Women’s networks, sessions and webinars – are they useful?

I started late last year, deciding I needed to expand my skills and networks to include more busy women with ambition, ideas and directions. I am a member of the YWCA, Women on Boards and Business Chicks and decided that I need to (as a member) go along to these seminars that they run.

I have decided I want to get onto a Board and need to be Board ready, I did the YWCA ( there is one in every state in Australia)  “She Lead Board Training” one day workshop. I found it very useful and the connection of the girls was vast and a great network. It’s upside was it was informative, inclusive, relevant and talked on Governance. It’s downside it is geared towards the younger ladies, who are considering Boards or school councils (I have passed these). So I highly recommend this for any lady who has wants to get a basic understanding of Boards, committees and Governance issues.

I followed this up with Women on Boards “Getting Started: Realising Your Board Potential” run by Director and co-creator Ruth Mudd. This was another workshop, which I can say matched where I thought my ability and levels were at. It was again full of women. Ruth gave practical and at time complex knowledge of the dealing of Boards and where to target your skill set, and how competent one is to apply for the different levels of Boards. I found this extremely helpful and though this does not open the door to Boards you get exposure to what is a minimal requirement to get on Boards and the big highlight here was “if you don’t understand the financials you are not of use to a Board”. Taking it the next step, we got given a list of Courses to do, places to do them and homework, Identify a mentor and work with that person who needs to be a Chair of a Board. The downside, not enough education events and course are run in SA mainly NSW & VIC, which can make them expensive. They offer great discounts to members so if this is where you want to place yourself become a member, they will work with your CV to make sure it is Board ready.

So I set about going off to do the Financials for Non Financial Managers through AIMSA, part of a Cert IV in Financial Management. It was interesting, hard and extremely helpful and I highly recommend this for all people on Boards. Knowing this was the minimal requirements set for Professional Boards I wanted to be Professional at the very least.

I followed this up with a talk by Elaine Bensted CEO of the zoossa, hearing her talk about their financial stress and their business plan to overcome their troubles which seem to becoming less of an issue. Pandas aside. If you do get a chance to hear her talk she was great, open and honest in her appraisal of the situation and herself and role in the recovery of the Zoo.

This year I have kicked off with a Karen Brook “Bringing Ideas to Life” Webinar. Here is another young woman putting herself and her business out there. It was well worth the hour of my time. She talked on how to move your business forward, branding, communicating in the business world and purpose and direction. It was very thought-provoking and does leave you thinking you need more. A one on one with her is recommended, I am yet to do a workshop.