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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Women Inspiring Women

Kathy and Louis Emond, New England Bureau Chiefs

Last month we highlighted the New Girl Network, a networking group that made a conscious decision to be as informal as possible: no applications, no dues, no RSVPS, no agendas, and no suits. Members arrive with their brown bag lunches, and listen to someone talk about a topic that was decided by a consensus of those who attended a previous meeting. IT works, and works well.

This month we are introduce Women Inspiring Women. It is just about 180 degrees from the New Girls.

Leslie Sturgeon was looking for opportunities for networking with women…nothing was available. She KNEW there were many women in the area who worked in the area, many women who already owned their businesses, and many more who were starting their own businesses. She knew they would ALL be interested in networking opportunities...right? She decided the best way for her to get the group she wanted was to start her own group!

So, she began the planning. She visualized what it was she wanted (high caliber events, the group should be viewed as high energy, warm, enthusiastic and an inspiration); incorporated ideas from other groups she was aware of, discarded the ideas she didn’t like, made note of those she did like; called people she knew, and some she didn’t (one woman, who proved to be the most helpful is located in Indianapolis); they connected her with others; altogether, she spoke with hundreds of women until she knew exactly what her ideal networking group would be.

Then she contacted individuals and companies who might sponsor Women Inspiring Women; advertising opportunities are available for companies who want to showcase their products at meetings, or advertise on the website or in the newsletter.

Leslie developed the website herself, using skills she has develop over the years in her own business, Office Options. As a virtual assistant, she has done it all. This time, it was to market and group her networking group. She does have members that volunteer to help out as she needs, and she does have advisors she can call on, but there is no board, no officers.

The first meeting of Women Inspiring Women was last May. With a database of 1200 people in the Lakes Region, Leslie was able to spread the word. 150 said ‘yes.’ They were off to a great start! So far, the monthly meetings attract 50 to 75 women. Not bad for that area of New Hampshire, which could be described as ‘out there in the middle of nowhere.’ The local media have been supportive; the local Chamber has spread the word; and, of course, word of mouth has also been a source of new members.

Women Inspiring Women has now included a weekend at The Balsams Grand Resort in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods. This weekend is planned to carry out the second part of their motto: To stimulate your mind, nurture your soul. Plans include: outdoor activities, games, entertainment, cooking demonstrations, a full-service spa and award winning food are all amenities offered at the resort, but more importantly, this will be a time for personal and professional improvement and self-reflection.

We the lesson here is this: it doesn’t matter if the group is formal or informal, has strict rules or no rules, charges dues or not. The important this is that you find a group that you will attend regularly, participate as much as possible, get to know the other members, and help them grow their businesses. YOU will be the beneficiary of these activities.

Happy Networking!

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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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