Get the Most from Your Women In Consulting Membership

Get the most from your membership

When I first joined Women In Consulting – back in 2010 I think – I was looking for insights on how to be a successful consultant. I wanted information I could put to use right away on fees, contracts, scope, subcontractors, insurance, and all the pieces I knew I didn’t even know enough about to name. Essentially, I was looking at the organization in a transactional way, much like other organizations and institutions where there’s value to get in exchange for membership to be paid.

What I didn’t realize was the deep, abiding business friendships I’d develop among high-powered and very independent-minded women. 

Before joining Women In Consulting, I had a sense of being frustrated by the lack of serious business conversation among the friends I’d made from my kids’ schools and sports programs and other activities. I missed being surrounded by people talking about all that was going on in the business world: technology innovations, leadership philosophies, mergers, new products, and the day to day of making business happen. And those people had primarily been men in my life as an employee.

Those deep, abiding friendships didn’t happen immediately. They have taken a long time, but more importantly, they’ve developed because I’ve taken a different approach to getting to know people in the Women In Consulting community.

I’ve always had an approach to becoming part of a group or organization of jumping in through volunteering for key activities. That helps me get to know more keenly what’s important to the people in the organization and how things get done. Then I can feel more comfortable about the lay of the land and what’s important. (This likely comes from me moving around every year or two growing up and figuring out how to participate in new schools and social groups.)

I could stop here and say that the way to developing relationships in Women In Consulting is to volunteer for activities. In part, that’s true – and it’s that way for any organization you want to actually get value out of (you don’t get much value just by joining, you actually need to get involved). But I discovered an additional component to getting involved that has made all the difference.

Working together with other members over a period of time in an effort to accomplish a particular objective or to work through challenges has created the circumstances for me to get to know more deeply quite a few amazing women in this community. I know them enough to understand their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and how they fit into my life. I love that I now have 5-10 women that I can rely on having an engaging and potentially transformational conversation with about business. 

The keys to making these deeper connections:

  • Working together
  • Regularly meeting over 3-6 months at least
  • Accomplishing something meaningful to us
  • Encountering and working through rough spots

This relationship-building resembles the forming, storming, norming, and performing stages of teams: likely because trust sits at the foundation of any business relationship and that mostly develops by ‘walking through fire’ with someone. Hence the need to tackle meaningful challenges together over time.

Now, this is not to say you can’t get to know people through networking at events. I suggest that those interactions are transactional and easy to let go of unless you invest more into the relationship. They’re a good first step in figuring out if you can do business together or be friends. Going beyond that first step is where a richer business friendship begins.

How This Applies to Women In Consulting

I’m working to apply my experience, and similar experiences of other people I’ve talked to about this, to our volunteer activities in Women In Consulting. So much of what needs to be done can be completed individually, independently, on your own. That may be efficient when measured against the objective of just getting it done. And sometimes that’s going to make sense. But in looking at our volunteer needs as opportunities to have everyone get the full value of being in Women In Consulting, we need to set this up so people work together and get to know each other. Even if it’s coordinating, touching base, brainstorming, or just being there. 

Here’s an example that’s effective but not efficient by traditional standards: I get together with one of our members regularly to help them think through and do the work they need to do to get stuff done for our organization. I’m there to support, encourage, ideate, refocus, solve problems, and be present. I do that because I care about this person and what I’m doing makes a difference for them – just being present to what’s needed.

I invite you to think about how this might help you get to know the special people in our community better – so that you too have connections that can keep you moving through challenges, celebrate good times, and just be there for you and your business.

I’ll be writing more to you about how this looks for our volunteer needs. You can start thinking about the categories of activities you’d like to participate in for 3-4 months at a time, meeting a few times a month – limited commitment but an opportunity to get to know exceptional women committed to business success.

Here’s to greater business success, deeper relationships, and a balanced life in 2022.

About Kathryn Gorges

President of Women In Consulting, Senior Business and Marketing Coach, and Co-Founder at Inspired Success, I coach and lead masterminds for inspired entrepreneurs creating businesses that fuel their passion, bring them joy, put them in flow, and make them money. I apply over 10 years transformational coaching experience and 17 years of high tech marketing and sales to my work with entrepreneurs. My extensive marketing background enables me to help businesses close the gaps between their offerings and the needs of their market and communicate value simply and effectively so that revenue can grow sustainably.

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