NEW free networking group formed online during lockdown

20 Oct 2020 10:25
Published by: Scott Callan

A NEW free networking group formed online during lockdown is helping Cheshire businesswomen to stay in touch and support each other.

ProConnect was the brainchild of HR consultant Emma Fay from the HR Department in Wilmslow, NLP coach and trainer Gemma Rolstone from Delphinium in Stockport and employee benefits consultant Emma Gleaves from Bolton company Eppione.

The three originally met through face-to-face networking. "Prior to lockdown, networking formed a part of all our business development strategies," explained Emma Fay.

Lockdown created a sudden shift into the world of online networking. "However," added Gemma, "after experiencing various groups, the three of us felt there was a gap for a network aimed at business services' professionals who wanted to build genuine relationships online with like-minded individuals."

Stated Emma Fay: "Business referrals are passed when individuals get to know, like and trust one another so we wanted to make sure this was the focus of our events."

As a result, they set up ProConnect and for the last few months have been attracting a variety of businesswomen from across Cheshire and Greater Manchester to the monthly Zoom meetings.

These take place on the second Friday of the month between 12.30pm and 2pm with a maximum of 15 attendees "to ensure everyone gets the opportunity to speak to others," added Emma Gleaves.

They use breakout rooms to recreate small group conversations and each meeting is topic-based, depending on what attendees want to talk about.
They are encouraged to share full contact details and connect with one another outside the event, to recreate the usual business card exchange at traditional networking meetings.

"We didn't want to charge a fee because our focus is on building and strengthening our professional network. So we use our own time and resources to organise and run the events," said Emma Fay.

The three businesswomen strongly believe in the power of networking. Commented Gemma: "Networking is a way to get your personality across to other business people as well as providing a forum to support each other without necessarily doing business."


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