Girls compete with each other.
Women empower one another.
In honor of American Business Women’s Day, celebrated each year in the United States on September 22, I wanted to share details on some amazing networking groups that help to empower women across the country and world, including me.
When I made the decision to become a talent recruiter five years ago, the career change was scary and daunting. I knew nothing about being an entrepreneur, having spent most of my career in public education – a safe space. I hungered for so much more.
My journey led me to seek out mentorship from my peers – professional businesswomen – and in doing so, I made quite a discovery. In my local area alone, there existed numerous women’s networking groups dedicated to supporting women in their quests to break the glass ceiling.
Women’s networking groups allow us to connect with mentors who have accomplished certain milestones and are willing to help other women succeed by offering their experiences, connections, support, and wisdom. Whether you are looking for a mentor or want to be one for someone else, I encourage you to seek out your own tribe where you can experience or make a difference in your professional life.
Find a networking group in your area
If you’re looking for a new direction or opportunities for a more fulfilling career, let this be the first stop on your journey! Following are several groups and organizations that have a positive impact on professional women’s lives. Most have female founders, co-founders, and female leaders. All have support networks and ecosystems built on mentorship.
Explore them to identify resources that may be interesting and most beneficial for you. Many national and international professional women’s groups have regional and local chapters and events.
- American Business Women’s Association (ABWA): The ABWA has 15,000 members nationwide and 400 chapters. More than 5,000 business/networking meetings are hosted each year, along with workshops, in hundreds of cities nationwide. Find a local ABWA community near you.
- SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership: Do you dream of starting your own company? The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership supports the participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy, especially those who have been historically under-served or excluded. They offer training, mentoring, and grant programs to help start or grow women-owned businesses.
- We Inspire Support Empower (WISE): WISE is dedicated to the education and support of women’s professional career interests, offering educational opportunities to develop knowledge and leadership skills, build connections, promote professional women, and foster mentoring relationships. Each year they award grants to outstanding women. (Last year’s winner was my friend and sorority sister, Lila Taylor.)
- She Runs It: Established in 1912, She Runs It has evolved into a global organization with a mission to pave the way for more women of every identity, ethnicity, and background to lead at every level of their careers in marketing, media, and tech through programming, networking, support, and advocacy.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the largest global resource for professional networking. While there are many groups dedicated to women in business and leadership, one such group called Connect: Professional Women’s Network is among the largest. With approximately 446,240 members, this online community and others like it are great places for women to connect, discuss issues relevant to their careers, and find job opportunities in person or online.
Career-specific women’s associations
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania ranks these industry-specific resources among their top 11 professional women’s organizations.
- Alliance for Women in Media: Since 1951, this alliance has been supporting women in all segments of media through networking, training, and recognizing professional accomplishments. Membership includes online forums, access to industry research, discounts on professional networking and recognition programs, and a job board.
- Association for Women in Science (AWIS): The AWIS supports women working in scientific fields around the world in connecting and communicating. Members are supported in their professional development through networking, webinars, and events. The organization leverages research to help women working in STEM achieve equity and pursue full participation in their fields. With over 100,000 members worldwide, AWIS is among the largest international women’s professional organizations.
- Financial Women’s Association (FWA): The FWA is the leading professional association for women in the financial industry for 66 years and counting. Members have access to industry leaders, training programs, job alerts, discounts, networking events, and much more.
- National Association of Women Sales Professionals (NAWSP): NAWSP provides women in sales with women-centered professional development opportunities and sales training, including a robust mentoring program, training, and development programs created by women for women. Its members are mentors, leaders, advisers, and innovators who encourage each other to pursue professional sales success.
Are you in Texas?
If you happen to live and work in Texas like I do, or if working in the Friendship State is on your bucket list, here are some great women’s professional organizations to explore.
- Montgomery County Association of Business Women (MCABW): The MCABW was founded in 2005 with a mission to provide a forum for Montgomery County businesswomen to develop and enhance professional and personal relationships with their peers. Its scholarship program helps young women go to college. I am one of the mentors for the MCABW.
- Women’s Council of Entrepreneurs (WCE): WCE is a community dedicated to the growth of women entrepreneurs through business development, networking opportunities, workshops, and more. There are many local Texas chapters. Visit this page to find a chapter near you.
- Women’s Business Alliance (WBA): The WBA hosts many events each year, as well as an annual event called Rise to the Top that features compelling, candid conversations from female executives on the challenges and triumphs of succeeding as a woman in today’s business environment.
Where all women are valued and welcome
Women’s networking groups exist to connect women from all different areas of business and at all levels of their careers to share experiences, brainstorm new initiatives, and grow connections. Don’t miss out on this rich opportunity to expand your perspective and professional network!
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