Women In Indirect Tax Networking Group – 1st Anniversary! by Liz Watt

This week we’re celebrating the first anniversary of the Women in Indirect Tax networking group. Celebrating success isn’t something that sits comfortably with many of us, but this does feel like something positive to share, given that nothing similar existed before and the past year has seen the network grow in numbers, energy and momentum.

I started the WIT networking group because, as a long-standing recruiter in the Indirect Tax space, I could see that there were many women who felt isolated as they climbed the career ladder; as they became more senior, so their peer group diminished. There was a sense that that the sector was losing talented women because many felt that they had no forum to discuss the issues and challenges they were facing and did not have wider network to tap into.

As I had shifted my focus to running an Executive Coaching business for BLT, I was in a position to be able to establish this networking group. From 2 small focus groups, a year on we have progressed to having two thriving groups, a waiting list of people wanting to join and lots of plans and ideas as to how the network might evolve.

Members are drawn form the accountancy profession – big 4, mid-tier and smaller firms, from industry and commerce and the legal profession. The members of the current groups are mainly at senior manager level and above, but we have also involved some at a more junior level too and this has worked well, so there are plans to widen the networks demographic.

For those of you not familiar with the WIT network, what’s the format? We meet for an afternoon once a quarter and at each session we have a guest speaker who delivers a workshop or seminar, we have round table discussion where attendees can raise issues that are important to them and tap into the combined experiences of the group, and of course there’s plenty of opportunity to network. The content is most definitely not technical! Our excellent speakers have covered a diverse range of topics, from developing communication skills, resilience, personal presentation, dealing with ‘perfectionism’ and styling your working wardrobe. Coming up we will be exploring how to navigate organizational politics, enhancing emotional intelligence and developing confidence.

 The sessions are very interactive and the aim is to offer a learning and development opportunity and to have fun doing it!

I also think the sessions provide our members with the opportunity to take some time out for themselves, to act as a ‘pause’ in their busy working lives and provide some space for personal development and reflection.

Looking to the future, a key initiative is to establish a group for more junior indirect tax specialists, as I believe the issues they face are different and deserve dedicated focus.  This will also be a chance for them to look beyond their own firm or business and start making those vital connections within the wider indirect tax population. Plans are afoot to establish a regional group too.  And also a mentoring scheme that will draw together women at all stages of their indirect tax career.

It’s an exciting time! If you would like to find out more about the Women’s Indirect Tax Networking group, either for yourself or one of your team members, please contact me: e mail : bltcoaching@gmail.com or phone : 020 7405 3404

And if you would like help in establishing a networking group for your own niche sector, I would love to speak to you.

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