SEI has always had a cultural focus on building relationships. This is key to developing and maintaining connections both within and outside of our organization. Two years ago, I decided to try a new approach to relationship building when I began hosting Women Crush Wednesdays! I got the idea to start a women’s group while attending a conference, where I met someone who had recently attended an event sponsored by SEI-Atlanta. She raved about it. That inspired me to follow up to see how I could implement something similar in Cincinnati. The concept feeds into the overall approach at SEI to have an active dialogue about relevant topics, like work-life balance. When we come together, we are empowered by the encouragement of one another facing similar challenges.
The concept is simple — a small group of around ten women meet for dinner and have conversations about professional and personal topics. Each SEI-Cincinnati consultant or SEI-Services team member invites a guest. This results in a dinner that is a mix of colleagues, clients, and other professional women. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know fellow SEI coworkers better, meet women from other clients, learn about different industries and form new relationships.
The conversations during these dinners have resulted in a wide variety of connections. These run the gamut from professional to very personal in nature. Some examples of connections made include:
- One guest, who is a freelance writer, met someone from a client in the medical equipment industry. They discussed her writing a story around some of the client’s new products.
- A woman who hosts at-risk kids had a “son” who was headed to college in another city. She was concerned that he needed some additional parental guidance. Through one of these dinner conversations, she discovered that another guest had a good friend who is a teacher in the same town and was able to connect the two.
- A guest who was a nanny in New York City in a prior life offered to talk with an SEI consultant’s daughter who was considering a similar pursuit.
I’ve had the privilege to attend all of the events and have observed a comfort and empowerment that women experience when they come together, which is Why Bringing Women Together is Important. These benefits include:
- Creating Genuine Connections – We are able to take the time to engage in deeper conversations and find reassurance in knowing that we are not alone.
- Providing Meaningful Collaboration – We are able to collectively discover new ways to make a difference.
- Building Confidence and Inspiring – There is a power in women supporting women. It promotes an increased level of self-assurance when others genuinely cheer you on. We are able to hear how other women have navigated various personal and professional challenges in their lives.
This year we also had a larger event coinciding with International Women’s Day on March 8. All past attendees of Women Crush Wednesday were invited to honor the accomplishments of women in Cincinnati and follow the theme: #BalanceforBetter. Celebrations like this, where women come together gives them the courage to rise above their own expectations and accomplish great things! I look forward to continuing our monthly dinners this year and discovering more about the fabulous women I already know and ones I have yet to meet.