Who needs a night out?
I have a secret confession- last winter I got busted for whining. Who among us hasn’t been caught in a whine sometime in the last year? Let’s face it, it has been a challenging year for all of us. At the time I was whining about a lack of events for women in finance to network. Many of us whine to our family and friends about the lack of this or that. Unfortunately, I complained to the wrong person. He simply told me if I wanted this event then I should create it. CRUD. BUSTED. UT OH were many of the next thoughts that raced through my mind that are fit for public consumption. What would you do if that was the response you received when you complained about something? And now that I have challenged you, what will you do?
I could have made up a million excuses to duck out of planning the event. “There’s not enough people”, “It takes too much time”, “It’s just too hard”, “I don’t have a big enough network”……. The list goes on and on. I bet you are about ready to ask me if I want some cheese with that whine, right?
Am I the only one that gets wrapped up in my own head and scared to try new things? Trapped by the fear of what might happen, good or bad. It can be so easy to opt for the status quo instead of doing something. I am there far too frequently. This time I decided to take that chance. In spite of my own fears of failing and not being able to build this event, I went ahead anyway. Has it been easy? Of course not. Has it been worth it- no question about it! Because at the end of the day, the event isn’t about me- it’s about the women that attend, network, and learn something new. Finance Ladies Night out is all about building a community, brick by brick. Understanding the power of networking, sharing, and participating in a journey. It’s about the generous sponsors that also believe in the diversity we need in the business community, without just trying to use our attendees as a number in a sales pipeline. It's about all the helping hands along the way that have made sure this is successful. Just like on BeBee, how we all help each other- whether it is commenting on articles, inspiring others to write, or simply encouraging writers to keep writing by marking things as relevant. I'm trying to do the same in the offline world.
This fall I shared with the group in Minneapolis the plan for next year. My group in Minneapolis are the first brave souls to give this idea a chance- a fantastic little community that has inspired me to keep building this because I am on to something that has been missing. We’ve been quietly working away at the plan, taking one little step of faith at a time. But I realized I never told you- the community around me that has quietly and not so quietly supported me along the way. Sometimes it is just cheering from the sidelines, the emails of encouragement telling me to keep going, or just a like or a share for an article I write. This little entrepreneur is so grateful for all of it!
So here’s the plan- by this time next year, Finance Ladies Night Out will exist in three cities- Minneapolis, Dallas, and Denver. We plan in to be in Dallas in Feb 2017, and back in Minneapolis April 2017. We are still working on timing for Denver (hoping for summer 2017). I started to reveal the plan as I networked with women at the SAPInsight conference in Dallas. I had no idea how it would be received, and frankly was scared no one would be interested. I was afraid my little dream of growing the community might die right there. The enthusiasm, responses, and encouragement I received still brings tears to my eyes. Um, yes, we will definitely be coming to Dallas!
So what determines our ability to have the events? Simply put, sponsors and attendees. We don’t buy lists to get our attendees. We build them one connection at a time with those that want to be part of the community. Does it limit the speed we can scale? Yep. Do I care about how fast we scale? Nope. Friends bring other friends, and we grow organically. If you would like to opt in to our group, sign up here. We won’t spam you either. If you want to be a sponsor for an event in the future, please reach out to me privately on LinkedIn or email me so we can make sure it is a fit.
What if you are not in these cities but want to participate? If you want to come to any of these cities to experience this community, simply let us know. We are happy to have you at our events!
As we enter this Thanksgiving season, thank you so much to all those who have attended and supported these events. Your support, kind words, encouragement, and sometimes a kick in the pants were exactly what was needed! If this has made you laugh, smile, or inspired you in some way, I would be grateful if you would comment. If nothing else, I just hope this message challenges in some small way. Happy Thanksgiving!