Introducing WhiteHat's Women's Network
Being able to connect and relate to those around us is one of the most intrinsic behaviours to feeling like, well, us! Interpersonal relationships are vital to our development, behaviour and set of values. Growing up, these are the connections that we have with our family and friends.
As we enter the workplace, we begin to build a new type of relationship - with colleagues, managers and clients. These connections are definitely different from those we have with our friends, but they are still so important. We look to these people for leadership, encouragement and instruction - to help us to become better. And one of the best ways of improving ourselves at work is by speaking to others and learning from their experiences.
This is why we decided it was so important to establish a Women’s Network at WhiteHat. As apprentices, we are all in the same boat. We have all decided to take this particular type of path because we want to push ourselves to great things. But it’s almost impossible to get there by yourself.
As we navigate our careers, we’ll be confronted with challenging situations and bumps in the road which sometimes might feel insurmountable. Sometimes you need a helping hand from someone in a similar situation, to chat to without pressure or fear of any consequences. With a strong network around us, who we can lean on for advice and guidance, we’ll be able to overcome and grow from our challenges, to become happier, more confident and knowledgeable. That is why we are building the WhiteHat community to meet like minded people who will support your growth and challenge you to be the best you can be.
Therefore, we want the Women’s Network at WhiteHat to be a space (both virtually and hopefully physically in the not so distant future) where we can do just that. Through events, articles and meet-ups, we hope the group will be able to come together to share stories, learn from one another and to open doors to new opportunities and ways of thinking.
There’s actually lots of science behind the relationships that we have with people in a professional environment. Evidence suggests that the contact we have with peers at work are crucial for our own development and even the spread of information throughout the whole of society!
The Importance of Weak Ties
These professional connections are called weak ties. They are markedly different from the strong ties which you have with family. Because we all come from different backgrounds and cultures. Weak ties can be relationships that you make with people that you meet throughout your career - whether that’s somebody in your own organisation, or professionals in the same industry who you meet at an event or fellow apprentices.
You can utilise these people to get ahead in your career. You’ll have had different lives and experiences, and so just by listening about their background and achievements will diversify your own ways of thinking and working. You can use their life stories to shape and inspire your own career.
These weak ties or professional connections can also open doors for your career. Maybe there’s an industry that you’ve always been fascinated with but you’re not sure how to get there. Your weak ties can provide introductions and the insight to help you navigate the often daunting task of socialising professionally. And sometimes, weak ties can evolve into something stronger, like finding a business partner, a mentor or a longlasting friendship.
When you’re starting to build your professional network, it can sometimes feel daunting trying to befriend lots of new people. But don’t worry, as you don’t need to become best friends with your weak ties. See it more as a professional relationship where both of you can benefit in terms of new found knowledge and a sounding board for challenges you might be facing.
This is another key reason why we wanted to set up WhiteHat’s Women’s network. When you’re starting in your career, having the confidence to approach often more senior people at your business and at events can be daunting. The Women’s network will provide you with a safe environment to build up your confidence, by speaking to fellow apprentices. You could use it as an opportunity to reinforce your 20% on the job learning, as you’ll be able to gain real world insight from others who have already gained the skills and experiences that you’re looking to emulate.
And finally and most importantly, we know how difficult and even scary it can be to voice your ideas to a room of people who you might feel are superior to you. But that’s where a network can help you. We want to give you the space to spark ideas off one another and catalyse them into something bigger. In a network you can make a greater impact on a bigger scale, because through the support offered to you from your peers, you can raise your voice in the knowledge that those around you are championing you and what you believe in.
We are so excited to invite you to join us into WhiteHat’s Women’s network. As far as we know it’s the first of its kind in the apprentice world, and we can’t wait to see what comes next!