Why are women turned off when it comes to business networking and how a simple, well-known concept can break the ice? The Tel Aviv chapter of Women in Wireless borrowed a model that is used in romantic relationship seeking. Translated it into a business language and gathered more than 120 women under one roof, who mingled, exchanged knowledge and departed with one question: ‘When is the next event?’
Women rather stick to people they already know instead of meeting and building relationships with new ones. Stating the obvious that we are living in a male-dominated world comes handy to justify why most women fail the networking success grid. According to Dorie Clark, who gave an exciting interview on How Women Can Succeed By Networking Authentically, the biggest challenge women face when it comes to networking is the pure belief that to network is some kind of sleazy action, where people use each other.
We would be lying if we said that networking is not about finding the right people for our current needs. But does it have to feel dirty and dishonest? Does networking have to give you results right here, right now, otherwise just adieu?
The answers are certainly, no and no.
Reading further the views of Dorie Clark – whose own introvert personality augments some hazards to the already challenging networking game – it comes clear that networking can come in many forms, and it should be about ‘building your name recognition and encouraging people to want to get to know you.’ So, can we take networking as an active act of long-term relationship building as opposed to a self-seeking, self-marketing, business card exchange?
The answer is certainly Yes; and yes, with a capital Y.
On Sunday evening, August 2, 2015, the Tel Aviv-based EVA Ventures and its co-founder Michal Michaeli co-hosted its very first Speed Mentoring Event at the Google Campus. And although the event was free – which is something to value to begin with – the success of the event went beyond all expectations. ‘The idea came about because we noticed that women weren’t meeting new people at events and were just sticking with people they already knew. So we decided almost to force the interaction of meeting new and valuable people in their network and made the speed mentoring event happen’, says Melanie Amini, Head of Marketing at Women in Wireless Tel Aviv. An organization, whose mission is to connect, inspire, and empower female leaders in the mobile and digital space.
Speed-mentoring re-coded the notion of speed dating and made connection-making easier and more efficient than ever. Instead of the often uncomfortable standing around and blushing by not knowing who to talk to, 11 successful female mentors sat down behind their allotted table and got ready to speed-mentor each attendee for 5 min. Once the time was over people rotated to the next mentor. The strategy was worked out for a certain number of attendees, but it certainly couldn’t be feasible for the final turnout. And even though meeting with all 11 mentors turned out to be out of reach in the overcrowded room, the organizers’ flexibility and reactivity made sure that who came, left with what she came for. And that is to get help, advice or guidance along with budding relationships.
The 11 mentors embraced a wide variety of fields that made the event exciting for all; from college students, to career changers, from entrepreneurs-to-be mothers to veteran startup heads. The invited mentors devoted time to share their know-how and expertise simply on voluntary-based and were keen and excited to help other women. Be it about the latest marketing needs, human resources management, venture capital resources, social media management, or simply about startup idea-generation, whoever voiced a need saying ‘I need help in…’, was sure to receive an answer.
The 2-hours event was inspiring, thought-provoking and proved what Dorie Clark already knew: ‘there’s not just one way to network, it’s not all about going to 500-person cocktail parties and trading business cards.’ And indeed, most of the women came without any special agenda, business cards and undoubtedly, without a slinky cocktail dress. And yet, the 120 women left with promising contacts that stretch beyond the incredible campus space of Google. There is nothing more empowering than seeing women looking up to other women, give a hand and guide each other towards success. And though events are all around, the need for more, is out there!
And who were the self-less and empowering mentors this time? Here comes the list in alphabetic order, along with a massive thank you on behalf of all attendees and MissCareerLess. Special thanks to the Women in Wireless Israel Team for feeling a gap.
Ann Kutznetsov, Top Recruiter and founder of Gamestar Search – Devora Mason, Operations and Development Manager at Talkltt – Jo Friedman, Products consultant – Keren Brown, Social Media Expert and Author – Michal Michaeli, Founder of Eva Ventures – Miriam Lottner, Consultant, CEO, Investor – Miriam Schwab, CEO of Illuminea, WordPress Development Agency – Mor Assia, Founding Partner of iAngels – Nikki Ralston, VP Marketing at Zirra – Sarah Nadav – Fintech Entrepreneur, Google mentor, and journalist – Sol Tzvi, Entrepreneur & Investor
Check out our pictures from the Speed Mentoring Event HERE!