The days when networking meant dressing in a power suit and handing out business cards are long gone. Today the way women connect and network has evolved.
Words Morag Turner
Women want to network as much as they did in previous decades. Linking up with inspirational and like-minded women has become as important as meeting those who can boost our careers. These are the exciting ways women all over London are making connections to enhance their professional and personal lives.
Hub Dot is a global networking community of over 15,000 women who define their ‘stories’ using coloured dots instead of traditional labels. Based in London and founded by mother of three Simona Barbieri in 2012.
Simona and her team organise events to bring their large community closer together and are open to non-members too. Red means ‘I’m established’ (in my career, business, motherhood); Yellow, ‘I have an idea, can anyone help? Green means ‘I’m here for inspiration’; Blue ‘I’m here to socialise’ and Purple, ‘I want to tell you about my charity’.
Whilst chats might be career related, they can also be about sharing experiences of motherhood, moving to a new country or taking up a new hobby. Members can stay in touch online or arrange to meet up in person. This structure means that women with a huge variety of backgrounds and experiences can strike up conversations.
Their next event, ‘Making the World a better place’ will be at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond on April 26th. The event will be celebrating businesses and initiatives that are making our planet and our lives healthier and happier.
Events such as this are exactly what Hub Dot is all about. Guests can be sure they can connect with an array of interesting, inspiring women.
New app ‘Peanut’ is the brainchild of London based tech entrepreneur Michelle Kennedy. Its mission is to connect mothers all over the Capital.
After having her son, Michelle found herself in a whole new stage of life. She wanted to meet other like-minded mums in the same position. But she couldn’t find any form of social media that helped her to do it. Having worked on the creation of the successful dating app Bumble she set about designing a similar app to help mums arrange coffee mornings and play dates.
Peanut launched in February in London and New York. It combines machine learning and a smart algorithm to locate mothers in the same area who share interests. Users swipe on a profile to wave at another mother and if she waves back the app highlights what they have in common to spark a conversation.
It’s open to anyone with a child under the age of 16. Mums can log on to their Peanut account via Facebook and answer sign up questions. These include what stage of pregnancy they are in, what age their children are or what area they work in.
There is a section for mothers to chat in groups of up to 20 and organisation tools that make arranging meet ups simple.
Having spoken out about how isolating and difficult motherhood can be, Michelle hopes that Peanut will help women support each other.
You can download the Peanut App from the App Store.
Lean In Circles
Sheryl Sandberg’s cult book ‘Lean In’ has had a huge impact on the way women view their careers. The COO of Facebook published her ode to modern-day feminism in 2013 and has inspired millions of women.
The book urges all women to ‘lean in’ to their careers and helps to navigate how mothers can balance work with family life. Following the success of her bestseller, Sandberg set up the leanin.org and the Lean In Circles. These Circles enable women to find and meet up with a group of local, like-minded others.
The Circle movement is now as massive as the book, with over 30,000 groups in over 150 countries. There are 219 groups in London such as Women in IT, Young Woman’s Network and The Lean In Supper Club.
The Circle movement is ideal for women who want to forward their career and build networks and share thoughts and experiences.
From evening events to virtual get-togethers, you can expect a whole lot of support from your fellow Leaners In. You can even sign up to the website and start your own group.
Sometimes we need the support and encouragement of others to take our idea to the next level. Driven Women is a new style of network for women in London. It aims to create a ‘club’ where women can explore their true potential with the support of others around them and create their own kind of success.
Set up by friends, Miisa Mink and Jennifer Stoute. It is free to join and focuses around monthly meet ups called ‘Life Working’ groups. Members can discuss anything from professional to personal goals such as setting up a business or buying a new home.
The purpose of these small groups are to support, motivate and inspire. You can discuss what you have achieved so far in your life and how to tackle daily challenges and dilemmas with advice from fellow members.
Anyone can join and Driven Women hold regular introduction evenings to offer an insight into how the Life Working groups run. They organise events and workshops throughout central London. The upcoming events ‘Never Enough – What Makes You Truly Happy?’ And ‘Thinking on Your Feet’ will take place at the end of March and May.