Wonder Women of Boston
Have you heard of the Wonder Women of Boston? It is a great community of women focused on networking and helping each other develop relationships and skills for life and work. Natalie and I have both met some really interesting people through their events, which include large networking events, small-group coffee dates, book talks, and more. We asked Courtney Goldberg, an involved member of the group, to share her thoughts on the group with us. That’s Courtney above (on the right) with Wonder Women founder Jeanne Dasaro (on the left). Feel free to contact Courtney on twitter, and learn more about Wonder Women through their website.
In high school I played lacrosse. Before our games and during practice, we played catch. We tossed the ball back and forth, rolled grounders to each other and we jumped, launched and squatted to retrieve the ball—or chased after it if we missed it. There was never a game of lacrosse catch that didn’t exist without a plethora of “I’m sorrys!” and “My bads!” shouted by the thrower of the ball—regardless of the quality of the toss. Those comments were so pervasive, it bordered on annoying. Take that same lacrosse catch warm-up exercise to a men’s lacrosse field and you wouldn’t hear a single “I’m sorry!” or “My bad!” You’d hear grunts and swearing, but certainly not the infamous phrase that implicates you in wrongdoing, even if you threw the most perfect arch towards your teammate and they happened to miss it.
On Saturday, November 8th, I attended an outstanding event with the Wonder Women of Boston, a networking group for the driven, creative, accomplished and bright women who live, work and study in this fine town of ours. The event was entitled “What’s Next for Women Leaders” and it involved a discussion-type format, where the participants led the discussion (as opposed to the traditional format where participants listen to a panel of speakers and ask questions at the end). This format is referred to as an Open Space and it’s a kind of programming that is gaining traction and growing in popularity across the country. In the Open Space format, the participants not only lead the discussion, but they also select the topics—just as long as those topics relate to the umbrella theme for the day. That morning, our topics included reducing the need for women-focused conferences, supporting female political candidates through fundraising, supporting the next generation of female leaders and how to get women to believe their own bullsh*t. These topics inspired a lively mix of discussion where 25 women moved about the room and participated in one or many of the discussions spawn from these topics. Not only was it a great way to put an intellectual spin on a Saturday morning, but it was also an excellent way to meet other like-minded women. I left the event with a handful of contacts—good contacts with whom I have since connected on LinkedIn and followed on Twitter—women I look forward to seeing again at a future Wonder Women event.
But don’t just take it from me! Here’s what Jeanne Dasaro, the Founder of the Wonder Women of Boston has to say about the group’s popularity: “the growth and excitement continues even after 4 years. Really amazing women, doing really awesome things, show up event after event. They are engaged and ready to make connections. They bring others or tell their friends if they are unable to attend. We worked hard to create that environment and culture. Its wonderful to see it come together in ways better than [I could have] imagined.”
For Jeanne and those of us on the Events Committee, the Wonder Women of Boston has brought us new friends, mentors and connections that will stay with us for a long time. That’s because those connections are based on the quality of the programming and the discussion in which they are made.
Again, Jeanne says this better than I could. “We to continue to be a place for meaningful connections, but we also want to start thinking about what’s next for women’s leadership. With women’s leadership, we’re having a bit of a “moment,” some things are progressing, changing, moving forward – other things are not. I’d like us to be talking more about that in the coming year.”
That is truly what makes the Wonder Women of Boston so great—what motivated me to keep coming back and to get involved with the Events Committee. It’s the professionally diverse community that Wonder Women events attract—people who come to events not only ready to contribute and make new contacts, but those who are open and willing to help others—so we can all value from the network.
As I walked away from the Open Space event, I felt empowered. That’s because I held with me some incredible takeaways from the morning’s discussion.
– As women, we need to consciously support diverse events and projects and encourage men to invite women to the proverbial table.
– Women in politics support everyone – not just women.
– Reach out to the women who came before us and will come after us.
– Give yourself permission to speak up – not only in the room, but also in the world.
Men don’t apologize for bad throws so why should we? We just need to try harder to catch the balls next time. I look forward to meeting you at a future Wonder Women of Boston event. Chances are high that you’ll be inspired!
Thanks, Courtney, for sharing your experience with Wonder Women! The group has lots of events, both large and intimate, open to members ($20-40 annually) and non-members. Check out their website to find out more, or stay up to date with twitter, facebook, and instagram!
Images courtesy of Wonder Women of Boston.