In 1992, a small group of business women started a women only networking group in Andover. The club thrived and today, almost 25 years later, the group is still going and growing.
While it started out with business and professional women in Andover, word of the success of the club has spread and over the years we have had ladies join from across Test Valley.
Members have ranged from small sole traders to employees of large corporates. What they do and where they do it is so diverse; a spare room, retail shop, office block, fayres. New blood joins every year and the age range is diverse – from early 20’s to way past retirement age!
Meeting once a month for dinner, networking and often with an interesting guest speaker, this has been the long term and very successful format of the club. But it has evolved as time has passed and offers even more to members; fayres, collaborative networking events with other groups, group marketing and social media have provided added value. Members dip into what suits their needs, making the club extremely flexible and adaptable to a changing audience.
More and more women are going it alone, taking a leap into self-employment. The workplace has changed so much that many women are now sub-contractors/self-employed. Juggling home, work, parenting (and grand parenting!) and all the things that make up our lives in a hectic world where news and information sharing and response is instantaneous and being flexible and adaptable is essential in all areas of your life, not just the club’s.
If you are thinking about joining a networking group, AWIB is a great place to start. Like minded women who are supportive and helpful, willing to share advice and a friendly ear. Whether you are employed or self-employed, we welcome guests to our monthly dinners on the first Tuesday of the month. In fact, we don’t want you to join unless you have been to a meeting and try before you buy. It is an unpressured and friendly group to cut your networking teeth on.
Talking of buying, membership still remains at £30 per year (1 Sept to 31st Aug). We have a very active and well followed public Facebook page where members can advertise free of charge, as well as a newsletter published monthly. An additional, members’ only forum on Facebook (which is not open to your friends, colleagues or clients) so you can ask questions of the group. The voluntary management committee organises a variety of other events. This year we have already had a Swish and a co-ed dinner that was open to men as well as women for a change of scene. A sub group have had a fayre and we have the Big Network at The Lights in October, a picnic, Christmas Fayre and more on the way.
25 years. Without a break. Pretty impressive. A brilliant group of women…. well I think so!