I'm going to state in advance that this blog post is more targeted towards women and building their confidence; I suppose I got some inspiration from my excitement for the Power of Women event on Friday. However, men please feel free to continue reading if you'd like to understand a gal's networking perspective. 🙂
In the past, I've been to a lot of male dominant networking events. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad about being surrounded by a number of professional business men; however as much as some may not want to admit it, when you're one of the few females in the room it's kind of hard not to feel a bit out of place. Which is why the Y.E.S! Vancouver Summer Mingler at Joe Fortes was a completely new turn of things for me.
Y.E.S! Vancouver is a group of 150 professional women looking to make powerful connections with other women while making a positive impact on disadvantaged women in the community. Y.E.S! offers a fresh approach to networking while raising money to help other women advance their careers with Dress for Success Vancouver.
This would be considered my first all ladies event I've attended, and it was certainly a change in atmosphere. I realized that how I made connections at the mingler, probably would not had happened in past networking events. So here are some things that I found different.
Miss. Independent – Trust me, no matter what anyone says, no one likes to be alone. Even standing by yourself with a drink in hand, and trying to look busy by eating the veggie platter is still awkward. Luckily I had originally arrived with my mentor who introduced me to a few people, but she had to leave early so I was left with the choice to stay or go home. I made the decision to stay and to my surprise there were many individuals who willing came by themselves. The girls even confessed that the comfort of knowing it was all women attending, made the push to ride solo a lot easier!
An eye for fashion – I don't know if it's just me, but when I see a gorgeous pair of shoes, purse, or necklace, I'm bound to make a compliment! There must have been at least three girls who had a lululemon bag with them, which coincidentally is where I work; so that worked out to be a great conversation builder. Even I wasn't the only one with an eye for accessories, majority of the other women did as well. It showed that sometime people actually do understand another language than just work.
It's not a competition – No one likes a big ego in the room, or the feeling of being pressured to be someone extraordinary. In my opinion, I find that some men can be a bit over confident, and doubt the power of women. I think it's easy to be intimidated by someone's career title or success status (especially as a young student), but you have to believe that not everyone is there to shut you down. Attending the Y.E.S! event took away all those extra thoughts and sure enough I never once felt degraded. The only time I was let down was when I didn't win any of the raffle prizes…
I hope after reading this, a few ladies feel more comfortable to network. And if you haven't gotten the hint yet, a great place to start is at an all women's networking event!
PS. this was my first blog post, so let me know your thoughts! 🙂