Networking in corporate America is changing. In 2006 there were more women running Fortune 500 companies than in previous years. Currently, 10 Fortune 500 companies are run by women and a total of 20 Fortune 1000 companies have women in top jobs. That said it seems about time the networking concept get an extreme makeover.
The concept of networking came about in the late 80’s when its popularity grew during the sales and tech boom. Simply put, business networking was a numbers game. You show up, give your card out while barely introducing yourself, take the other’s card and follow the same process throughout the networking event. If you really think about it, networking events are ran like the mindset of a typical man, “let’s see how many notches in my belt I can get!” Well sorry buddy, you’re about to get sensitivity training!
Now that the ladies have a say in how to network, let’s explore the other side. For Bonnie Ross-Parker, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Connecting ®, she’s found that by putting the heart into networking, you’re able to be more strategic, make better alignments for your business and really learn how to enjoy your work by taking this new approach. The concept: networking from the heart positions you to create relationships based on shared personal and professional interests, which builds in a healthy element of caring and ultimately creates an environment that supports and honors who you are as a person and what you do. For now, the focus is on women business owners. Let’s face it, men and women do business differently. That’s totally okay and now that it is accepted, it’s okay for women to position themselves, challenge the status quo and create networking environments that will be conducive to their continued growth and success.
The outcome: a relaxed networking gathering that includes a light dinner for business owners, entrepreneurs, other women and guests; a unique and innovative marketing program that enables participants to build their business by bringing women together in a natural “female model” to connect with another; a marketing tool to eliminate the frustration, fear and rejection associated with building one’s business and; an innovative opportunity for licensees to reach out to women in their community in a way that benefits not only the businesses of those who participate, but their business as well.
The result: this concept has allowed Bonnie and her partner, Dawn Billings to duplicate The Joy of Connecting ® experience in Georgia (they are headquartered in Atlanta), Washington, DC, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, California, North Carolina, Kansas, New York and Washington State – and they keep on growing.
Bottom line: Gentleman, you can stand to learn something major from the ladies!