Last Tuesday evening, a group of women leaders in design and community development gathered in celebration of the new Philly Girls Do Good Class of 2014-15. New PGDG members mingled with returning members and guests. Benjamin’s Desk, a great co-working space in Center City, generously offered the use of their event space, and the room was quickly filled with the sounds of both catching up and new introductions.
Sylvia Palms and Danielle DiLeo Kim of Locus Partners officially kicked off the welcome party by sharing reflections on PGDG’s inaugural year and plans for the upcoming one. Sylvia noted that the group has expanded not only in numbers, but also in diversity of professional tenure and backgrounds. Similarly to last year, pairs or small groups of the new PGDG class will come together for conversations—with upcoming blog posts revealing their discussions and new ideas sparked. Danielle spoke about increasing the opportunities for the PGDG women to gather and share what their current projects and initiatives are. Happy hours were added to the calendar, as well as more frequent blogposts of PGDGers making a difference throughout the city.
The main event of the evening was a networking program led by Erin Owen, a personal performance coach who connects Eastern wisdom to the Western idea of performance. She spoke about reciprocity, and challenged the women present to explore giving and receiving in their personal and professional lives. An informal survey invited lots of raised hands and nodding heads indicating there were many givers in the room.
In smaller break-out groups, the women took turns making a specific ask for something they currently need. The ask was then countered with an offer from the each group member—ranging from a resource, a brainstorming idea, or even a promise to support the endeavor further down the line. While the giving side of the equation seemed to come easily, Erin then asked for reflections on making the ask. The main take-away themes were:
—Make your ask as clear and specific as possible.
—Even if it seems big and scary, ask it out loud anyway.
—The person who can help you may be someone you’d never suspect.
The reciprocity exercise flowed to a natural buzz into the evening, with the women excitedly exchanging ideas and business cards. As the event came to a close, small groups lingered and made plans to connect again soon.
Overall the night was a promising start to a new year of sharing, supporting, and celebrating the work of all of the members of Philly Girls Do Good! Stay tuned for future blog posts where the conversations will continue!