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Meet Kate Alpert of Women Belong

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Alpert.

Kate, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Women Belong was started just short of a year ago, in April of 2017. My business partner, Dorothy Rosen, and I saw the need for a new type of networking specifically to support women. We recognized that women network differently than men: women want to make personal connections as a part of the networking experience, and those friendships are what become the network of people we know, like and trust, and therefore want to do business with. Right now especially, women need a safe space to be able to discuss all the aspects of what it means to be a woman in business, and we’ve created an organization that will provide the space to do that and more. We also promote a spirit of cooperation over competition and the need to support all women. We are fierce supporters of diversity and inclusion.

My personal journey was that of a new mom with an infant who refused bottles. Thankfully, my mom switched to working nights to support me in helping to care for my son during the day. I was working as a marketing strategist for a small agency at the time. In order to attend meetings and networking events I’d bring my mom and son and they would stay nearby in a coffee shop waiting for me come back to nurse. My son was low weight and nursing was necessary every couple of hours. My son is almost 5 years old now, but that first year was very difficult and I didn’t have a group that I felt I could be honest with about what I was going through trying to juggle both my professional role and my responsibility to meet the needs of my son. It felt lonely and overwhelming. In creating Women Belong, I wanted an organization that supported all aspects of a woman in business, so both professionally and personally.

Women frequently serve as caregivers–for our children, partners, parents or pets, and that responsibility often comes at the sacrifice of our business and requires a delicate balancing act. Dorothy and I wanted to create a space where professional women can come together to advance their businesses, and feel seen, heard and strengthened to return to the work.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Generally speaking it has been a smooth road. We’ve grown rapidly and doors have opened easily for us. I think this speaks to the way we are approaching this business. We want to empower women and as we support others they reciprocate. Dorothy and I made a commitment early on to be clear and current with one another. We accept that we don’t know all the answers and we make mistakes, but we rise to the challenges and embrace the uphill struggle of creating an organization. Plus we have a great network of women who have our backs and that makes running this business easier too.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Women Belong – what should we know?
I’m most proud of the responses we get from our members and women that have attended our events: they all report feeling nourished and seen as a result of their participation in both group events and in one-on-one interactions with other members. The other thing I’m most proud of is in the marketing side of our organization. My background is in marketing, and it was important to me that, as an organization, we can create a format where we all amplify each other’s thought leadership. We make this happen through member spotlights from our Circle and Core members: they deliver in-person talks and create blog content for our website. We then share that content as an organization and ask our members to share it with their networks as well. Our members are seeing great reach as a result of this approach. For example, our most popular piece is at well over 1600 page views.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Success for me is measured objectively in engagement. We surpassed our first year’s goal of 100 paid members within our first 10 months of existence. We sold out our last progressive networking lunch at 91 attendees. Just recently our Edgewater Circle has reached capacity at 22 members. It’s in these numbers that our success is evident. We’re always working to engage our members and audience with content and programming that is relevant and timely. The other side of success is in the anecdotal feedback: hearing stories about our members’ successes and seeing them expand their businesses, and also seeing the collaborations that are occurring. For example, we have 2 members, Cin Salach of Poemgrown and Bergen Anderson of Lilla Barn clothing that collaborated on these beautiful handmade poetry scarves for the holidays. Watching those sell out… that’s such an example of the power of this network.

Reference: (https://www.lillabarn.com/collections/soul-scarves)

Pricing:

  • Compass Level $100/year (plus one-time $50 app fee) – Member at large not part of a referral networking circle
  • Circle Level $350/year (plus one-time $50 app fee) – Standard membership to one of our referral networking circles
  • Core Level $500/year (plus one-time $50 app fee) – Elite membership to one of our referral networking circles

Contact Info:

Women Belong Luncheon, November 2017. © Tipping Point Photography.

Women Belong Luncheon, November 2017. © Tipping Point Photography.

Women Belong Luncheon, November 2017. © Tipping Point Photography.

Women Belong Networking Luncheon, January 2018. © Tipping Point Photography.

Women Belong Luncheon, November 2017. © Tipping Point Photography.

Women Belong Networking Luncheon, January 2018. © Tipping Point Photography.

Women Belong Progressive Networking Lunch. September 2017. Photo © Tipping Point Photography.

Women Belong Progressive Networking Lunch. September 2017. Photo © Tipping Point Photography.

Image Credit:
Tipping Point Photography

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