View a presentation on the Women in the City Journey from Gwen Rhys, CEO of Networking Culture Limited and the Founder of Women in the City.
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In 2003, the City was even more male dominated than it is today and in my role as a consultant helping individuals and organisations build powerful business relationships, I came across women, many working at senior level, who wanted to connect with like-minded women working in similar environments.
I had already built up a successful network of female entrepreneurs and knew the benefits that women gained from meeting one another. I also understood that the traditional corporate hospitality – such as sport (typically rugby and football) - didn’t attract them and many that all too often women-only events tended to be too “girly” and didn’t have a sufficiently strong business focus to them.
So Women in the City started as a simple idea, to organise a “small” lunch that would enable women working in the City to share experiences, hear an inspirational speaker and have fun!
Within weeks of my sending out informal invitations to a select groups of women in my own network word spread, the media picked up on the event and three months later, in November 2003, 200 women attended the first Women in the City Lunch.
Between 2003 and 2006 Women in the City focused purely on its Annual Lunch with numbers increasing to 300 attendees.
Having organised a highly successful lunch in 2003, 4, 5, and 6 by the start of 2007 I felt that Women in the City had the potential to grow and I introduced the Woman of Achievement Award; we registered our logo as a trade mark and we began to seek sponsorship for our activities.
In 2010 we introduced the Future Leaders Award.
Along the way we published 3 issues of a magazine, Cutting Edge, but the economy made continuing the publication unviable and we now issue a monthly Ezine and increasingly use Twitter to communicate key messages.
We also continue to offer opportunities for women to connect with one another and whilst many of these combine “shopping” and “networking” some serious business connections are made.
As well as rewarding senior level women to support the progress of women, Women in the City practices what it preaches and our Volunteer Greeting Team made up of students and young professionals enables women to build social confidence, meet influential women and punch above their weight in networking terms.
Each year Women in the City develops in some way – in 2011 we introduced two new Categories within the Woman of Achievement Award and hope to introduce some more in 2012. In 2012 we increased the geographical scope of our Awards programme.
We’ve been asked to consider replicating our Annual Lunch and develop it into an Awards Programme in the Gulf States – it’s an idea!
Towards the end of 2011 we set up the Women in the City Foundation (WIC Foundation) the aim of which is to support indivduals, and in particular young people, to make better informed and more inspirational career choices and in 2012, with the support of generous donors, are supporting 2 pilot projects. The Foundation will be launched formally in the first quarter of 2013 to mark Women in the City’s 10th Anniversary.