I was on my way to the heart of Bethnal Green, in East London, via the Central line Underground. Pleasantly, I overheard a couple next to me discussing why they were heading to TEDx East End, which happened to be where I was headed. They said how they "needed some inspiration...some exposure to creative minds...and to be inspired."
The one thing I'd wish I'd known starting university is how important your network is. When it comes to finding jobs or potential opportunities this is essential. It can mean that if you don't have the right grades someone can vouch for you on the inside. Most people just need a chance to show what they can do and sometimes a quick word from a friend can be that chance.
Sitting on the rooftop of Gladys's juice bar in Freetown, I was having an informal chat with some of the women my foundation supports. This wasn't my first trip to Sierra Leone. I was there for International Women's Day in March and had spoken then to some of the women. But this time I got to have a long, in depth conversation with them about the difficulties they have faced as women entrepreneurs and what benefits they get from participating in the country's first network for women entrepreneurs, which is what the Foundation has helped to set up here.
A good networker makes sure they have the right contacts and that their contacts are aware of what they have to offer. You can make contacts in many different ways, through introductions at work, through social media or through events or conferences. But however you make your contacts, you choose them for the right reasons.
However, I have noticed that much talk surrounding "Lean[ing] In" has centred mostly on women who already in the workplace. Whilst I have nothing against this, I feel as though younger women, girls of my own generation in the UK who are still in school, are, comparatively, missing out on this exciting 'buzz'.
Today's job market is tough. And there's no reason to imagine that it's going to get any easier any time soon. There's only one reliable way to get a job. We all know what it is, and mainly we try to ignore it, because it feels uncomfortable. It's about going out there, talking to people and making new contacts.
With GetLunched, you can find people near you with similar interests, personal or career-wise, and schedule to have lunch with them. That way, you are able to meet new people within the workday. It also makes for a more productive lunch hour whilst giving you a mandatory screen break.