Networking for Building and Maintaining Professional Relationships

This successful session focused on the challenges faced by Muslim women when it comes to networking at respective industry gatherings. From social customs to male dominated industries, most sisters in attendance agreed that as Muslim women the challenges we face are three-fold; firstly as women, secondly our diverse cultural backgrounds, and thirdly our Muslim identity.

Date: Saturday 4th November 2017

Time 3-5pm

Location: Vauxhall

This successful session focused on the challenges faced by Muslim women when it comes to networking at respective industry gatherings. From social customs to male dominated industries, most sisters in attendance agreed that as Muslim women the challenges we face are three-fold; firstly as women, secondly our diverse cultural backgrounds, and thirdly our Muslim identity.

This leads to having to overcome internal pressures and barriers placed by both ourselves and society leading to issues with mental health, lack of confidence, conviction and communication skills. Imagine juggling all or some of these while trying to navigate a room full of people with whom one shares little or no common ground.

We were honoured to have Siobhan Fitzpatrick as our first guest speaker, who made it all the way from Ireland especially to meet us and relay some of her experience and expertise in networking. She wrote an interesting article Allergic to Networking? which was perfect to start discussions.

Siobhan was very warm and gracious in how she listened and involved everyone in the session and gave some useful feedback which many of the sisters, including myself, tried out. The sisters who attended appreciated the presence of and external guest speaker, and expert in her field to give us her time and advice.

 

Introduction to Social Media for Professional Networking and Business Development

This session was packed with lots of information for sisters to take away. We looked at the concept of social media from its root within the marketing strategy of the business plan, the various platforms available for use within a professional context, finding out who the target market is and catering the content posted to their interests and needs, whilst maintaining the integrity and ethos of one’s own business/individual goals.

Date: Saturday 5th August 2017

Time: 3-5pm

Location: Canary Wharf

This session was packed with lots of information for sisters to take away. We looked at the concept of social media from its root within the marketing strategy of the business plan, the various platforms available for use within a professional context, finding out who the target market is and catering the content posted to their interests and needs, whilst maintaining the integrity and ethos of one’s own business/individual goals.

We explored the optimal times to post within each selected platform; we covered the most popular ones notably, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest. Online tools worth looking into to help monitor and manage posts across these platforms include Buffer, Hootsuite and Trello. The ultimate goal for social media is to create business leads and direct traffic to one’s website, and thus improve it’s search engine optimisation (SEO).

As with every successful strategy one needs to research, plan, practice, and evaluate; what worked, what could have been better and something to think about next time. Then continue the cycle by doing further research or going back to plan again. The idea is that social media isn’t static, it needs to constantly be reviewed and adapted to retain, maintain and grow a loyal online following.

The aim of the session was to show the sisters in attendance that social media can be used professionally for business or career development purposes if utilised effectively in a strategic and well thought out way. We succeeded in convincing one sister to create a LinkedIn account as a great way to search for and be found for potential new roles. As the one presenting this information to the sisters, I followed this through at work to help further develop the social media strategy for the practice I work with during the day!