Me + You = Community

I was 12 years old when I found my first pen pal while camping with my family. We lived out of each other’s back pockets for a week and continued our long-distance relationship through our teens with monthly letters and summer visits to each other’s homes.  Sadly, we grew up too fast, grew apart and lost touch with each other.

Friendship MattersA few months ago, I started thinking about Mary and wondered what happened to her. So, I did what any normal person would do – I turned to social media. Scrolling through a multitude of Mary’s, I studied faces of women in their 40’s, trying to see the teenage girl I once knew. In the end, I found her. She’s a mom and an attorney, stationed in Afghanistan and we’ve started talking again.

Friendship matters. Connection matters.

Our brains are wired to reach out and connect with each other. Like the cells in our body connect to make us a whole being, we need connection with other humans to grow and thrive. We’re stronger together.

Sounds a little like Women in Biz, doesn’t it?

Launching and growing an organization like WIBN takes an awful lot of innovative thinking, bootstrapping and no small amount of chutzpa. When Leigh Mitchell invited me to join her last year, the answer was an (almost) immediate YES. And I’m thrilled to be back this year, working with Leigh and this incredible community of women. Leigh Mitchell

Collaboration, community and connection

I’ve spent my career working with incredible organizations – many of them focused on community. From teaching in a women’s prison to leading a critique group for fledgling writers, I’ve focused on teamwork, collaboration and mentorship. And it’s paid off in the personal satisfaction of watching others succeed to seeing my own success through their eyes. When we work together, we’re all stronger.

If you’re not familiar with these organizations, consider this your introduction.

WithIt ~ WithIt, a women’s leadership development network, champions the advancement of women in the home and furnishings industries. In 2012, I served as president and am serving as the chairman of the board in 2013.

Women Powering Technology ~ Founded by Angelique Mohring and Tabitha Creighton, WPT supports, elevates and empowers women in technology in chapters across Canada. WPT is a fledgling non-profit start-up and being part of the founding board of directors is nothing less than inspiring.

Impact99 ~ Founders, Pam Ross and Christine McLeod are catalysts for workplace reinvention. They embrace social, digital and mobile technology as workplace game-changers. Two years. Four sold out events. Countless a-ha! moments. Impact99 is the event for those who know it’s time for change.

140 Conference Canada ~ The 140 Conference Team was made up of a group of individuals who gave their time, energy and, most of all, passion to bring the first conference of its kind to Canada.

WaterlooMIN ~ The Waterloo Region Manufacturing Innovation Network (MIN) is an online network that connects manufacturers within the Waterloo Region in an effort to strengthen the local supply chain and create a more responsive and globally competitive manufacturing community.

Community Matters

Blissdom Canada ~ A gathering for women (and men!) developed to not only bring together Canadian bloggers, social media specialists, relevant brands and agency folks, but also to support and celebrate a burgeoning community. With sessions, parties, round tables, brands and networking discussions, BlissDom Canada helped everyone in the Canadian social media community learn new ways to connect, to create, and up their game.

Rotary Camp Enterprise ~ Camp Enterprise Golden Triangle is a cooperative effort between multiple Rotary Clubs in the ‘Golden Triangle’ region surrounding Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph, Waterloo and Fergus. Selected students have the opportunity, at no cost, to attend a 2 day immersive camp at the University of Waterloo about business and entrepreneurship.

TEDx Waterloo Women ~ Organized by Elle Pyke, TEDxWomen Waterloo tapped into the local goldmine of women leaders and produced a sell-out show. We need to convince Elle to repeat this event in 2013!

If you’re looking for community, WIBN is waiting for you. Connect with us at one of our local events or join us online on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Let’s start talking about working together makes us all stronger.

I would love to hear how you work with groups to help grow your career – and elevate others. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (whichever one works best for you) or leave a comment below.