WWL? No, this is not the Women’s Wrestling League!
When launching the Women Who Lead (WWL) organization over a year ago, I was looking for co-leads to help me. I was surprised to be turned down by a co-worker because she didn’t want to be part of a group that sat around and “bitched about the guys.” Wow… That reminded me of my first marriage, sad to say. (Side note: Lesson #1 for all women (and men): Find the right partner and then you won’t find yourself complaining!)
Ultimately, this comment really made me think about the objective of this group. Was it a victim’s group? Absolutely not!
I really wanted this group to enable and motivate happiness and success at work and in life. As a female leader in a predominantly male corporate world, I felt I needed to help others grow and learn.
Finding a Mission Statement
As with any good organization, you first need a mission statement. Ours is to foster a sense of community and promote professional development and work-life balance.
What does this really mean? In simple terms, we connect, inspire and empower:
- Connect with like-minded women
- Enhance leadership and business skills
- Find work-life balance
- Inspire our members to be confident and courageous
- Enhance careers
- Enrich lives
- Empower our members with new skills
- Offer the support of our group
How Did We Get People Interested In Our Organization?
Our very first event featured a female comedian, Patti Vasquez, aka Lipstick Mom. We chose her because she was a successful comedian in an industry dominated by men. And she believes that being a wife and mother shouldn’t prevent a woman from feeling attractive or succeeding at anything you want.
We laughed, cried and then laughed again. From her spanx challenges to motherhood moments, she used comedy to speak directly to us about the day-to-day challenges of work-life balance and career versus motherhood/wife tugs-of-war all from a woman’s point of view.
Always Moving Forward!
Since that very successful launch, we’ve participated in various activities from hosting financial advice seminars to sponsoring networking events like Wine with Friends (we served beer for the alternative palates).
We’ve been inspired by some of our executive leaders, as they spoke about their obstacles and challenges they had to overcome, both professionally and personally. They were great speakers who spoke about real-life challenges that we all endure. (By the way, both speakers commented that having the right partner was the key to their success.)
We’ve had internal and external women’s panels that not only gave us tips but also inspired us to be the best we can be.
Finally, we just sponsored Quill’s Toastmaster’s club for all associates interested—both male and female (We believe in inclusion). This club will not only help improve our public speaking ability but also will improve our leadership capabilities.
One thing learned this past year from both developing the group and our many events: Being genuine is the key to being a successful woman.
How Are We Doing?
WWL is still a work in progress even a year later. As WWL evolves, we’ll continue to share real stories and topics of conversation that work and don’t work for the women at Quill. If you work at a company that hasn’t started an internal leadership group for women, stay tuned. I highly recommend starting one and can give you more details on exactly how to do it in my next post.
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