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The power of networking

By: Ruth Sharpe

[email protected]

THOSE  RECURRING  words, “it’s not what you know but who you know”, have never been more important in the business world. An increasing number of people in the Algarve are coming together to reap the benefits of connecting people.

Network is a business association for women that began in the Algarve in 1990. This year, Network has welcomed new president, Janice Russell, who spoke with The Resident about her plans for the organisation over the next two years.

“I think some people see Network as a women’s institute and this is not the case,” said Janice, who believes updating the image of Network should be one of her immediate priorities.

The essential idea behind women’s networking is that traditionally men develop a network through schooling, jobs and business. Network aims to encourage the same type of assistance and provide a sounding board in work situations that women are now increasingly finding themselves in.

Janice is relatively new to Network, becoming a member 18 months ago. She began helping with the Network website, which was launched in 2006 and proved to be a big milestone for the organisation as it offers global access to their functioning.

As a result, departing president Linda Smith asked Janice if she would be prepared to take on the presidency. In spite of the daunting workload involved working at the helm of a voluntary organisation, Janice was honoured with her nomination and decided it was something she was prepared to take on.

Network currently has around 130 members divided into the central and western Algarve. It became a legal organisation in 1994 and has remained a social, non-profit organisation ever since, due to the support of numerous local sponsors. One of Network’s proudest achievements was raising the funds for a mobile mammogram unit in 2005.

Janice specialises in psychology and communications and has an extensive background in management consultancy, staff training, marketing, counselling, Reiki, life coaching and team building. She is also a specialist in the use of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a set of models and principles that try to describe the relationship between mind, language and perception.

During her two-year term, there are several areas within the organisation where Janice hopes to achieve progress. Her main focus will be to continue to work towards closer contacts with Portuguese businesses and integrate them into the work of existing members. Already Network has been contacted by some Portuguese business women in Lisbon who are keen to set up a branch in the capital.

Janice also wishes to increase the level of professionalism within Network and help it grow at pace. It is hoped that Network will be able to set up a branch for the people further west in the Algarve, specifically in the Aljezur region.

For Janice there are many benefits of being a member of Network. “I have not come across anyone who has not experienced several gains to their business and personal life as a result of taking part in Network events”, she said.

Network actively encourages non-members to attend Network meetings as a guest to see if they can relate to the organisation. There is no concrete commitment as a member but it is hoped you attend the monthly lunch meetings where a guest speaker covers topics considered important for businesswomen in Portugal.

The talks are varied and usually consist of hard business information about how to look after yourself working and living in Portugal. It is “personal mixed with professional development”, said Janice.

As a member, you have the opportunity to promote your business in the annual Christmas fair and at exhibitions such as BLiP and Fatacil where Network has stands.

“Ideally I would like to reflect what the membership wants,” said Janice. “There is already a lot of work in place and I would like to build on this and ensure that when my term comes to an end, I will have left sufficient foundations in place for the organisation to continue to operate effectively.”

Appealing to potential members, Janice believes “it’s a great time to join, we have a new committee in place and lots of new ideas”. “Network brings the best out of your business and is open to innovation that new members may bring,” she said. “It is a social and enjoyable community that offers far reaching support and encouragement.”

Whether it be through receiving discounts from fellow members and sponsors, or finding a new way to promote yourself professionally, Network is an excellent opportunity to challenge your own business ideals and, at the same time, increase the wellbeing of the community.

Do you know what motivates your employees?

WE ALL know the contribution employees make to our businesses, but how do we motivate them

Hotel Manager of the Sheraton Algarve, Flavio Bucciarelli, will share tips and give practical advice, which can be adopted by the smaller businesses, at the next Network meeting, on Wednesday, May 9, at Don Giovanni’s Restaurant, at Estrada de Fonte Santa, near Almancil. Meet at 12.15pm for lunch at 1pm.

Flavio will discuss how to get it right at the recruitment stage, including how to pick up signals at the first interview, continuing with the importance of regular staff appraisals, and developing and retaining the motivation of individuals over time.

In what promises to be a dynamic and thought provoking presentation, we may end up reconsidering our personal styles of leadership…

Cost for members is 15 euros and guests 20 euros. Please book no later than noon on Monday, May 7. Contact Paulette Fouché, Network co-ordinator, on Tel 282 415 843 or email [email protected]