It’s already December which translates into the holiday season! Holidays typically mean spending more time connecting with those around us who matter to you. Why not apply that on a business level where we take more time to connect face-to-face and spend extra time getting to know those in your local community, whether you’re here in Vancouver or elsewhere in the world?

Continuing with our theme of networking offline and building a strong network when being a part of a community, I wanted to highlight one of our wonderful local non profit organizations in Vancouver: Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE). You can follow them on Twitter at @FWEBC. Shortly, after Social Media Week, I organized an informal tweetup and their CEO, Jill Earthy (@jearthy), showed up with Lisa Niemetscheck, Manager of FWE Experience (@LNiemetscheck) and they were both extremely personable and full of information about local small businesses in the area. It was such an honour that they took the time out of their busy day to meet with myself along with Scott Dawson (@sdd).

What is Forum Women Entrepreneur (FWE)?

Right off their site, “Forum for Women Entrepreneurs of British Columbia (FWE) is for all who are entrepreneurially-minded. It is our mission to provide tools, energy, education and support to all women, encouraging them to become wildly successful entrepreneurs. All of our leading-edge professional programs aim to build long-term relationships and foster a strong bond between our members, advisors, speakers and high-calibre members of the business community. Women entrepreneurs and both men and women business professionals who want to support women entrepreneurs can become a member of FWE.”

What are some Benefits to Being Involved?
My next two thoughts are coming from a non-FWE member’s perspective at this point in time.

1) Gaining Relevant Knowledge about Key Topics during their Events
I have attended two of their last events. One was called “Women in Politics” which was a nonpartisan event. Some of the community leaders that we heard from were:

  • Suzanne Anton, NPA
  • Elizabeth Ball, NPA
  • Sandra Garossino, Independent
  • Cherie Payne, Vision
  • Andrea Reimer, Vision
  • Ellen Woodsworth, Cope

Here, they covered thoughts on what it was like to be a woman in politics, the challenges and benefits of being in these highly visible roles, and especially the role of leadership. One of the most relevant topics when you listen to a group of politicians is that you really gain a strong sense of what is really happening within your local communities including the public challenges that citizens are trying to resolve and the solutions that they’re bringing forth to solve those problems. These individuals are some of the most connected people to get to know. Everything is relevant and everything is key. No one was promoting their own parties instead they were sharing their personal stories with us. From an individual standpoint, you get to learn the hardships that others have gone through and it makes you appreciate progress as a whole and perhaps, in your own endeavours, whether they are professional or personal.

2) Connecting and Expanding your Own Understanding about Local Businesses
The very latest event was called “Virtually Possible: How to Monetize Online Platforms & Platforms & Boost ROI.” The moderator, panelists and sponsor representatives included:

Here, this type of event brings various small business owners from around town to connect with. There was a Q&A panel that covered answers regarding how to drive online traffic to your sites, SEO and online content, and online reputation. Afterwards, we were broken in different rooms for a roundtable discussion with one of the panelists. This was a great opportunity to learn more other local businesses that you may not have heard of otherwise.

Closing Thoughts
If you are in the Vancouver area and looking for new business connections, or simply want to expand your professional knowledge, I would recommend that you get involved with the FWE. You will gain something out of this depending on your purposes. Most of their events are in the evenings and they usually include some small bites, coffee and even some great wine. You may even make new friend connections there too. It’s all about putting your business out there and building relationships in the process. We have a fantastic entrepreneurship community here and this non profit organization has been supporting our community successfully since 2002. Check them out and get involved.