover. When it came to confronting the rogues I was ordered to stand behind a burly security guard!”

Alison was part of the start up team for the BBC’s flagship early evening magazine – The ONE Show where she was responsible for the topical and current affairs output. Now she freelances in TV and is developing her writing and presenting work.  Find her at

@ 2:45 pm Posted in Events, News 2 Comments

Media Parents Christmas Parties – all welcome!

by is a new jobsite for people who want to work flexibly in media. 5,000 women and 750 men have left TV in the last 3 years (Skillset figures), and the other creative industries are following this pattern. Media Parents wants to help change this trend and keep hold of talent by creating a platform for employers to find experienced workers.

To find out more, why not join us at one of the Media Parents Christmas Parties – they’re not just for Media Parents members so do bring friends and introduce them. There will be a healthy mix of companies, freelancers and broadcasters!

LONDON : from 4pm on Tuesday December 14th we will be at
ENVY, 50a Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JW
Children are welcome in the afternoon (please bring your own toys!)
Adults only from 6:30pm. Drinks and mince pies for early birds.RSVP :

BRIGHTON : from 6:30pm on Tuesday December 7th we will be at
Madame Geisha, 75 – 79 East Street, Brighton BN1 1NF
Annabel Laister and Gilly Smith are organising this and all are welcome.

BRISTOL : from 6:30pm on Thursday December 9th we will be at
Goldbrick House, 69 Park Street, West End, Bristol BS1 5PB
in the Champagne & Cocktail Bar on Level One
It’s a paying bar but mince pies at least are on me!

Please RSVP marking your email with the location of the party to You can also RSVP by clicking the contact button on the Media Parents site.

Wrap up warm!

December 2, 2010 @ 1:09 pm Posted in Events, News Leave a comment