Networking. The word itself is enough to strike fear into my heart. Usually talking to strangers while pretending I’m far more confident than I actually am is something I only do when I have no other choice, while working or after having consumed too much alcohol. But last month, on a cold, wet Sunday in October, I wasn’t working, under duress or under the influence of alcohol, but I willingly attended a networking event with a difference, and I’m so glad I did.
The event was titled Ladies-who-Brunch, and naturally any event involving food and drink is automatically a winner in my book. Held at the swish Carousel London, it was the third such event organised by Ladies-who-Launch to motivate, inspire and support women from all backgrounds. Ladies-who-Launch, which came to my attention earlier this year, was founded by Emma Tattersall in 2017 to champion female success and inspire others by sharing interviews with women of all ages and professions via its online Launch Pad.
This particular event, one of a series of brunches organised throughout the year, was in collaboration with We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, written by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel. The book is an uplifting manual for change in women’s lives, and details nine principles which can help readers get through the inevitable challenges they face in life. Co-author Jennifer Nadel was the guest of honour at Ladies-who-Brunch, and not only read from the book but answered questions that the enthusiastic audience had sent in to Emma via a handy website. The question and answer session was insightful and motivating, with thoughtful questions from attendees, and it was interesting to hear not only Jennifer’s thoughts, but also how ‘We’ inspired Emma to set up Ladies-who-Launch. I read the book when it was first released and though I’d found the principles incredibly helpful, life had gotten in the way of me sticking to them, but after attending Ladies-who-Brunch, hearing Jennifer speak and recent events in my life, a re-read is definitely now in order.
Once the Q&A was over, it was networking time. Prior to the event attendees were encouraged to fill in a brief questionnaire about themselves, and on the day were provided with a name of someone they needed to meet before the morning was over, someone with similar interests. My “match” turned out to be an actress, and we had an interesting chat about theatre, reviewing and our shared experiences, as well as how much we were both enjoying the event.
Networking might often heighten my anxiety and reduce me to cold sweats, but thankfully I had nothing to worry about when it came to Ladies-who-Brunch. It was such an educational morning, a relaxed atmosphere where everyone made to feel welcome, and no one was left out. Over the course of the morning I was able to speak with a range of people – even Emma’s mum! – and felt motivated just by talking about everyone’s experiences and plans for the future. It was so inspiring to be around like-minded women from all walks of life – stay-at-home mums, actresses, poets, life coaches – all eager to listen and share experiences and advice. I loved seeing so many women coming together to inspire and support one another, and so many connections made. It may have been my first Ladies-who-Brunch networking event, but it certainly won’t be my last, and next time I won’t be quite so hesitant to sign up.