When I first started in philanthropy I had a great professional network that I could rely on for advice and connections but felt like I was really missing the emotional support that I needed to move on to the next phase of my career. I had great friends, but they didn’t really want to talk about work stuff. I had coffee with a colleague who was expressing the same frustration, so we decided to start an informal coaching group of young female professionals, who were ready to move to the next phase of leadership and would benefit from a community of support.
We called our group the “Fab 5.” The five women were from academia, philanthropy, social enterprise, and business. Their diversity of experiences and perspectives lead to rich conversations and new connections during our monthly meetings. Each meeting is hosted by one of the members on a rotating basis and includes a time for check-in around a guiding question like “how to balance work and home” or “finding volunteer opportunities that sustain you” or “managing up.” Each of these women is an important mentor in my life.
An exciting development in my journey with the Fab 5, is seeing the model be replicated all over the country by people that were inspired by it when they read “How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar”. I was so surprised when I heard someone talk about her “Fab 5” group, so I said “Hey, I have a Fab 5 group too!” She said “I know I got the idea from you when I read the book.” Whoops. I’m amazed that our little group is useful for people all over that are trying to take their careers to the next level.
What have you tried to get the encouragement you need to strengthen your career?