BIG: Believe, Inspire, Grow
A women's empowerment group
Sometimes, getting ahead is more than what you know, it's who you know.
Since March 2012, I have managed a wonderful group of entrepreneurial women in the Summit, NJ area who meet monthly to discuss anything and everything that impacts their lives and their businesses. Running and growing this group for BIG is an important part of what I do, and one of the best ways that I can help women.
Some topics we have dug into:
Nutrition, health, and fitness
Brainstorming business ideas
Home design panel
Improv for business
What are the best apps for personal and professional use?
What six photos does every entrepreneur need?
How to improve your LinkedIn profile
How to get publicity for your business
How the "Five Love Languages" impact you
Each month, between 25-40 members of the group meet in a historic mansion in Summit to interact informally, hear the speaker, network, and then go out to lunch. It is something that we all look forward to each month.
And when you have nearly 100 women, friendships form. These photos show a few of the fun things we have done together over the years as we have built our relationships. Generating business is not our primary purpose, but we do wind up being each other's customers. Our private pod Facebook pages are another active, interactive resource for our members to build their relationships, share information,
and get feedback, and this is the first place most of us turn when we need a provider.
A few years ago BIG had a contest for "Pod Leader of the Year." My son made me a wonderful video that was supposed to get people to vote for me. Well, it worked and I won! If you want an excellent description of how BIG works for women watch this video. It's a bit long, but I think it's rather fun!
(You can ignore the part where I ask for your vote!)
I get asked a lot of questions about joining the group. Here are some answers:
What is BIG?
BIG stands for Believe, Inspire, Grow...and that's what we do at our monthly pod meetings. Our members are women entrepreneurs, and also women about to make a change in their lives.
Each month, our programming is designed for women to help them improve their businesses and themselves.
Who is in BIG?
Our members do lots of different things. Currently, we have a plastic surgeon and a couple of lawyers. We have a flower designer and a beekeeper. One member just opened a brewery. We have lots of fitness club owners and a bunch of realtors. Many of our women own bricks and mortar shops in local towns. A big percentage deal with nutrition and business coaching. We have web designers, photographers, and bankers. You name a profession, and we probably have a pod member who does, has done, or is thinking about doing it.
What if I Don't Have a Business?
Some of our members are just starting out with an idea for a new business, and use the group for encouragement, support, and idea. We are all always happy to offer advice.
Some will never have a business, and just want to be inspired by like-minded, passionate, smart, supportive women.
Others have been around the block a few times. They have built and sold businesses and are trying to figure out something new to do.
Many want to make their current businesses bigger and stronger.
Yet others work from home and appreciate an opportunity to spend time outside the home. And there are those who have no idea what they want to do, just that they want to do something that inspires them. They use the group to help them discover what they are passionate about, and if it is feasible to monetize that in some way.
Don't You Already Have Someone Who Does What I Do?
The important thing to remember is that we are not like a BNI--we have lots of people doing the same thing, and that's okay because we are all about collaboration and support and not competition.
What is a pod meeting like?
In any given month we have between 25-35 smart, creative, supportive women who gather to meet other women and learn about them and their businesses.
This is a dynamic number that sets the room afire with a buzz of excitement, is large enough to allow for meaningful interaction, yet never loses its intimacy. It just feels good to be a part of this pod! Our members come from many towns across the region...even from Staten Island! Having such a large pod allows us to chose often from our own members to be our well-informed expert speakers.
Why is the Summit/New Providence/ Berkeley Heights pod so "big," and will I get lost?
Good question. We are so large because we keep attracting more people just like us--women who want to support each other and learn from each other. Our pod is large and exciting and powerful. While we have 100 current members, a typical monthly meeting has an ever-changing attendance list.
Here, you will find your Sisterhood! BIG membership is really easy. You will be able to attend our Summit/New Providence/Berkeley Heights pod meeting every month, of course. You are also welcomed and encouraged to attend other pod meetings and events in different towns.
Check out the BIG web site or the BIG app to see a calendar of events. Or here is the list for New Jersey.
One of our signature meetings is our Panel Discussions where we pick a topic and populate the panel with our members, which allow multiple members to share their expertise on a given topic at the same time. Upcoming ones include A Fit Relationship, Social Media, Nutrition, and Graphic Design. We have done finance/insurance, health/wellness, home/garden, legal issues, and more.
Membership in our pod also allows you to exhibit at the Eighth Annual Summit/NP/BH EXPO in June!!
Here's another video about what BIG can offer. This was an interview with local realtor Kat Timpson.