New women's networking group launches July 28 in Ann Arbor
Nicole Johnson knows something about networking: As a minority woman in the human resources field, she has joined numerous networking groups in both areas.
But something was missing, Johnson said. She says all of the groups were limited to how they defined themselves. As a result, she wondered how to expand her networking opportunities.
“I belong to a ton of HR groups and a couple of minority groups, and they are great for building knowledge and learning best practices,” Johnson said. “But they all do exactly what I do. I was seeking different perspectives.”
Johnson, who works at Terumo Cardiovascular Systems in Ann Arbor, answered her own question when she founded The Women in * Network, a new group that will bring professional women of all stripes together for some pampering and networking.
The asterisk in The Women in * Network acknowledges that the group is open to women in all professional areas, such as engineering, law and finance, as well as business owners and company executives.
“We want to be all-inclusive,” Johnson said.
It’s the second women-focused networking group to launch locally since 2008. The Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw is formatted to meet monthly and holds an annual spring conference.
The Women in * Network will meet six times a year at upscale restaurants, listen to short presentations on hot topics such as effective time management, meet three times a year for professional development and come together three times a year to work on a community service project. Women in * Network also provides a secure, members-only Web site where women can network.
Johnson said she understands that opening it only to women is potentially limiting, and that it may someday open to men.
But for now, she wanted professional women who share the same challenges of balancing family and work to have a place to come and enjoy fine food and talk shop.
“We, as women need to take time for ourselves and enjoy ourselves,” she said.
Janet Miller is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Our news desk can be reached at 734-623-2530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.