Networking is so important. In a previous post called "Networking isn't for Dummies", I spoke about this importance but stressed that networking isn't about using people to get what you want. True networking is a give and take relationship that benefits and supports each person. I am blessed with a pretty great network around me and part of the network is a group of like-minded women who work in the sports and entertainment industries.
Women in Sports and Events (WISE) is a networking group that works to "create and support programs that enhance success and growth of women in the business of sports." The brain child of Sue Rodin (Stars & Strategies), WISE was created because Sue faced a situation at work in which she learned the inequality of roles and salary between her and a male colleague. At the time she was looking for someone she could commiserate with about this troubling situation. When she looked around, she realized that there weren't any programs around to give her that opportunity. A while later, she was at an event and basically went to every single table with a woman at it and said, "hey do you want to join a group of industry women chatting about all things business?" It was a no brainer, and the ladies joined Sue. The first meeting ended up being at a local restaurant. There was no real plan, just a need they saw. From there WISE was born.
Some years later they now offer tons of opportunities for women to meet, network and learn. One of these opportunities is the WISE/R Symposium. Last Wednesday I was able to attend the symposium for the 2nd time. It is a great event that has key note speakers, panel discussions, workshops and peer networking circles with women from all areas of the industry. The focus is on the issues we as women face in the wold of sports and business.
This year the focus seemed to be all about building a personal brand. They offered a number of different workshops to choose from. I chose to attend 2 of the them.
The first was a workshop on Personal Brand Strategy. Led by two women from The Wasserman Group; Jennifer Van Dijk and Lisa Bregman, they spoke on how to use social media to build your personal brand. With great tips on LinkedIn and Twitter. I consider myself pretty well versed on these platforms and still learned quite a bit from these women. I'll make sure and pay it forward by sharing some of the lessons I learned in an upcoming post and answer any questions you have on the platforms.
The second workshop I attended was on "Presentation as Performance" led by Michael Chad Hoeppner of GK Training and Communications. As a speaker, this was a very interesting workshop to attend. It was full of tips on dynamics, body language, ticks etc. It's all about using more of ourselves and practicing the 4 P's. Pace, Pause, Pitch and Power. But don't listen to me, they provide great exercises to try on your own through their website.
The big draw for me however was the key note speaker. Joyce Roche, author and retired President and CEO of Girls Inc. Joyce spoke all about the "impostor syndrome". Ever heard of it? If you haven't, you still probably know what it is. It is that feeling that no matter how well you are doing at something, that maybe you aren't the most qualified or maybe you don't deserve it. It is based on the self doubt that intrudes our minds in the most inopportune moments. She even writes about it in her 2013 book, The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success.
So, why am I telling you all about WISE? I am telling you because it is so important that we find places to network and learn from. Maybe you work in the world of sports and events and this is a group you might want to become a part of. If so, check out the WISE website. If you are not in that industry, there are still tons of groups that you can become a part of. Just google "local networking groups", (click here for a great article on the Top 10 Business Networking Groups.) You can also check out LinkedIn, or check out sites like MeetUp. You can even look for groups within your industry. Don't put it off as another to do that gets pushed to the wayside, put aside some time this week to find your own network.
What type of networking groups do you belong to? Share your favorites with the rest of us in the comments below.