Let me tell you about the best networking event I’ve ever been to (I don’t even want to call it that, because it felt like a meet-up with old friends): the #GameChangHER Brunch Series.
The brunch series, hosted by branding extraordinaire, Jai Stone, is an intimate event with a small group of women entrepreneurs. The sole purpose of the brunch is to connect with other women in the trenches of entrepreneurship, learn from experts in various industries and discuss creating and building a real business (that’s ideal for your lifestyle), in the midst of real life pressures.
Having been recently introduced to Jai by one of my clients, I decided to purchase a ticket and attend, and I’m so glad I did. I didn’t even know what to expect because I didn’t know anyone personally who had attended one of the #GameChangHER brunches before, but given everything I had read about Jai and that series, I knew that I’d get some value out of meeting and learning from other women entrepreneurs.
This month’s #GameChangHER brunch theme was Fear, Faith and Fortitude: How to Design Your Ideal Life, with special guest speakers Carol Sankar (Business consultant, corporate leadership facilitator, and creator of The Millionaire Mindset Entrepreneurship Program) and Melissa J. Nixon (Leadership coach, change strategist and founder of the RedRoxx leadership and personal development company) – each successful entrepreneurs in their own right.
I have to be honest, from the moment I walked into the room, I knew that this event was going to be something special. I was welcomed with warm smiles, introductions and ushered into conversation. I didn’t know any of these women (especially being new to Atlanta), but it felt like we were all old friends.
When Jai arrived, the party really got started and over a delicious meal we dove into the theme for the event, with Jai speaking
preaching a word about the importance of having real conversations about creating ideal businesses and lives by working through our greatest fears, operating in faith and building fortitude.
And ohhh, did it get real!
I learned so much from Carol, Melissa and Jai about facing my fears (including fear of inadequacy or not being “ready” for business), operating in faith and in ways that align with my values and understanding that fortitude is necessary in business and only comes when you SHOW UP!
Carol made a great point by saying that too often as women (and people in general), we fail to gain the opportunities we need because we fail to show up! Because, “opportunities rarely repeat themselves.”
Show up even if you’re scared.
Show up even if you feel you’re not ready.
Show up with what you have so you can eventually get what you need.
And more importantly, show up as yourself because “people pay for originality – not copies.”
Jai went on further to say that often times in business, another thing that holds us back is that we women feel like we’re not “enough.”
Dovetailing with the importance of showing up, Melissa emphasized how important it is not to GIVE UP. She said one of the biggest things that hold women business owners back from creating their ideal businesses is the lack of persistence.
She posed a question that made me check myself: “are you willing to call someone everyday for two years” in order to get the breakthrough you want and need? If the answer is no, then business may not be for you. Persistence is so important in building that fortitude muscle.
One of my favorite parts about the event is the space and opportunity women entrepreneurs have to build brand awareness by becoming event sponsors, or by sponsoring a seat for someone else in their absence.
Did I mention there were GIFTS? Oh yes, Miss Jai is certainly the hostess with the mostest.
Even though the scheduled event was over, nearly all of us hung around and continued to connect with group photos, selfies and more great conversation. Put simply, these women were phenomenal – each and every one of them.
I loved the fact that everything about the #GameChangHER brunch was intentional. This ain’t your grandma’s stuffy Sunday brunch or your dad’s superficial, 100-person, speed-networking event.
More than passing out business cards and closing deals, I learned the importance of and the power in finding what I now call my “entrepreneurial village” – genuinely connecting with other like-minded people to offer (and gain) support.
And that’s the only kind of “networking” I want to do.