Networking Groups for Women – Emerging Talent

In June last year I wrote an article celebrating the 1st anniversary of the Women in Indirect Tax networking group. Since then, another group has launched successfully and the number of members has grown rapidly. We also now have members who have moved into broader based tax leadership roles from an indirect tax start, and women from other niche areas of tax and the law. This has added a new, richer dimension to the membership profile.

So the next initiative for 2019 is a networking group for women at an earlier stage in their career. This has come about for two primary reasons. Firstly – demand! Several existing members would really like other women in their teams to enjoy the same benefits of belonging to such a group, but with those in their own peer group.

And secondly, a recognition that the issues women face at this earlier stage of their career are different. Of course, there are crossovers, and areas of universal interest. However, there is a realization that ignoring the concerns, challenges and aspirations of this generation is resulting in many of them being unwilling to apply for promotions, or worse still, leaving the technical discipline for which they have trained so hard for pastures new.

Investing in women as they qualify and move up the career ladder is therefore seen as a smart move, and one that forward-thinking businesses are taking seriously.

The benefits of having a strong business network for all demographics are widely acknowledged; belonging to a networking group is a powerful thing. But I am often asked – why a women’s networking group? Research shows that one of the ‘unwritten rules’ of advancement in business is having a strong network, both inside one’s workplace, as well as within the wider business community. And yet it is a fact that most women do not have as strong a network as their male counterparts. A dedicated group therefore provides an opportunity to develop a network amongst your industry peer group and a platform to discuss relevant issues in a safe, supportive and collaborative environment. It is an opportunity to take time away from the office to plan, reflect and learn, gaining confidence through sharing ideas and experiences.

Given these undoubted benefits, it seems a no brainer to provide women taking those early steps towards management and leadership the platform to make and nurture connections, whilst also honing the skills needed, above and beyond the technical, that are vital to career success and advancement.

The format of the group is to meet once a quarter for an afternoon. We have a great guest presenter or workshop focussing on a personal development or ‘soft-skills’ topic, a forum for group discussion and plenty of opportunity for networking during the afternoon and afterwards. It’s non-technical – everyone gets more than enough technical input back at the office!

The programme will include sessions focussing on communication skills, navigating office politics, how to develop business, resilience and stress management, personal presentation and dressing for success, amongst others.

If you work in indirect tax or other areas of tax in practice (Big 4, mid tier or independent consultancy) in-house or the law and would like to join the group or nominate one of your team for membership, please get in touch for more information.

 

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