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Women in Business

Authentic Networking and Community-Building Impacts Women’s Early Career Success

Jamie Vinick

Founder and President, The Women’s Network

As young women search for ways to ascend in their careers, a more collaborative and community-inspired approach to networking supports women’s efforts to gain confidence and pursue opportunities. 

Traditional networking is dated and tremendously intimidating. As a sophomore in college, I identified a gap in the way that collegiate women network. Networking has typically involved conducting surface-level, hollow conversations with little to no follow up, rather than building early, meaningful, and substantial relationships.

While classroom learning and academic knowledge are inherently valuable, women are not typically provided with the resources needed to confidently make connections and build their own professional network. Women are not taught how to network, and the importance networking plays in attaining career success, particularly in the initial stages of their careers.

Building a network is critical in developing professional relationships, acquiring mentors, identifying potential jobs, and securing interviews. A new approach is taking hold in which the power of community, where women support and uplift one another in a non-competitive environment, will positively impact early career growth and achievement. This community-based focus in which women support and uplift one another is the primary way that we will make strides to level the playing field and address inequities and challenges that often inhibit women’s career advancement.

Networking skills allow women to be prepared to confidently, and ambitiously, pursue career advancement. While academic rigor and accomplishment will always be essential, learning outside the classroom is equally vital. This is especially true in a post-COVID environment.

Across college campuses, Career Centers are understaffed, and don’t typically have enough connections or resources to assist young women with job placements. The Women’s Network, an organization I founded at Syracuse University, has taken this community-based approach and connected collegiate women with one another, and with senior female executives across the country in various industries. 

This model of collaboration, relationship building, and community has resonated with thousands of women around the nation. Women truly want to help other women, and all of us should embrace the opportunity to work together in empowering and encouraging one another to succeed.

In the end, connections truly matter. Relationships matter. Being able to develop meaningful associations with others in the pursuit of constructing a professional network matters. Let’s learn to build and expand that network, and to connect in an authentic, genuine way. A more collaborative, thoughtful approach will inspire women to support one another, and ultimately influence our ability to change the corporate leadership landscape.

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