"I'm not interested in joining another women's group!"
I declared to Christine Rogers when she suggested I look into SOS.
After all, I've been involved in and run women's organizations for close to 40 years and was turned off by the frequent lack of purpose, in-fighting, gossip, and lack of focus on the bottom line or member-centric programs. I even "inherited" a women's group once where a lack of engagement by the previous board had resulted in a less-than-zero bank balance and an executive who had embezzled from the non-profit.
The reality is that all membership organizations (male and female) have some level of drama, and it just somehow seemed greater in women-only groups.
But I was proven VERY wrong when I got involved with SOS. I've been an active member and volunteer for 2+ years, attended their events -- multiple webinars and two virtual holiday parties, hosted three Tables for Six, and headed to Sedona for their first-ever retreat.
Now THAT'S a commitment.
The Co-Founders recently updated the group's mission statement. Three words stand out to me and summarize why I (cynic that I am) am so engaged. The group commits to being:
Collaborative: We respect and listen to each other and never see ourselves competing with other women's groups. We have partnered up with some of them in developing programs and advertising upcoming events.
Inclusive: Although the group was founded in California (which I believe contributes to its non-judgmental and drama-free personality), we now have members from around the world and ranging in age from 20s to 70s. (I happen to be 66 and have never felt marginalized because of my age. I consider my mentors ALL the members. And even though the title of the group reflects its early roots, you don't need to be in sales to join. We all have to sell throughout our lives.
Come-As-You-Are: Let's face it. Whether we work for corporations or ourselves, we have busy and complex lives. Many of us have spouses or partners, kids, pets, aging parents, and life issues and events to juggle. Members and guests come to our webinars in their jammies (sometimes even in bed), eating meals, bouncing babies, and fighting fevers. We support each other and even laugh at our life challenges together.
The Founders don't aspire to grow to millions of members, pay themselves huge salaries, or overshadow other organizations. They are more about quality and engagement than massive scale. Think of it as the ultimate professional boutique where you can always find something new and unique.
Like all organizations, it's not for everyone. But it has given me hope that the right types of leaders, a clear mission, kindness, transparency, direct communication, and creativity can build a new brand of supportive and non-toxic women's groups.
Whether you're wearing a suit or sweats, please try it on for size.
Already a member? We'd love to hear YOUR story!