Friends And Networks Individual Friends

Friends and networks

Individual friends and extended groups of contacts within an industry are particularly useful for the expansion of learning and are often described as being of 'immense value and encouragement'. One manager speaks of 'two or three men who have been really helpful by deliberately introducing me to their network of friends without requiring me to be "one of the boys".

Networking is mentioned time and time again as a highly-valued source of support and inspiration. These networks may take several forms. Associations such as City Women's Network, Business and Professional Women and European Women's Development Network Society provide a comprehensive program of events and services which are geared towards enriching the lives and careers of professional women.

Other groups such as the Institute of Personnel and Development the Association for Management Education and Development the various bodies representing banking, marketing and management consultants, the Royal Society of Arts and many others, often have separate women's interest groups. (A full list with contact addresses is given at the end of the book.) These, together with the other activities which include professional colleagues of both sexes, provide the necessary balance. Within organizations, informal networks of other senior women frequently exist, which also offer friendship and encouragement. In addition, attending conferences not only broadens these networks, but also makes sure that you keep your name and face in people's minds.

With a group of managers from several organizations who were looking for an MBA program that would suit their particular needs, Judy devised the Integrated MBA. 'We formed a mutually-beneficial partnership and together established the first competency-based, action-learningbased MBA and chose Warwick Business School as our academic partner. We also formed a Business School Network with British Airways and offered back critique to the business schools. We shared a very special experience and this forged a friendship between all the parties involved which still lasts to this day.'


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