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Why and How to Start a Women's Network at Your Company

Why and How to Start a Women's Network at Your Company

By Francesca Di Meglio, Monster Contributing Writer

The group has now succeeded on that front, says Weisberg. In 2006, for the second consecutive year, Deloitte retained women at the same rate as men.

Find Top Leadership

Once everyone is on board, choose women to head the organization. Try to get female senior managers to participate. It gives your group credibility and keeps its activities in front of influential eyes. Pick people who will give the group structure in the form of regularly scheduled meetings and events.

But be sure no one gets overloaded with all the work. It’s not fair and defeats the purpose of helping members increase their success on the job. And be open to participation from men, because they too can champion your cause.

Keep Up the Good Work

Reevaluate your business plan, and consistently update your goals. The group should show how it’s adding value to the company. Touting achievements through newsletters and announcements is a good way to do this. Your activities have to remain relevant and practical or senior management will lose interest, and you’ll lose funding.

Flourishing groups continuously offer educational opportunities as a way to beef up resumes, as well as mentorship programs and calls to action. Many of these women’s initiatives support HR efforts for flexible work schedules, child care and family leave for both genders. Companies are finding they can use these women’s initiatives as a recruiting tool, because young people interviewing for jobs expect these kinds of activities.

Realize Your Potential

Most women’s networks are no more than five to 10 years old, says Julie Lartey, head of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships for 85 Broads, a network of women from top universities, graduate schools and companies around the world that got its start at Goldman Sachs in 1997. There’s still a long way to go.

“Ideally, every company would have a women’s network and networks for other groups,” says Lartey. “I hope women realize their power to effect change. You can take steps today to get the ball rolling.”

This article originally appeared on Monster Advice http://career-advice.monster.com.