I attended the “Stiletto Network” presentation for my first Professional Development event. The presentation was given by the author and successful journalist, Pamela Ryckman. She discussed the transforming effects of women’s networks that will lead to an explosion of female wealth and power in the next decade. She defined these groups as an underground movement of women’s networking circles, consisting of about 10 women from varying fields. She selected the number 10 because it was small enough for them to get intimate, but big enough to have diverse ideas. The women in these groups would then work at resources for each other; connecting them to people they may have never thought they may reach.
This presentation really helped me to feel more comfortable as a woman entering Corporate America. Women now have the ability to merge business and friendships, and can then capitalize on those relationships. Forming these networks helps them to gain confidence, which leads to more self-expression, for example in the way they dress. Not long ago, many women felt they had to wear suits to match their male counterparts, however, that has changed. Ms. Ryckman spoke about a female CEO she knew who sent her an email of her headshot around 2002 versus the one she currently uses. In the older picture, the woman was wearing a simply navy suit inside a photo studio with a slight smile on her face. In the second picture, she was wearing a beautiful coral colored dress in what appeared to be a garden, with a large smile on her face almost as if she was laughing as the photo was taken. The two pictures perfectly depicted the transformation of women in Corporate America switching from following a standard look, to having the ability to express yourself and be happy doing so.
I also liked how Ms. Ryckman described the basis of these networks. She said you do not need to have an agenda before creating the group, “You just need to have the same beliefs, likes, and be willing to help others and amazing things will happen.” Before when I thought about creating networks, I thought it was strictly business therefore you need to have an agenda but she helped me realize that is not the case. These networks need t be more than business, helping in every area of life. The women are there for advice, courage, support, and validation because the see each other as an actual person and not just business people.
I gained some great knowledge from this presentation and will definitely use it when I enter the work world.