The Power of Women

I just finished reading a wonderful article on The Huffington Post by Morra Aarons-Mele, called “The Women We Know.” It’s a good read, so make sure to visit the site. Morra convenes an online group for the American Cancer Society, so she uses her experiences in, and mini stories from, that realm to illustrate her point: that there’s a new women’s movement about, one grounded in personal support and social change and that’s largely happening online in micro communities and large gatherings.

The article sparked a number of thoughts (a sign of a good post!), but the first one that came to me is “I know. I experience the power of women almost daily through my involvement in Women in Consulting (WIC).”

Now, I know some of you’ll think, “Of course she’d write that. She sits on the board. She’s the president-elect. She’s supposed to say how wonderful WIC is.” You’re right. It is part of my job to promote WIC. But — and this is a big but — WIC is an all-volunteer organization, save for our administrative support and a small stipend for PR. I don’t get paid for the work I do for WIC. It’s all pro bono — same for all of WIC’s board of directors, program chairs, and coordinators. If I didn’t believe everything I wrote or said about WIC, I wouldn’t be here. If I didn’t receive all the benefits that I tout, I wouldn’t donate so much of my time to help keep WIC going. So, yes, I drink the Kool-Aid, but only because I know first had that it’s mighty tasty. 🙂

It’s Not About Perfection. It’s About Connection.

Is WIC perfect? Heck no. Is it for everyone? Nope. No organization is — that’s what keeps life interesting. “Variety is the spice of life” didn’t become a cliché for nothing. 😉 What WIC is though is a community…a place to connect, to learn, to get support, to be motivated.

Now you may say, “Morra’s post was about movements. WIC isn’t a movement.” And you’re right. WIC isn’t a movement or even necessarily about social change (although the organization and many or our members do get involved). However, Morra’s post is about community and women and their power to bring about change. And WIC is all about that.

WIC is first and foremost an online community. It started as a small group of women meeting in person to support each other. And we still have regular monthly meetings (six total to accommodate the Bay Area geography), as well as special events and workshops. But WIC’s true value comes from the knowledge bank that is the WIC online Community, the partnerships we make with other organizations and businesses, and the relationships that one can build simply by getting involved. 

Make a note of that last point, as it’s one of WIC’s best kept benefit secrets and also the reason that movements grow. It’s only natural that the WIC people that I’m closest to are the ones that I’ve worked with in my various roles. I started small (helping with a silent auction, managing one of WIC’s newsletters) and slowly moved into larger roles. I’ve been on the board for almost four years now, serving in two different capacities.

The people that I turn to first for business advice are the people with whom I’ve collaborated with at WIC. The people I refer first are the people I work with, as I’m familiar with their work ethic and deliverables. And, as I’ve mentioned in the past, at least 75% of my business can be directly tied to having volunteered at WIC. And it’s not like I see all of my coworkers all the time. Heck, one of them I didn’t meet face-to-face until we’d worked together for two years! Our communications were all through the Internet or the phone for quite a while. Not only do we refer each other for projects, but we’ve developed a friendship that will last beyond our work on WIC.

It’s Not About Competition. It’s About Collaboration.

The current women’s movement works because the women work together for a common cause. It’s simultaneously about each woman and all women. Everyone is important, but no one is more important than anyone else.  This philosophy is the life blood of WIC and taps into the true power of women. Sure there are exceptions, but overall women tend to be about collaborating with others not working against them.

I and so many other WIC members that I know are more than happy to help a fellow consultant brainstorm ideas on how to improve and promote their business. Our archives are full of members and affiliates openly sharing consulting best practices. And I know that I recommend other writers for projects and other writers recommend me. It feels good to help. And I firmly believe what goes around comes around — and I’d rather see the good karma coming and going vs. bad.   

It’s Not About Going Alone. It’s About Going Together.

In her post, Morra wrote, “This week, in the midst of frenzied online organizing to promote gender equality in health care, I had a family crisis. And when I had to bow out of the action, Jodi Jacobson wrote, ‘Don’t apologize for anything…that’s what a movement is for….”

Consulting can be a solitary business. Social media communities make it less so. But even before the advent of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…I didn’t feel alone, because I was part of WIC — a pre-social-media community. The people I’ve come to know at WIC are my colleagues. And that group continues to grow as I continue to meet more people from the WIC Community. I’m continually amazed at the organization’s ability to attract sharp, savvy individuals who are so open and willing to share.

I don’t promote WIC and tout its benefits because I’m going to be president. Rather, I accepted the president role because I believe so strongly in WIC and want to help ensure its continued success.

avery@aveconsulting.com' About Avery Horzewski

Principal of AVE Consulting, Avery is a marketing and customer communications consultant, and serves on WIC's board of directors as president. As a consultant, she works with companies of all sizes to develop compelling, persuasive, and effective customer-centric marketing and communication strategies that encompass everything from websites to social media to print collateral. Avery assumed the role of WIC president in January 2010, after overseeing the organization’s marketing, PR, social media, and website initiatives for three years.

Comments

  1. Thank you for your post Avery- and I totally think you have a movement here, and a strong community. I too am a consultant and I would be lonely without my online tribe!

    Morra

  2. Thank you Morra! I like to think of WIC as a movement for helping promote women in business and a collaborative approach to doing business. So it’s nice to hear you say that! I look forward to reading more of your posts! A 🙂

  3. Elaine@StarlingMedia.com' Elaine Starling says

    Thanks for your well written article! You did a great job at outlining all the things I love most about WIC. Women really do transform the world when they unite to help each other.

    I heard an alarming statistic recently that I’m trying to validate. Supposedly approximately 67% of the glass ceiling is caused by women holding women back. It’s really about poor communication and a lack of focus on a common goal.

    I look at WIC and I see how organizations are supposed to work, thanks to great volunteers like you! We need to spread our best practices to other women’s groups and companies so this trend of mutual support, growth and engagement continues to grow.

  4. Thanks Elaine! As one of the founding members and last year’s Spirt of WIC award, your words mean a lot to me!

    That is an alarming statistic! I’ve not heard it myself. Please let me know what you find out. I’m very curious–and am holding out hope that it’s not true.

    As for sharing our best practices–I’m hoping that our various social media outlets will help us do that; and I’m hoping that others will share there’s with us.

    Thanks again! A 🙂

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