To be honest, I've never really been a huge fan of women only networking events. 

I always thought 'if men had men-only events women would go nuts!' 

Plus, if you exclude 50% of people from attending you're missing out on 50% of knowledge sharing and networking opportunities. 

So when I was asked to get involved with organising the International Women's Day conference in Sunderland a couple of years ago I was a bit sceptical at first...but two years on I am so bloody glad that I did!

I quickly learnt how naive I was being - International Women's Day has absolutely nothing to do with excluding men, or men-bashing in general - it's about simply celebrating women. Celebrating one sex doesn't mean excluding or criticising the other, it's just shining the light on the achievements of amazing women all over the world.

Even better, I got to be a part of celebrating the women right here in the North East who are doing amazing things, most of the time without any recognition.

It's giving them a platform to share their stories with other women AND men in the hope of inspiring, educating and basically showing off how many bad-ass ladies there are in business.

With the second event I've had the absolute honour to be involved in coming up on the 8th March it's becoming one of the highlights of the year. Not only would I encourage women in the region to come along, but men these are stories you should be hearing too! So although it's a day to celebrate women, don't feel excluded gents, we want you to come along and celebrate too.