Room of Opportunities – The Power of #Networked
By Winter Wheeler, Esq.
I recently came across a meme that said, “Surround yourself with women who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities.” The quote (which was not attributed to anyone) struck me, because without hesitation I pictured a beautifully decorated banquet hall, overflowing with food and drink, and filled with the group of fifty women lawyers that have supported me throughout the pandemic.
The image made me smile and laugh audibly because I have never met any of these women, for whom I care so deeply, in person. I have enjoyed Zoom brunches, happy hours, birthday wishes, and business strategy meetings, but never been able to shake their hands. I have commiserated with them over office drama, family worries, and shared parenting tips, but I have never given any of them a hug. And what really made me laugh is that there are many of these women with whom I have only ever exchanged LinkedIn messages and maybe an email.
I certainly knew before seeing the meme that this particular group of women was important to me, but I must admit that I never gave much thought to just how much, and definitely never in those terms. But it fit so perfectly. I suddenly wished I had previously taken the time to process and put into words just how much I had gained from knowing them.
Throughout this year, we have each shared our goals, wants, and dreams in very pragmatic, matter-of-fact terms and received advice from the group in the same fashion. We quickly brainstorm ideas for and with each other, bringing the best parts of our diversity to the forefront. And in line with the meme, it was and continues to be, commonplace for us to share opportunities. If one of us becomes aware of an opportunity, the entire group knows within mere moments. We also share our business connections. We never hesitate to help each other get where we need to be and meet whomever we need to meet. We have all worked together in various capacities; including, CLEs, webinars, articles, business ventures, and most recently a #1 bestselling book titled, #Networked.
I have been lucky to have a lot of close women lawyer friends throughout my life, so that aspect is nothing new. But typically, I can pinpoint exactly why a certain woman or group of women deeply resonates with me. But there is something… different about these women that I cannot quite put into words. It may be because I found them (or they found me) at a time when I really, really needed them and they have proven time and time again that they will always come through. I have no doubt that they know the dedication is reciprocal.
What I do know for sure, though, is that 2020 has been a challenging year to say the least. Like so many people, I faced the daunting task of figuring out how to keep a fledgling business afloat. Beginning a career as a mediator is daunting enough during the best of times, and it has been nightmarish at some points during this pandemic. But through it all, I had this group of fiercely ambitious, supportive women lawyers who always believed in me. And for that, I will forever be grateful.
ABOUT WINTER WHEELER
Winter Wheeler, Esq. is a mediator and arbitrator with Miles Mediation & Arbitration in Atlanta Georgia. She is co-author of the #1 bestselling book #Networked, which documents the experiences of 20 women who came together via LinkedIn to support each other’s careers during the pandemic and beyond. Read more about Winter’s journey and exactly how she used LinkedIn to change her life in #Networked.