Harvard Business Review recently published an article with facts supporting the positive impact women only conferences and events can have on the career progression of women who attend. The key point to the article, is there is power in making connections, by attending and participating fully in the experience women can build powerful professional networks. And this is especially true for women in male dominated industries.
Mentoring, networking and building lasting relationships are all integral to career growth, and I’d posit we shouldn’t discount the simple connection for getting started.
A brief story to illustrate this point. A friend of my business partner invited us to attend a women’s forum that had been recently organized by two female partners in a wealth management firm. Finance, like construction, is a male dominated industry and we thought we would attend to show our support for women facing similar challenges to our own. The attendees would most likely be outside of our normal, industry- based networking events, so we hoped to make a connection or two.
Following the event, one of the two organizers, Nancy invited us for coffee. She wanted to get our impression of the event and learn more about us. We met, shared our career stories and promised to stay in touch and to connect anyone we thought would benefit for the other’s network. Fast forward a few months, we are hosting the Constructing Your Future Forum, a day of networking and learning for women in construction. One of the presenters and two of the attendees at our event were a direct result of making a simple connection with Nancy. These ladies, who worked for a general contractor, had also attended a forum and had a follow up coffee date with her. Nancy had seen the recent announcement about our Forum and shared the information, they registered and attended, which allowed us to grow our professional network.
Several of the women we interviewed for our upcoming book were also the result of these simple connections. Asking professional acquaintances for help connecting to successful women in their companies resulted in four of our best interviews. These connections have grown into relationships which have further enhanced our own careers.
We are committed to continuing to build our networks, cultivating relationships, mentoring and being mentored. And we will be on the lookout for the simple connection. There is power in the act of connecting.