What are the benefits of a gender-led network for women in business?
For savvy businesswomen today, networking can be a vital business tool. And women’s networks seem to be more effective, maybe because – as I was told once – men-only groups combine so much testosterone and competitiveness, they leave the collegiate spirit behind. An effective women-only network enables like-minded women to meet and acquire not only practical help but also have an opportunity to share problems, find a sounding board and sometimes alleviate the loneliness of working in a male-dominated business.
Ladies who lunch?
I dislike this concept so my lunches have two purposes: to support a charity – currently the Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Rehabilitation – and to attract more business and contacts through our Icebreaker: “How can I help you and how can you help me?”
You are often quoted as saying “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women” please explain why you believe this is true
There is the ego power-based model which we know doesn’t work as well and then there is the partnership-based model like John Lewis which has consistently been number one in every management measurement survey. My mission is to link as many executive business women as possible who are on my particular wavelength into a cohesive group for sharing contacts, experience and knowledge. This is a cold business world and if women don’t help other women, who will?
A lot of women oppose women led networks what are your views about this?
We all know top women executives who pretend they have balls and maybe bigger ones than male colleagues. They may get to the top but at a cost – those young women on The Apprentice who try to out-man the men make me roll my eyes at the screen. Effective women leaders are those who manage differently, building teams which work towards a shared goal. I believe most women’s inclination is to collaborate rather than compete, surely a more creative and socially responsible way to do business?
“Love this joke … and spare a thought for event organisers and restaurants who have to manage all the many different allergies which guests have these days.”