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The "Good Old Girls" Network
One of the earliest forms of networking was the "good old boys" network, characterized by a well-to-do gentleman sitting in a leather covered chair in the library of his private club, smoking a cigar and reading the Wall Street Journal.
The "good old boys" traded business favors and influence. It was an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" arrange ment.
ENTER THE WOMEN
All of that has changed. At last, women have penetrated the bastions of the formerly all-male clubs and organizations. The typical scene in most private clubs today is likely to be that of a female corporate president entertaining guests in the club's dining room.
Women have at last taken their rightful and much deserved place along side of their male counterparts.
CYNTHIA HUDSON, ENTREPRENEUR
Cindy Hudson moved from being an educator to being an entrepreneur. She founded a marine construction and diving company that operates along Philadelphia's waterfront. Her credentials include a degree from Albright College in Pennsylvania and a certificate in Construction Management from Drexel University in Philadelphia.
To really get to know her business, Cindy served a three year apprenticeship as a journeyman wharf and dock builder. She is currently a member of the United Brotherhood of Car penters and Joiners Local 454.
It was working with both executive and union laborers that provided her an insight into the effectiveness of networking. Cindy is as comfortable on the docks in a hard hat as she is at her desk in the president's office.
SIGN ME UP!
Belonging to and participating in trade and professional as sociations has always played an important role in Cindy's success. True, she enjoys the networking benefits, but she also contributes substantially in service to any organization of which she's a member. Her willingness to help organizations com bined with her unusual talents has resulted in her being elected to key offices in many of the associations in which she is active.
She is currently President of the Society of American Mili tary Engineers and President of the Board of Managers of the Seaman's Institute.
Additionally, Cindy is active in the Women's International Trade Association, The Association of Diving Contractors, The National Association of Women in Construction, The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Cindy is also on the Port of Philadelphia Maritime Society Board of Governors.
Feeling shut out from the networking possibilities available to male executives through private clubs, Cindy went to her network for a solution. She sought the support of those who were members of one of Philadelphia's most prestigious busi ness clubs, the venerable Union League Club.
Her timing was right. She was included among the first several women to be accepted into the Union League. She was also a founding member of the Harbour League Club, a busi ness and social club in Camden, New Jersey. The Club has many members in businesses along the shores of the Delaware river with interests in the various river front activities.
When asked for examples of how networking has been of specific help, Cindy related the story of her involvement in the Entrepreneurial Forum of Drexel University.
Here she met her counterpart who was working in a simi lar program at the University of Pennsylvania. It just happened this woman's husband was in charge of a large real estate project that had opportunities for Cindy's company. Networking had opened the door.
She told of another time when her company was involved in a claim with the Navy. The negotiations pitted Cindy against a Navy captain. The captain thought he had the advantage.
He soon, however, recognized the effectiveness of Cindy's networking as she had to opportunity to bring into the nego tiations the names of military officers of equal or higher rank than his own.
It wasn't intentional name-dropping, but it quickly put Cindy on equal footing.
For her outstanding success in and contribution to her pro fession, Cindy Hudson received the Women's Business Enterprise Award from the United States Department of Trans portation in Washington, DC. She also received the Small Business Person of the Year Award from the Greater Philadel phia Chamber of Commerce.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO THE "GOOD OLD BOYS" NETWORK
For most of modern times men have had the advantage when it came to networking. Things have changed. Now, women increasingly are finding their way into all of the orga nizations that foster good networking, and more importantly, women are taking leadership positions in those very organiza tions.
It's about time we said "good-bye" to the "good old boys"!
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