by Miisa Mink, Founder and Chief Doer, Driven Woman
After running hundreds of Lifeworking groups and meeting thousands of women, I’m convinced that women who actually go after their dreams and reach their goals are those who surround themselves with the right crowd. And don’t just take my word for it, there’s enough evidence that surrounding yourself with the right people is the fastest way to success.
Women’s networks are not just about inspiration and learning from each other, a good tribe of like-minded people will boost your mood, help you believe in your dream and give perspective to the decisions and challenges ahead. It is the collective energy of many that often defines whether you are going to give up on your project or carry on and persevere. If you surround yourself with ‘nay sayers’ (and believe what they say), the negativity is likely to wear you down sooner than you think.
Surround yourself with people who cheer you on and you’ll have much higher chance of success.
Naturally, we all have a different definition of success, and I hope you do too. There’s no point chasing someone else’s dream!
Therefore it’s important to make an informed and independent decision on what kind of network is right for you. Moreover, you should consider carefully why you want to join a women’s network and what is right for you — Do you want to expand your network, gain more business knowledge or build up your success mindset?
“The fastest way to do the things you don’t think can be done is to hang around people already doing them.” Scott Dinsmore
We’ve done an extensive research on women’s networks in the UK and selected the 20 best women’s networks to help you achieve your goals. As you know, we love meeting people but most of all, we love making things happen.
The list is not in any particular order.
The criteria for our list has been:
- professionally run, high quality networks
- size doesn’t matter (well, eh, it does, but not on this list)
- we selected networks for contemporary women who want to live a bigger life, achieve their goals and to flourish
- active networks who are connected and make shit happen
- our list covers business, entrepreneur and social networks
- we have not included any selective or exclusive networks
We tried to cover the whole of the UK and included some on-line/international networks also. We might have missed someone who should be on the list, so please do comment below.
Founded by the brilliant Vanessa Vallelly, We Are The City supports women in their career, runs conferences and awards. The Rising Stars Awards aims to highlight the future stars across multiple categories showcasing female talent.
We Are The City is one of the best networks where you get connected with leading women across industries.
Lean In Circles are small groups of women who meet regularly to learn and grow together. The Circles are lead by volunteer women and can be set up by anyone. A Circle can be a monthly roundtable at your home, a brown-bag lunch series at work, or even a virtual meet-up with people from around the world.
We truly love the concept created by Sheryl Sandberg but recommend you do a little bit of research on the Circle leader before committing your time, not all Lean In groups are regular or structured.
The Women’s Chapter is a London-based networking group and event platform for high impact women. The network champions women in business, as well as the companies they have founded. The Women’s Chapter runs intimate events for industry leaders, plus larger outreach ones covering topics relevant to all women.
DrivenWoman has been to some of their events and they are always top quality (venue, sponsors, speakers and attendees). Highly recommended for London based doer women!
A learning platform for a global community of female entrepreneurs and innovators. Women Who Startup provides a network, a platform, multiple sources of collaboration and rapid-learning to female entrepreneurs and innovators who are committed to building successful companies.
Their events are mainly in the US, but the platform is global and their Podcast is great.
Hub Dot’s mission is to revolutionise the way women make connections, regardless of whether in business, at the school gate, in higher education or philanthropy. They organise networking events where societal labels are replaced with coloured ‘Dots’.
Join their networking evenings where you get to chose from 5 different mindsets or ‘Dots’ — Established / I have an idea, can you help / Here to get inspired / Here to socialise / I want to tell my story.
Bloomsbury is a network for parents. They are located in a beautiful venue in Central London and host free and affordable events, courses and advice for business start-ups, run a co-working space & on-site creche for childcare.
We are particularly excited about their newly launched family friendly incubator.
Founded by Otegha Uwagba, Women Who is aimed at connecting the dots for creative women. They bring together women from creative industries and beyond, working in collaboration with brands that want to support women at work and business.
Join their events for career advancement, inspiration and fashion.
Mother’s Meeting is for creative, contemporary moms who want to talk about other things than nappies and nipple cream. They have guest speakers and run professionally lead workshops for savvy women.
We love their vibe, both on- and off-line!
Their mission is to engage women and men from all industries as ‘agents of change’ and connect, collaborate and celebrate their achievements as campaign champions and advocates to drive gender balance from the north of England. They have many ways to get involved from events to awards and a brilliant podcast.
WINB is one of the bigger nationwide networks in the UK. They are a membership organisation for women who wish to gain new business opportunities through word of mouth. It is great for widening your network and getting new business opportunities. They also run a wast variety of workshops from public speaking to clutter free kitchens.
Join WINB for business connections.
Forward Ladies is a global platform that connects women to opportunities, networks, businesses and expertise that empowers them. They have been going on since 1999 and have built a nation wide network of brilliant ladies who want to better themselves in business. It’s very easy to join and accessible to all women. They also work closely with some of the UK’s biggest companies, run high quality events with great speakers but you can also simply join one of their breakfast clubs to get to know them.
Join Forward Ladies to expand your network.
Co-founders of Flock, Emma Sexton and Megan Thomas describe Flock as a ‘curated, collaborative network’ and they envision a world where business is done entirely collaboratively, where giving and taking is equal and people do not need to compete. They believe in very similar values as DrivenWoman — mutual support, the power of vulnerability and the fact that the more you put in the more you get out. They are London based but are building a global reach.
National Black Women’s Network
The NBWN champions the advancement of women across all professional disciplines by promoting leadership and positioning its members at the forefront of the rapidly changing corporate and business world. They organise a wide range of networking events with leading UK corporations to promote diversity and inclusion.
We are loving the dedication to diversity and were surprised there aren’t more networks supporting ethnic minorities. (If you know of some good ones, please comment below.)
We are currently in love with these girls, Abi & Sarah, founder of Female Success Network, for their fresh videos on Facebook. This online network offers a lot of free resources, an online classroom, events, retreats and bespoke coaching, creating a movement to support female success around the globe.
Join for fantastic on-line support and community!
This dynamic network, founded by the brilliant Lu Li, is about supporting female entrepreneurs to get into startups or to help them build their own businesses. They organise events and workshops in the London area and have a very active Facebook group. 75% of female entrepreneurs are solo founders lacking scale and connections. That’s why a dedicated network to help create new opportunities is so needed.
The place to be for female founders!
Congress London hosts events on topics designed to foster advancement and confidence, covering topics of goal setting, personal branding, networking and influencing lead by industry experts. Monthly events are coupled with more intimate small group meet ups called ‘Cliques’, allowing members to challenge and learn from each other.
This is a new network yet to show its teeth but looks like it’s creating a lot of value for contemporary ‘doer’ women.
Another new network online and off-line is Noi Club founded by the amazing Paola Garbini. NOI is a community of women who regularly meet to champion each other and move forward together. Their Facebook group is to keep connected between in-person events, and to get support and inspire each other and experience serendipity. They are London based but had their first NYC event just recently.
A friendly on-line club where you can always find support!
Everywoman was founded over 15 years ago by Maxine Benson and Karen Gill, who recognised the need to change the landscape for women in business. Their vision was to set up a forum for like-minded women to share experiences, opportunities and ideas, and provide a backdrop that enables confidence and success to grow. Everywoman organises events, networking, awards and leadership programmes. They are focused on advancing gender diversity and to elevate female role models in business at every level and across a diverse range of industries and sectors.
One of the long standing networks with a wide reach of fantastic women!
The Boss Babe Academy is one of the larger online networks for millennial women, a specialized monthly subscription service aiming to be the best resources on how to build a online business you love using social media and the internet. You get exclusive access to other members, business experts and materials that will guide you step-by-step on how to actually grow a business that fits into your lifestyle.
They have fantastic contributors but you have to join to access any of their content.
And then there’s DrivenWoman! We are the go-to place for women who want to achieve their goals are interested in personal growth and success in all areas of their life, not just business. We are the only network that focuses on developing your mindset with a very structured approach . DrivenWoman is not about business advice or making hundreds of connections in one night, but starting a journey of self discovery and finding your drive in a supportive environment with like-minded women. Members define their own success, create positive habits and put plans into action, one small step at a time. We do this by sharing our progress, keeping each other accountable and inspiring each other in monthly group meetings.
This article first appeared on Driven Woman, see source here