Tell us a little bit about your network (inc when you were founded and why, how many members, who leads the network, anything on your committees.
We founded Connect 10 years ago (will have 10th birthday in November). Monthly meetings held at 9.45am-12.00 then lunch suit those women who have children to sort first. There was nothing else like that at the time. We keep a pretty constant number of members of around 20 and there are 4 of us who keep it going. We meet up as a committee to plan the year ahead and deal with issues.
What is your network’s prime objective?
Our mission is to help members and visitors enhance and grow their business through hosting friendly, relaxed, professional meetings. We aim to offer support and advice as well as the opportunity to refer business to one another.
How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?
Our members (and visitors) always go away with ideas and increased self confidence after each meeting. We also have speakers and education slots so that people can widen their experience and understanding.
Tell us about your events?
We hold regular monthly meetings for members and visitors (one seat per profession) then a couple of open visitor days a year where anyone can attend. We fundraise for the children’s hospice charity that we support on those days. We always have an agenda to follow and we vary the type of networking opportunities – 60 second slots or ‘speed networking’ or small group discussions etc.
What should we expect if we join?
Support, business referrals, interest in you and your business, friendship
How do our members join your network, is there a fee?
£100 pa membership fee then £12 per meeting or £15 to attend as a visitor (can attend twice).
What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?
Take your time to make sure it is the right group for you. Be prepared to give so that you will gain. Need to develop good relationships first.
Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?
You never know who other people will know! Meet as many types of people as you can and ask them lots about themselves before you bombard them with what you want! Keep a good record of who you have met and what they do so that you can make good use of them as your business develops.
Finally, what’s next for your network?
Celebrating our 10th birthday in November so planning an event for that. Also ensuring that our current members are happy and that we bring in good visitors who want to become members.