I remember, quite distinctly, sitting in a restaurant at least ten years ago having one of our regular Friday night dinners with a gang of girls who all worked in the marketing industry around Leeds and wondering out loud if this was the start of a new Old Girl’s Network.
I’ve just realised that it was. One copywriter from the gang is currently working with me on a client project, an art director looks likely to join me on another, a second art director introduced me to one of my biggest agency clients and an account handler has been variously cheerleader and job opportunity spotter on my behalf over the years. Based on that kind of evidence you have to conclude that it really is about who you know.
The thought came back to me again at a Plannerinas dinner the other week (our nickname for the drinks-and-dinner evenings that bring together the few Leeds Lady Planners out there). While we were catching up and stuffing our faces with Italian food, we were also swapping news of clients-from-hell, great books to read and suppliers to avoid.
Yes, it is just networking, I suppose, but it’s not that kind of networking. I really don’t enjoy the kind of events where you turn up without knowing anyone else there and are supposed to spend the evening putting yourself and your business cards about a bit. Urgh.
So I think a Girls Stick Together approach is a far nicer alternative. Yes, it’s hardly anything new, but then good ideas rarely are :)
Of course we also have Planners Sticking Together in the shape of SupNorth (for Planners of either sex working around the M62 corridor), which is due another event soon.
We Northern Planners should also have the Account Planning Group for UK wide support, educatation and morale boosting, but since they’ve just decided to rename their twitter feed @APGLondon that tells me all I need to know about the kind of support any Planner outside the M25 should expect from them…
update 05/02/2012 – I just got a tweet back from the APG (a week after I sent them one grumbling about the name change):
@gemma_T We couldn't have just APG as it was taken, so APGLondon it is. We embrace planners outside London with open arms—
Acct Planning Group (@APGLondon) March 05, 2012
I still think it’s a bit rubbish…what’s wrong with @APG_UK?