Like an expert colourist, a good networking group takes time to find and trust. I’ve been in Aberdeen officially for six months now and I’ve been trying different formats and times of networking, from 6am breakfast meetings to late afternoon mixers to coffees with individuals met through Twitter.
Today I attended my first Women Connect event – a very tasty and festive lunch at Malmaison with 21 other ladies. They were intelligent, interesting and very warm (despite the Aberdonians amongst them claiming the city was not known for its friendliness), so I felt very comfortable.
As it was the Christmas lunch there was no speaker and no real network-focussed format, but this suited me very well as it meant we could all chat freely. Soon we were discovering ways we could work together (I’m about to set up a meeting next week) and so I think the informal style was actually very conducive to doing business.
For me, as a relative newcomer to the city, it was also really interesting to hear three women who worked in residential and commercial property discussing the market in Aberdeen, the fact that lettings agencies are crying out for two bed flats to rent out, for example, or the continued development at Primefour, a huge business park near our house.
We discussed banking and flexible working practices for mums and our experiences working in different cities – only a few times did the chat turn to shopping and hidden-gem stores – but even that was informative!
In a restaurant filled with men in suits, I was quite proud to sit amongst lady lawyers and bankers, so when the president Lianne McPherson stood up to say a few words of welcome and ask for people to join the committee, I decided I’d put myself forward. The girls around me joked that they were expecting a visit to those boutiques as a future event if I was involved – but it was nice to have their support.
I’m looking forward to the next event.