DO YOU NETWORK WITH A PURPOSE?

Gloria Feldt
By Anastasia Sagalovitch

In honor of International Women’s Day, See Jane Do — a participant in this year’s Women in the World Summit and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, convened a networking and speaker event on Monday, March 5, at Green Spaces in Manhattan, NY. The occasion draws on the international celebration of the achievements and creative forces of women. The event brought together Entrepreneurs, like Claudia Chan — co-founder of Shecky’s — a social shopping company and founder of a new start-up ClaudiaChan.com, a website profiling women leaders from various sectors; artists like Lisa Levart, author of “Goddess on Earth“, women from the diplomacy and activism world, many of whom are delegates to the Commission on the Status of Women.

The centerpiece of the event was a talk by Gloria Feldt, author of “No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power and former CEO of Planned Parenthood“. She honed in right away on the one key that women tend to misunderstand– power. She asked the group on a scale of one to ten, how comfortable they were with power — 1 being “not at all“, and 10 being “absolutely comfortable– can’t have enough of it”. Of the group assembled, a handful of hands went up. Through her speaking engagements, time and time again, even when speaking with a room full of high powered women the highest responders would go is a 9. She went on to explain that power can be viewed in a negative way, but it can also be viewed in a positive way, such as the power to do what you wish, the power to complete a project, the power to make things happen. In that way everyone ought to be powerful. She urged the audience to re-define what power means to them and embrace it to create and operate form that new definition.

The second central point was to network with purpose. In other words, asking people for what you need and responding to requests with ways you can help. Event attendees had a chance to practice this, the only rules were to ask your networking partner for something that you need and for the partner to answer “I’m going to help you with that by.. “. Feldt emphasized that by networking in this way, you can actually get the resources you need. She mentioned that this event came together because the organizer and she had met and networked in this exact way. Attendees later reported back about their experience to the group. Amazingly, of the attendees who shared, they were able to either come up with a way to help find the resources for their networking partner, introduce them to someone else who could be in a position to help, or broadcast it to the entire group as in the case of one attendee who wanted to promote a book she had written.

The event also featured a brief interview with Claudia Chan, who shared her experiences with the audience as a case study of the power tools discussed in Feldt’s book. First up was “carpe the chaos”, or in other words finding an innovative solution in the midst of transition or change. Claudia reflected that her new project actually came out of a chaotic moment where she had to decide to leave her former start-up. The next tool was defining yourself before others define you. In founding ClaudiaChan.com, she felt she wanted to incorporate her values into the company. Her first entrepreneurial venture, she felt she had to do it for survival. This time around she sees it as a way to integrate her more grown up sense of power — which to her means having an inner confidence and “feeling that no matter what, even if bad stuff comes to you, you’re going to deal with it because it’s not what happens to you but for you”. Finally, Chan reflected how one’s identity, especially her own was caught up with her first entrepreneurial venture, and when the time came to leave, separating her identity from the company was one of the most difficult tasks. But by separating her identity from the former project she was able to see the changes in her personal and professional growth. In this way, she was able to put together her new company.

Feldt concluded the event by saying that one of the last keys is to have the courage to live by your convictions and share what you are passionate in by “wearing the shirt”. Meaning that by expression what you believe in, a network can form around that in order to help you achieve your goals.

Brain World readers.. How are you celebrating International Women’s Day this year?

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