Work Redux and the Importance of Positive Networks

Work Redux and the Importance of Positive Networks

This morning was the third of three Work Redux breakfasts. For me, this series has been transformative.  For those who were not in attendance, Pollen along with the Bush Foundation, held three breakfast events on Ambition, Power and Influence over the period of a few months. I’ve been to many a “leadership development”and “women’s empowerment” events and “networking breakfast” and none, I repeat none have come close to being as informative, heartfelt, authentic and meaningful as this series was for me.

What do I mean by this? I mean I felt vulnerable, but in the best way. I felt as though I could authentically share and listen to other women, women whom I consider thought leaders and inspirations to me in my career. I learned not only more about them as professionals but heard more of the human aspects and self doubt that we all face. I learned more about how intentional some of our most visible women in leadership have been to get where they are, not to say they’ve been the first women to do so, but because they were driven people who knew they could make a difference. I appreciated that the speakers were willing to be vulnerable, self deprecating and normalize their insecurities. It’s completely normal to feel insecure, but I have never been to an event in which the learning was so supported and celebrated.

During the event I felt very engaged, not only in a dialogue at my table as a host, but on Twitter and after the event as the conversations have continued. The women I’ve met at these events have continued to reflect the experiences of these breakfasts and it has changed how I approach my work. This network has created, instead of a competitive network, a supportive one. Hence, the prevalence of #womance in my daily vocabulary.

These events had a feeling of camaraderie, an level playing field, and women whom I wouldn’t necessarily encounter in my day-to-day work, all with different talents and approaches to our work. It really helped me to get out of my head and what I “know”. It also was reassuring to know that no matter how talented, driven and smart we are, support helps, and we all feel self-doubt. It’s more about what you do with your energy and values that set apart the true leaders.  I would love to see a continuation of these events, and I feel so fortunate that I was able to take part in them.

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