Embracing the Midlife Journey: Celebrating International Menopause Day

Hi Everyone, I am Laila Salamat and I have been chairing the Menopause network since October 2021. Happy International Menopause Day! Let’s keep on spreading the word and re iterating that this is not a taboo subject! It is a natural phase of a women’s life and we should celebrate our upgrade. Believe me when I say: 'There is life after hormone fluctuations!'

Our midlife is something we should be embracing. It's a time to start understanding ourselves and what our needs are as we are ripening to maturity; this is in the best part of the learning curve. We are supercharged with knowledge and experience and really know how to get things done. Everyone’s journey/transition is different, and our menopause network is here to support you during this phase of life. To celebrate this day we have organised collaboratively with other UH staff and teams to host a mini event!

Our Menopause event is being held in the Hutton Hall, from 10.15am until 3.10 pm. We will have: 

  • guest speakers on how to get the best out of 10 minutes with your GP,
  • HRT discussions,
  • Active Staff speaking on why strength training is essential,
  • alternative health and nutrition talks with smoothie and taster bars,
  • online meetings in the afternoon on self-care (body and mind) and how to reach your goals,
  • refreshments at lunchtime, 12 until 1pm.
We are hoping to have a good face to face engagement as this is our first time running this event.  Please do join us!

I am thankful that this network was established four years ago by Julie Kelly and we have seen this network grow to nearly 200 staff. Julie is one of our biggest supporters and has been a key Senior Champion in ensuring that we have been able to support our women here at Herts.  She was key in enabling us to reach out to all female staff to grow our network from 60 in 2021.  This year, on International Women’s Day, Julie gave a presentation on the reason why she established this network, further solidifying her pivotal role in our community. 

Throughout my time as chair I have worked closely with the EDI team and met other amazing network chairs who are equally enthusiastic about their networks, we are working towards the intersectionality of aligning together to support showing kindness, no judgement and acceptance of others.  

I have also established good connections with external speakers who have delivered presentations on menopause matters, HRT, wellbeing and managing stress. We have also utilised our internal support and resources here at Herts with lecturers giving time to deliver presentations. These include Katerina Vafeiado covering nutrition, Ana O'Connell focusing on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Rowena Senior leading sessions on decision-making with courage. Furthermore, under the capable leadership of Fiona Scott, the Active Staff team has introduced a robust strength training program, "This Girl Can." In our commitment to providing comprehensive support, we've also ensured that there is guidance available for managers regarding menopause-related matters because we believe it's a crucial aspect of our support system.

But what next?  We now have two new Senior Champions Chizoma Okaro (Director of HR) and Jackie Kelly (Dean of School Health and Social work) who I am sure will add to this network and I am really looking forward to this new alliance for the network and hope to establish more good things for our women here at UH.


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