“The Donna Louise Children’s hospice were lucky enough to be Connects chosen charity for the foreseeable future. It is a group of like-minded women in professional positions, looking to expand their professional circle.
I find it very useful as I meet women from various fields of experience and they incorporate this into raising vital funds for the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice.
I also find the social side that the group offer an enjoyable experience and I like spending time with them”.
Lisa Courtney Fundraiser, Donna Louise Children’s Hospice
“When I first attended Connect as a visitor I was made very welcome, it was good to be among a group of like-minded women giving each other support, advice and guidance, which is what made me want to become a member. The meeting takes place one morning a month which is good for me as it doesn’t take me away from my business for too long but enables me to network and with the help of the other members in the group spread the word about my business.
I would recommend any woman in business come to one of our Connect meetings and see what we are about”.
Paola Boyce Bromley Interiors
“I have been to many networking events since I started my own Aesthetics business in 2012.
I found some events to expect too much commitment, or pressure for referrals. Others didn’t give me the opportunity to network effectively and tell everyone about my business. Some events I felt uncomfortable with, or too ‘hard sell’ or not friendly.
“Connect has been a great asset to my business. Not only have I had lots of leads for my business but I gain so much more – from business support and friendship to a link to lots of things and people I did not know that I needed to know”!
Sally Wagstaff Xodos Hair Removal Clinic
“I joined Connect about 4 years ago, as I was looking to grow my new business. As well as gaining new contacts and clients through the group, I have learned and developed a range of skills useful for running your own business. The meetings are lively and informative, and business referrals are generated in a relaxed, friendly and supportive environment. I would recommend membership of the group to any woman in business who is willing to invest time building lasting, mutually beneficial business relationships”.
Alison Bradley Authorised Distributor for Utility Warehouse
“Connect is a brilliant networking group. So many of its members run their own businesses so everybody understands the stresses each other experience. With each member being from a different business, there is a wealth of knowledge to draw on. The referral section also concentrates the mind to help each other as much as possible”.
Louise Grey Silver Sentiments
“I was invited to visit the Connect group a couple of times between 2012 and 2014 as a substitute for members on holiday, or facing work commitments, and really enjoyed each visit. The members were always so welcoming and each time I came away with new ideas and inspiration.
In 2014 I decided that I wanted to become a permanent member because I realised that if that ‘fix’ of positivity and business support became a monthly date in my diary I would benefit personally and professionally. I simply have no idea what took me so long to apply to become a member!
What I value about Connect is:
- I meet and network with a diverse range of businesswomen that I wouldn’t meet otherwise.
- A number of members and guests have become trusted suppliers of goods and services.
- I have learned new skills and ideas through the presentations given by guest speakers and members.
- The regular business support section of each meeting gives me an opportunity to tap into the shared wisdom of members and visitors.
- I have gained work directly through Connect members and visitors.
- I have gained good exposure for my business through the Connect website and its social media channels.
Meetings are well-run and managed, but retain a welcoming and friendly feel. If you come along to Connect prepared to give help and support, as well as receive it, I believe you will benefit from productive new connections and valuable business relationships”.
Elaine Pritchard Caittom Publishing
I came to Connect as a visitor a couple of times, and the warm atmosphere, and genuine women that I met, meant I felt it was by far the best group to join. I have been a member now for a year and have built some great friendships, and utilised each other’s business, with hard working, successful members. We truly wish to enhance each other’s business and support each other as much as possible. I look forward to seeing what this year holds for all of us”!
Maxine Moseley RGN, NIP Aesthetic Nurse Specialist
“I joined Connect as I work in a fairly male dominated profession and wanted the opportunity to network with other business women. I have gained a lot from being part of the group – I have expanded my business network and also benefited from the expertise of the other members in the business support section of the meetings. We have had some great speakers and visitors and I would really recommend coming to one of our meetings”.
Caroline Cook LLB (Hons), DipPFS Financial Adviser, Mercia Financial Services
“I started my business as a sole trader in 2015. It was suggested that I look for a networking group and was recommended to contact Connect. I was extremely nervous as this all was a new venture for me. I remember on the first meeting I arrived as a very nervous visitor, but came away with loads of confidence as the members made me feel so welcome. I decided this was the group for me and since being a member, my business has grown and grown, together with my confidence. The meetings are fun and the speakers are inspirational. The support that we give each other is second to none and I would highly recommend anyone looking to visit or join a networking group to come along to this fantastic group of professional ladies in business”.
Andrea Ferguson Mobilized Business Websites
“Although I am one of the group’s organisers, I still value being a member of the group for promoting my business and connecting with like-minded women. Our monthly meetings are always vibrant and informative and I go away from each meeting with some new ideas and new contacts. The lunch is always delicious too so definitely worth staying for! The group has a good range of visitors and speakers throughout the year and this adds value to the group I think”.
Pam Beale Mission Accomplished
“I was keen to join a local networking group that did not pressure you to provide referrals and had a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. I first attended Connect over a year ago and was made very welcome and enjoyed the meeting immensely. My membership was delayed due to a change in employer, but I am pleased to say that I have now joined the group. Every meeting is different with varied and informative speakers; we have lively discussions followed by an excellent lunch for further networking. I would recommend any lady in business to come along to a meeting; I am sure they will enjoy the morning as much as we do”.
Emma Susans Marks Insurance Consultants
“Connect is quite simply the most friendly and helpful networking group I have ever attended. While there is never any pressure (as with some other networking groups) to pass on work to other members, this seems to happen naturally because of the helpful ethos of the group.
Meetings are always interesting, with excellent short talks from visiting speakers and / other members and there is a useful section at every meeting where members can air any business issues they may have and receive genuinely supportive advice from other group members.
For anyone feeling nervous about the traditional stand-up in front of a room full of strangers … not a problem. You will be amongst friends”!
Karrie Hidderley Electra Films
“I have been a member (and Chair) of Connect for 7 years. In this time, I have been referred to some fabulous businesses and have been able to work with companies that would have been nigh on impossible to access through other means. On top of this, I have met and made great friends with some great ladies who are all equally serious about growing their business with integrity and professionalism. Every meeting is inspiring and motivating, with great atmosphere and ethos. It’s a monthly meeting that I never want to miss”!
Clare Whalley Meta4 Coaching and Training
“I was a member of Connect for two years and reluctantly left the group when I relocated to Torquay. The members were very friendly and supportive. My confidence grew as a result of being able to network in a relaxed but professional environment. As a result my business grew. I really looked forward to the monthly injection of enthusiasm and motivation that the group provided”.
Debbie Phillips Forever Living Products
“Connect is a fantastic networking group for ladies in business. I was a member when the group first started and found the opportunity to network with like-minded ladies in business to be invaluable.
The support and quality of referrals are second to none and the connections I made then are still there today. I’ve loved being asked back to speak at the meeting and can see the group has gone from strength to strength.
If it weren’t for my ridiculous schedule I’d re-join tomorrow, and would certainly recommend any ladies in business to go along to a meeting and experience the vibrancy and support for themselves”.
Tracy Pound Maximity
“Over a number of years I have attended Connect as a visitor and as guest speaker. During that time I have seen member businesses evolve from start-up situations to become mature, established and successful. It is possible to benefit from the skills, experience and resources of a group like this by taking a step back from the day-to-day pressures involved in running your business to seek support, ideas and inspiration from the members.
For small businesses in particular, a supportive network such as this can be invaluable in helping you feel less isolated, particularly in the early stages of business development. If you are prepared to contribute to the group, you may find that the group becomes your virtual and extended sales team. Most importantly however, it’s entertaining too”!
Sue Hatton FCIPD Member Pickerings Solicitors LLP