I remember when I started university, a slightly older and wiser girlfriend advised me “Join a sports team and you’ll survive university - you’ll have your support network sorted.” Essentially what this friend was telling me was that you need to surround yourself with people who’ve got your back.
When I moved to Zurich, I remembered this advice, and was part of a group of incredible women who founded Zurich Netball Club which is still running strong today and has done a lot to increase the profile of this little-known sport in Switzerland. Bringing together a group of women from diverse backgrounds, with different stories to tell, heading to different destinations, taught me a lot about the power of a broad, supportive network. While playing netball, the focus is on the team. After the game, the focus is on your teammates.
Conversations commonly went along the lines of “How are you doing?” “Ah, I can put you in touch with the HR manager at my company,” “Let’s meet on Sunday for a coffee and I can help you with that,” or “I experienced something similar, this is how I handled it...”
I founded my company in January - Four Five Oh - and the power of the girl gang has never been more important to me. Not only because the concept of Four Five Oh is that women share their experiences of birth control with other women - a global girl gang - in order to help others make better birth control decisions, but because the journey of founding your own company is full of ups and downs.
The conversations with my girl gangs - female work colleagues, networking circles, professional women’s groups and even private facebook groups, are a big part of the reason I keep going on the days when I ask myself “What on earth am I doing?”
It is exciting to see the female business scene explode in Zürich, and the women in tech scene too. It means that we can all find our girl gang. The power of a genuine “Wow, I’m so proud of you” from a member of your support network is enormous - so say it often, say it loud, and say it proud!