Accelerating the Advancement of Women Leaders 


November 19, 2018

The Value of Lateral Networking
Mentors and sponsors are critical to helping you gain greater visibility in your organization and a broader sense of your own capabilities. But connections with peers also play a key role in career success. They provide a supportive community where you can navigate frustrations, ‘let your hair down’ and create social connections that make the workplace more welcoming and supportive.
Many peer relationships happen naturally as you work on shared projects, attend the same meetings and operate at similar levels of the organization. But you can be more intentional about peer networking as well, bringing together colleagues at similar career stages or around shared interests such as recent transplants, new moms or hiking enthusiasts.
Gather people who have enough in common that they can relate to one another and share relevant, interesting experiences but not so much alike that they have the exact same experiences.
Make your group large enough that there is diversity of thought and experience, but not so large that real conversation becomes impossible (around 15-20).  
Consider planning your event around a focused topic. It’s certainly possible to host a more free-form networking event, but having an area of focus tends to make for more vibrant conversation. Even just a 10-minute introduction to a topic gives participants a way to start a conversation with colleagues.
The more often your peer network comes together, the more relationships will develop and information exchange will take on greater purpose. Bringing your group together at least once a quarter will help ensure people remember those they met last time and can build on new relationships.

 If you want to create more opportunities for peer networking, WFF can help you launch a WFF Circle or connect with a member-led WFF Exchange that engages local colleagues in networking across organizations. For more information about WFF Exchanges or WFF Circles, contact Dana Minton, Senior Manager, Partner Engagement, at

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