Welcome to my personal website.
The idea for this site has its roots
as far back as late summer 1998 when my housemate suggested that I should register
my domain name and promote my personal brand. I was living in California at the
I returned from America in Spring 1999, and by then the energy of
the West Coast, and the dot com revolution unfolding there, had clearly seeped
into my consciousness because I began to think about creating my own website more.
I was reframing my relationship to the think tank I had helped found and build
at the time, and needed to find a way of separating out my personal brand from
the organisational brand. In fact I never really did - it seemed such a Gordian
knot to unravel, and time, and the need to earn an income not to mention fuzzy
thinking, intervened, and delayed me again.
It was later that year - Autumn
1999 - that the internet bug began to infect me like a virus, and I generated
lots of ideas about how different communities and networks might use the internet
to achieve their goals. I didn't know who or what I was writing them for - but
the world of politics suddenly seemed confined in ways that it had not felt before
New Labour came to power, and I discerned that the 'new economy' was fresh terrain
for innovation, and creativity. Before too long, I became distracted in my next
'big idea' - elancentric (now sadly deceased) which secured seed investment of
almost half a million pounds. I set up elancentric.com Limited in April 2000 and
moved from the world of traditional media and think tanks into uncharted territory
- and went through another career reinvention and became a dot com entrepreneur.
My personal brand suddenly became less important than building my new organisational
brand. So I got busy, busy, busy.
I emerged from the dot com doldrums in
April 2001, unable to secure venture capital investment in a market climate that
was now hostile to dot com ventures. And although my business had been selected
as one of the top ten internet start ups of 2001 in the national e-commerce awards,
it had not actually made a penny, and was limping fatally wounded into the 21st
century. To buy the business and myself some time to ride out the difficult market,
I fell back on my own rather anarchic pattern of self-employment, and ideas entrepreneurship,
which meant pulling work in for my ideas from wherever I could find it.
that year, Genderquake
Limited was born and I drew on my personal practical experience of
the new economy, as well as my knowledge of gender issues and social and economic
trends to write 'Dot
Bombshell - women, e-quality and the new economy'
for The Industrial Society's Futures Division, now The Work Foundation.
Dot Bombshell set out my vision for what needed to happen if the potential of
women in the new economy was to be fully realised by policy makers, and business.
In retrospect 2001 ushered in a period of innovation and creativity, not
just with the creation of Genderquake, and the writing of the Dot Bombshell report,
but also my involvement with the Our Partnership project.
Suddenly I was
able to use all the learning and experience painfully gained at my own financial
risk to do strategy consultancy which combined my traditional areas of expertise
(like brand building, name generation, policy and communications work) with new
skills like internet strategy, website design and deployment, business incubation,
and e-learning. I also had the invaluable experience of working on a project about
partnership working which was itself a partnership of organisations and individuals
from different cultures, and with different experiences. So it was fertile ground
for seeing how well ideas transplant between different sectors, and how challenging
but ultimately fruitful partnership working can be.
That wave of learning
- testing the ideas and experience gained in one sector and applying it in another
- has continued to this day, and has led me into some interesting experiences
with charities like 4Children, as well as seeing the launch of another digital
founded with my sister, Laura Wilkinson, also a Director of Genderquake Limited.
Over this period, I've always kept the idea of launching www.helenwilkinsom.com
alive, partly because I wanted to have a place where I could direct people when
they asked me that awful 'What do you do?' question which I often find so difficult
to answer. But also because it gives me the opportunity to put down all the learning
and things I've been up to since I returned from the States in 1999, because about
90% of the work I've done since then is behind the scenes work, and not particularly
public or high profile in ways that my work was in the past.
neither of my two other websites - neither
www.genderquake.com nor www.hagsharlotsheroines.com
can quite do justice to who I am and what I do.
So here it is finally
- www.helenwilkinson.com is here - describing where I've come from, what I've
done, am still doing, and giving a hint of where I might be going.
I use the
word hint deliberately. Because right now even I am not sure of what the future
holds. I am on my third sabbatical - and unlike the other two - I have managed
to wrest control of my life and enjoy some of the simpler things - like long walks,
writing my journal, meditating, keeping fit and soon starting to train for the
New York marathon in November this year. I'm also using the time out to nurture
a personal pet project which I have no idea whether I can do, still less succeed
at. But I just know that I need to do it, regardless of the outcome. Let's just
say that if I do succeed, I hope the writing section of this site will become
In the meantime, enjoy your visit to www.helenwilkinson.com.
Rest assured I will keep you posted of any ideas that come my way that I think
deserve a wider audience, and in the meantime, please also visit my sister sites,
where you can find out about how we can work with you, and www.hagsharlotsheroines.com,
where you can join a network of change agents interested in the power of words,
and herstory to draw out the lessons for our present, and our future.
and if you like this site, and the others, please also think about using our Creative
Services which my sister, Laura is responsible for. She can help you develop your
own online presence, and communicate your vision.
And finally many thanks
are due to her for being such a supportive midwife during the birth of www.helenwilkinson.com.
In the meantime, enjoy!