4 min read

Collectively We Have Impact

Feb 2, 2023 6:30:00 AM

Collectively We Have Impact - Cropped

It was August 2021 and I’d spent the last 6 months fully diving into my new role with Gibson. I was attending ALL the networking events, cocktail hours, community dinners, and golf outings I could.

Each time I would look around and note the amount of other women in the room. In case you were wondering, it was never as many as the men.

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Let’s face it, most people hate the idea of “networking.” It’s typically filled with things that make us pretty uncomfortable: asking for favors, small talk, and superficial connections.

For many women the idea of networking also conjures up thoughts of the “good-ole-boys”- an informal system of connections through which men use their positions of influence to help other men.

But networks provide access to ideas, resources, support, role models, and human connection, things all working women need too.

I was desperate to talk with other women who were facing the same challenges I was. I wanted to hear from those who had come before me, played the game, and won. I was craving a space for women to come together to connect. A safe place where we could walk through the door our authentic self and leave with a feeling of belonging.

I reached out to a few women who I’d met throughout my involvement and got them on board with the idea. Turns out they too were craving this space.

One month later, it happened. I sent a few texts and emails and fifteen women showed up to our first official Women in Business After Hours (WiBAH).

There were a wide range of topics discussed, some a bit more surface level than others.

The typical: mutual connections, where you work, what brought you to the meetup.
But then there were things like the realities of having a miscarriage and being required to head back to work right away, or the sexual uneasiness felt from attending other events with male counterparts, or the pettiness from the “Queen Bee” in the room who wanted to be the only woman in the room.

Turns out there was much more underneath the surface than just not being able to attend due to children or other household responsibilities (which were also a deterrent for their attendance).

I left our first gathering knowing in my soul that this forum needed to exist; that there were bigger conversations to be had, more connections to be made, and a community to be built.

Something remarkably special happens when you see that you are not alone. When given the opportunity to have those “me too” moments, we immediately feel peace within our own journey. The sad reality is that, historically, women have been taught to be competitive with one another because there was such a scarcity of jobs at the top. It’s never been clearer than now this strategy doesn’t work. We need each other. 

In 1975 there was a study performed on synchronous lightning bugs from Indonesia. Researchers found that if lightning bugs light up alone, their success rate for reproduction is 3%. If they light up simultaneously with thousands of others, their success rate rises to 86%. By lighting together, they can maximize resources and the increase in their collective brightness can help them be seen for up to five miles!

It doesn’t matter what our position is or how quickly we got there, we all hit roadblocks along the way, some placed by others, and some we placed ourselves. Other women can learn from our mistakes and our successes, but only if we come together and share those stories.

Encouraging women to speak and express themselves can create change. It helps us to feel more confident, which leads to believing in our own power, and feeling more equipped to take on new challenges. This is not to suggest that empowering women is, in some way, disempowering men. Nor am I suggesting that we step on men or cast them aside. We need allies. The goal in empowering other women is to level the playing field and to provide a road map for those who follow in our footsteps.

Since inception, WiBAH has grown from 15 to 800+ women, and there are collaborations happening all over the city because of the connections made; ideas and projects that make this community a better place to live.

There is power in true relationships that extend beyond a generic introduction and a handshake. Putting yourself in your environments that give you the opportunity to share authentically and vulnerably can create magical meaningful connection.

This story isn’t over, the rest is still unwritten. Who knows what we will create, the impact we’ll have, or the change we can evoke, but I know this: a woman alone has power, but collectively we have impact just like those lightning bugs.

We’re better together.

Topics: Executive
Santana Bozman

Written by Santana Bozman

Santana is a Risk Advisor in the Private Client Group where she is responsible for providing personal risk management and insurance solutions for clients. She provides services across all lines of business including - auto, homeowners, personal umbrella liability, collectibles, jewelry, recreational motor vehicles, and more. Read Santana's Full Bio