My headline may seem trite or oversimplified, but it is the core of why the Women’s Business Network of Ottawa (WBN) exists. Over the years, great strides toward equality for women in the workforce have happened, but here are some basic facts that cannot be ignored:
- The wage gap still exists – and the gap is wider in Canada than in the reports out of the US.
- There are significantly fewer women than men in executive positions.
- The needs and challenges faced by women are unique.
These are just a few of the broad reasons that organizations like WBN Ottawa are critical for women in business. Because together we can make a bigger difference in these and many other areas where women have needs that differ from men.
My observations about the WBN
I attended my very first WBN breakfast in November 2012. I left the breakfast and immediately joined as soon as I got to my computer. A lot has changed in the WBN over the past two and half years, but one thing has remained constant – we are doing everything we can to support businesswomen in Ottawa as they work to achieve personal and professional goals.
I’m personally very proud of what we’ve accomplished for our members, because:
- The leadership and committees are volunteer based. An incredible amount of work is done by our membership without compensation and that shows a true commitment to the WBN and strong belief in our vision and values.
- We have members who see a need and jump in to fill it. Often the needs are tied to a member’s professional expertise, and we have a diverse and talented membership. This has created a culture of members innovating for the benefit of the entire membership – including themselves.
- Events are designed to focus on building relationships and sharing information – not selling. We want to help develop women into strong leaders by offering various development opportunities. We don’t have a strict focus on business because in today’s world, the lines are blurred. If we help the whole person, our network and our community benefits.
What do I get out of the WBN?
I didn’t join to make sales – that has been a by-product of being an engaged member. I’ve developed some excellent relationships with other members who refer business to me, keep me accountable in my professional life, allow me to grow through my involvement with the WBN’s leadership, and use their connections when they are able to help me fill a need.
Why am I going to renew my membership?
I believe that my future success will be enhanced by my continued involvement in the WBN. I know that the more I connect with my fellow members, the more I get out of being a member (you get what you give)! I hear the stories my fellow members share about their own experiences – many of whom have been members longer than I have.
Why should you join or renew your membership?
You’ve likely heard the famous Madeleine Albright quote, “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” While I understand and appreciate the sentiment, I like to look at it from a different perspective – women who take time to help other women make our world a better place. The WBN provides that opportunity to every woman who joins and it’s a privilege and a pleasure to watch my fellow businesswomen achieve their dreams.
If you aren’t a member yet, please join us at one of our upcoming events so you can get to know us. If you are a member, be sure to click “renew” when you get the notice! (Psst…don’t forget to find a committee to join – it’s the best thing I’ve done since I joined the WBN!)
Karen Wilson is a communications strategist and freelance writer with over ten years of marketing and communications experience. She is the current WBN Vice President (2014-15) and helps out on the Marketing and Communications Committee. When she’s not working or spending time with family, Karen enjoys giving back by volunteering with QuickStart Autism, a local Ottawa charity that is committed to early identification and intervention for autistic children. Connect with her through her website, Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn.