At an amazing luncheon for women, I was listening to some inspiring stories that had taken corporate women to leave one way of life behind and follow a path which seemed more like a love for life than work, creating their own business in the process.
This would be a dream for so many women but not a reality. So, how do we take passion, vulnerability, rawness and put that into our current working environment?
A quote from Kyle Cease says, “Love it or leave it.” This has stuck with me. I feel that if we took some lessons from these women who had a sea change in their career and put that into our current work situation we could possibly love that environment. So, what is the difference and what do we need to do differently?
Working within a male dominated industry for seventeen years, and completely loving the differences between genders, it is easy to see that male and females really do network and communicate differently. It took a sabbatical to see the major differences and all the benefits from doing so.
At the luncheon there were a couple of women at my table I chatted to, I wanted insights on why these women attended such an event. I was surprised at their responses, they felt that they needed to do something for themselves instead of that standard Friday lunch, beers and network sessions that seemed to them more suited to the boys in the office. They had felt tired of feeling like they needed to stay in the office and were in desperate need of an outlet. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a good beer and a chat on a Friday afternoon, but what I took away from an all-female luncheon really was food for thought.
How do women network and be authentic, and show a love for what they do, that is different to attending the bar on Friday afternoon with the boys? What has stood out is when women share stories, gather together to empower each other, by different methods such as luncheons, power circles, gratitude brunches, life edit workshops, yoga, deep meditation circles … the list goes on, my point is, when women gather together and they get to take off that mask magic happens and women get that empowerment they need to network in a feminine energetic way. This type of behaviour you don’t see at the bar with the boys for those Friday beers.
When women get together, they create, they share, and they nurture each other. This is an amazing empowering experience. Once those masks come off and the trust is put in the circle a bond is created and the network is created. It is when there is a complete feminine energy this occurs and something I only occasionally see in a mixed gender group.
There is an importance in making this type of networking acceptable in a male dominated workplace, when it is encouraged and accepted amongst our male work mates, then we create a new culture! It is great to have both energies in the workplace, both masculine and feminine as we bring different things to the table.
Once women share their struggles and dreams only then do they become raw, real and vulnerable. It is when women behave that way they empower each other and network beautifully.
The support and empowerment that occurs when the labels are placed away, and the real women present themselves is something exceptional. This feeds their souls, it creates acceptance, and by allowing this type of feminine space and energy to occur we build better selves, happier souls and more productive female workers.
What does this actually look like in a workplace? We need all those team leaders, supervisors, managers, and influencers to grow acceptance in the workplace and to actually walk that path. Let’s embrace what diversity is in the workplace and encourage empowerment of the individuals in whatever way it is needed. Let’s create a fully engaged workforce that doesn’t require a sea change in careers, so women love what they do where they are now!
I look forward to more of these women’s luncheons, networking, and I am happy to recognise that our genders do have different needs. Instead of women staying in the office on a Friday afternoon, I encourage a different network approach and to seek out a great networking group that empowers you.
What’s your perspective of how women like to network? Share in the comments below or submit your article to Woman Rising here.
By Kylie Michelle
Sergeant Kylie Michelle-Walters started her military career at the young age of seventeen in the Royal Australian Navy. After taking time off to have a family and travel, Kylie joined the Australian Army at thirty-four years of age.
As mum of a blended family with three teenagers and her partner David, who travels with his career in Mining, she has still managed to deploy and work throughout Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East.
Kylie has been awarded in her time with Silver Commendation for her service in Afghanistan, a Soldiers medallion for exemplary work for her role at Headquarters 1st Division and numerous campaign medals for active service overseas. She was selected to represent the Army in France on Anzac Day and privileged to recite the ode. Kylie has taken on roles in the military close to her heart such as Senior Equity Advisor, Workplace Behaviour Educator, Communication Mentor and Sexual Ethics Educator.
She has survived many hurdles but has managed a happy work life balance. In 2017 she hit a juncture in her life that lead her to take a sabbatical from her military career. She has developed a passion over the years of her journey, both civilian and military, about facilitating and educating on real raw authentic relationships. This break from her career was to utilise lessons learnt and skill sets to become a Facil–cator (Facilitator / Educator) where during this time she has advocated for the changes she wishes to see in the world.
Follow her on Instagram @letussitlooselywiththat