HER-oic Networking

A Fresh Take on Women's Business Networking in Vancouver

A Fresh Take on Women’s Business Networking in Vancouver

Fresh. Fun. Friendly. That seems to be the new mandate for women’s networking groups in Vancouver – the city with the infamously difficult social atmosphere – as a new generation of women leaders make it their business to connect women (online and off) with new ideas, positivity and a little fun too.

Indeed, traditional networking can be a pretty tough nut to crack. Even with career experts lauding its many benefits and big-name CEOs crediting their successes to mentors, it’s hard to know where to start. And for some, the costs associated with membership in the city’s larger networking groups can make them financially inaccessible. It’s with these frustrations in mind that several new women-focussed business groups are popping up around Vancouver:

10-years ago, the Downtown Networking Association (DNA) launched out of a local law office to bring a new mix of diversity, work and play to women’s networking. Today, they host regular lunch and dinner networking events at Vancouver’s hottest restaurants.

Then came along, the fashion-forward ladies behind Yes!Vancouver, who’ve artfully tied together networking and the social good – each and every Yes!Vancouver event directly benefits the international women’s charity, Dress for Success.

And now, there’s another small group gaining traction with its urban appeal, hip branding and ability to connect – the locally-founded, Pink Tank Group. I checked in with founders Reagan Burwash and Lorena Laurencelle to learn more about them and here’s what they had to say:

“Our goal is to create a community of success with all the fabulous local women in Vancouver,” explain co-visionaries, Reagan and Lorena. Reagan, who first sketched out the beginnings of the Pink Tank model with support from her manager at Dermologica, wanted to zero-in on a different kind of networking group – one that focussed on education and community at the cross-section of the social and professional. Lorena, who happens to be a colleague, joined in soon after to help bring the vision to life.

“Connect, inspire and motivate – we truly live and breathe by this motto,” say Reagan and Lorena. “The more we can connect, work with and motivate each other, the more successful we all will be.”

Past Pink Tank events have been well-attended and well-received, ranging from a Smart Savvy favourite: “If I only knew then” panel discussions, to member-driven hot topic “Think Tanks,” and even a private showing of the ground-breaking documentary, Girl Rising.

Reagan and Lorena say they “love to share the stories behind successful women of all backgrounds, age and industries” on their blog and they “love to partner with local organizations that have some amazing women behind their brands.”

As for 2014, Reagan and Lorena plan to add a few fun things to the Pink Tank repertoire. In addition to featuring more inspiring career stories on their blog (ranging from hair stylists to digital marketing mavens), they plan to:

  • Introduce a new membership program that includes a subscription to Fast Company magazine for each membership
  • Host regular “Champagne Friday” tweet ups (starting Friday, January 17th)
  • Produce their 3rd Annual NextGen: “If I only knew then” event, featuring 4 inspirational business leaders (tentative date set for March 27)
  • Continue to expand their just-launched Pink Tank Book Club (started January 9th w/ the gripping real-life story of Malala Yousafzai, titled I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban).

It’s been said that the difference between an audience and a community is just the way the chairs are pointing. Unfortunately, a lot of networking events are organized with a chair-forward mentality.

Sure, you might not be one of the Women Executive’s Network’s Top 100…yet. But with the friends you make through forward-thinking groups like Vancouver’s Pink Tank, you might be there sooner than you think – and have some fun along the way.

 

Pink Tank Group

Website: http://www.pinktankgroup.com

Membership Fee: Currently free. If you like them on Facebook/Twitter or email them, you are officially part of the “Pink Tank Community.” Cost of events vary.

 

Downtown Networking Association (DNA)

Website: http://www.dnavancouver.com

Membership Free: $60 Annually, plus events

 

Yes!Vancouver

Website: www.yesvancouver.org

Membership Fee: $100 annually, incl. one Signature Yes! event. 100% of membership fee donated to Dress for Success.