Action Women! Community CIC began with monthly cross-sector networking events in East Kent. The idea came out of our own experience of working with women from all walks of life and our own female friendships. We wanted to remove the barriers between women working in different sectors or self-employment, and those who are retired or not in work. We all have a great deal to learn from each other.
At our networking events we also wanted to replicate the relaxed, supportive, but often energising meetings, that take place around a kitchen table or when meeting up with a group of good female friends. Add to that, a subtle touch of structure, to ensure that new insights are gained and stories are told, we have already seen that Action Women! events can remind all of us of our capacity to make things happen.
“Coming to your evenings reminds me of who I am.”
Our goal is to support women not only to be successful in their chosen endeavours, but to be inspired and emboldened by a wider network. By meeting women they may otherwise never have come into contact with, women can gain the inspiration and confidence to take action on projects and plans that have perhaps been lying dormant for years.
Why women only? Well, at Action Women Community! CIC, we not only recognise the still enormous untapped potential of women, we also know that the barriers, both perceived and real, are more easily spoken about and overcome in a women only environment.
Other stuff, like the fact that women wear many different hats and that women see the value in all kinds of relationships are also areas where we can only give our gut feel about why it is just easier when it is women only.
In time, we hope to bring the Action Women! Community approach to the occasional event for both men and women.
For the moment, though, we are just starting to uncover a wider network of amazing women in our small corner of the world. We are celebrating achievements, using our events and workshops to tap new potential and letting our members ensure that Action Women! Community takes on a life of its own.
Meet your hosts and founders of Action Women! Community CIC:
Like many others, I spent twenty years away from Kent in, what I then considered, far more exciting places: studying, travelling, living abroad and working for small businesses,
large corporates and finally as a freelancer on training and environmental projects in both the private and public sector. When I moved back to Kent in 2001, I did think of it as a bit of a backwater. Shame on me! They say that you have to travel the world only to find that what you’re looking for is on your doorstep. That certainly seems to be the case with East Kent.
What’s more, the fact that we live in small, linked communities means that the networks appear to go much deeper, beyond the job titles, the charity you represent or the health issue you care about. Women are particularly good at wearing several hats and at making connections that are “cross sector”.
I have recently started working at Ashford Borough Council on a three year European funded project for sustainable renovation: “Greenov”. It’s a great role, but I wouldn’t want to give up hosting Action Women!. It’s like stepping into a different place for a few hours, to be reminded of other activities and approaches to life and to simply relax and have fun.
So, if you feel like a boost of energy, and to speed up those links, do join us at an Action Women! ™ Network event….and bring your friends too. It’ll be great to have you along.
Most of you will probably know me as one half of thebestof Deal and Dover, The Prosperity Network Ltd or as founder and Chair of Whole School Meals.
Although these days I am self-employed, in the past I have worked in various sectors, during 20 years in London and then here in Kent. They include
local government, a “quango”,
a co-operative, several housing associations, a charity and as a lecturer in further and higher education! So cross-sector networking seems something of a natural step.
I enjoy the existing networking groups I attend but I do think there’s a gap for informal, cross-sector networking just for women. We have our own style of getting to know each other and doing business. With all the changes coming along for local government and the NHS, in particular, I can see very interesting times ahead. They will be made more interesting – and more successful – I think, by stronger networks, contacts and relationships between enterprising and creative women from all walks of life and business.
I look forward to seeing you at an Action Women! event – hopefully the next one!