Elisse continues her apprenticeship journey.
Attending my first networking event… solo!
It’s safe to say I am not the most confident person when it comes to speaking to new people and engaging with unacquainted faces. Attending an event on my own is something I never thought would be possible, but after receiving an invitation to an event from the Ladies that Lunch group I found it hard to refuse. The LTL is a collective of underrepresented women in insurance and they strive to professionally develop their members in their careers across the insurance industry and beyond. Founded and hosted by Teni Tijani, who I had met previously, I knew I would get a warm welcome – she is so lovely! How could I not want to be part of such a great event?
The event was something I have never done before, it was a baking event which involved teaming up with other people in the group and baking a cake (the cakes were a Christmas edition as the event was held in December). The best way to describe the event setting is, if you know the program, ‘The Great British Bake Off’. We were all competing in a tent and the group who baked the nicest looking and tasting cake won. I thought I would be good at this task as I really enjoy baking, but the cake didn’t turn out as good as me and my team wanted it to, although it tasted delicious! Our aim was to bake a reindeer and instead we ended up with a Christmassy mess plus lots of chocolate and sprinkles! Although, there were some amazing cakes baked by others!
Walking into this event, there were faces I recognised which was nice, and felt less daunting. Even though I have never met them in person or had a good conversation with them before, it was nice being able to say hello already knowing their names. There was a woman who is in one of our podcast episodes (Empower Talks) called Lara and she was lovely, followed by a couple of other women who had used our online courses and had nothing but nice things to say about Empower Development which made me super proud.
Overall, attending this event made me realise networking isn’t as ‘scary’ as I used to think, and it is actually nice to talk to new faces and build relationships with people working in the same industry and it is beneficial for all of us. Networking is so important to improve business growth, exchange new ideas, build impactful connections and grow confidence! I have only been in my full-time role for 6 months and my confidence has grown so much through talking to new people and being surrounded by different personalities.
My advice to anyone who is building up the courage to attend networking events on their own would be to just do it! After the first time it will only get easier and the more you attend, the more relationships you build and the more your career really progresses!