Last year, prompted by coaching a private client who was being bullied in the workplace, I started a research project on that very pink elephant in the room: the bullying of women, by women. I conducted a LinkedIn poll and wrote a blog series covering all aspects of this topic in what I eventually called the “Lipstick Jungle” series. Within hours, my inbox was literally flooded with input and stories from women from all over the world wanting to share their at times, horrifying but always moving experiences.
There were two underlying themes cutting across all of the comments which under pinned a general feeling of isolation that many women feel in the workplace:
- a serious lack of trusted female role models at a senior level to emulate
- a similar lack of female mentors to support women through their various career challenges
So I put out a “tweet” asking if anyone on Twitter would be interested in setting up a programme specifically to mentor women through their various career transitions to reach their professional goals. Immediately Anne Perschel contacted me and we started on what has become a year long journey of discovery. We contacted other women who might be interested in joining us. Some had other commitments. Others preferred different approaches. Happily Lise Moen , with her extensive marketing experience was as excited about the possibilities that this project offers and decided to join us.
Ahead of the game
We meticulously researched what women were wanted and needed, what corporations and organisations offered their female employees and what other avenues for support existed. It struck us (well Lise and Anne truthfully before me – I’m a bit slow) that we were very much of the time we find ourselves in and perhaps we are even ahead of it. We are setting up a venture in a very non-traditional way, via the global reach of social media and on line contact. In so doing, we are almost inadvertently redefining how people might connect and collaborate in so many ways. This particular route is one that especially lends itself to women, who are pulled in so many directions and for whom time and flexibility are very precious commodities.
So what started with 140 characters has developed into a lively discussion group on LinkedIn with inspiring contributors from all corners of the globe. We are also launching this very online magazine where all women can share their special stories and points of interest.
Redefining ways to collaborate
We have a huge number of ideas in the pipeline about how to convert these various thoughts into practical offerings to support women in all the challenges they face as they strive to fulfill their potential. Some want to reach the very top of their professional trees. Others have different goals. On the way we are also redefining what it means to be successful. Each one of us will have different ideas as to what that means and it is our intention to embrace them all.
So whatever your point of view, or your end goals, we welcome every kind of diversity and are thrilled to have you with us!