“I’ve gained confidence, connections, mentors and friends through WFF and want to bring those same opportunities to others,” said Felicia White, Senior Director, Training and Development, Church’s Chicken. She welcomed more than 40 attendees to the first Atlanta WFF Exchange along with co-leader Jessica Brown, Process Change Lead, Digital Core Program with Georgia-Pacific.
“Especially in Atlanta where there are so many different corporate offices for major food companies, the Exchange provides a great opportunity to share ideas and network,” White added. “We all have the same challenges and, even if we are competitors, can support and mentor one another.”
They invited fellow WFF members as well as colleagues in the region of all ages and career stages who had not participated with WFF previously.
Because WFF Exchanges are member-led, each area and even each event within an area will differ depending on the organizers. The newly-launched Denver WFF Exchange organized their meeting around a “fireside” chat on a specific career-related topic and then transitioned to networking.
In Atlanta, the vibe was more informal. “For our first meeting, we wanted to let things flow organically and get people interacting,” Brown said. “In the future, we may do brief spotlights on someone from a different company each time but also allow plenty of opportunity for unstructured conversation.”
Brown advises others who might launch an Exchange in their region to confirm a location early in the process as, especially in large metropolitan areas, meeting rooms can be expensive. She also suggests relying on LinkedIn more than Facebook to reach people with your invitation. Finally, being able to provide guests with a small gift bag at the close of the evening with items donated from local companies was a big hit.
“Ideally, we have two leads in each region who organize and host each event,” explains Dana Minton, WFF Director of Corporate Partnerships and Engagement. “The most important element is that the Exchange offers a way for people involved with WFF to meet one another, network locally and forge new connections.” Exchanges can opt to meet monthly, quarterly or whatever works in the market.
For more information about leading, hosting or joining a WFF Exchange in your area, contact Dana Minton at email@example.com.