After just a year since its creation on Facebook, the International Women’s Networking Group hosted its first networking-focused event in Rotterdam: Business, Bubbles, and Bites.

We wanted it to be more than just an evening of networking. Beyond simply collecting business cards, our members want to make meaningful connections.

Women Who Get Things Done

Business, Bubbles, and Bites was the largest event IWNG had ever hosted at that point.

I previously found myself managing events because the people involved simply didn’t care, or were too afraid to take responsibility. No one was willing to commit to solving a hard problem, but they were eager to take credit for any aspect of success.

I’m not a big fan of failure, and I do my best to prevent it. I am a person not only willing to take the credit for a successful event, but also to take the blame for a bad one. Someone has to get it done, right?

But for this event, it wasn’t necessary for me to carry the whole burden. None of these women were afraid to take responsibility, and none of us were willing to let it be a bad event.

That’s the beauty of working with a group like IWNG: we are committed to getting things done. With the right team, we were able to achieve more than what we originally imagined.

Motivated to Create Me-Time and Meet New People

We had two program blocks – Achieving Success and Personal Branding – as well as a networking activity prompted by co-founder Ria van Doorn. This was my favorite part of the evening because during the 30 minute break, I never saw a woman alone.

Meeting new people is hard, especially in a roomful of strangers. But it became clear that these women were ready to start relationships, and the questions Ria provided were a comfortable way for women to initiate purposeful conversations with each other.

Have you ever been in a room with that kind of energy? Where everyone wants you to walk up to them and introduce yourself? By the time the event had well-passed its conclusion, there were still women connecting and getting to know each other.

We had attendees asking how they could get involved with the next event, eager to run with this momentum. My only disappointment with so many people attending was that I didn’t have a chance to meet them all.

Our Support Team: The People Who Make the Event Memorable

We had incredible support from both inside and outside the International Women’s Networking Group. This was also a great opportunity for members to showcase their businesses and services.

The Event Planner

Anna Gallo came on board at the last minute to help us create the ambience. Traveling from Den Haag, she wasn’t able to visit the space before the event.

But sure enough, she arrived with an armful of fresh flowers and a suitcase packed with magic, and she transformed that space from a co-working paradise to a cozy experience.

The Location Manager

And speaking of the space, Leon and his team at Progress Bar were simply amazing. Progress Bar is a co-working office that offers space to gather with like minded peers, so that members can achieve progress together.

We didn’t give Leon much guidance for a menu, other than a general ratio of veggies, fruits, cheeses, meats, and breads that we wanted (i.e. more veggies than meats). We also knew we wanted red and white wine, as well as a welcome drink.

And beyond just our food and beverage needs, he made anything and everything we needed easily available to us, from kitchen equipment to music streaming. It was such a delight to not stress about these seemingly small components.

The Featured Chef

While there wasn’t a full kitchen available for Ediri Sobotie of Kajose Culinair to warm up her meat (and veggie) pies, Progress Bar still offered everything they could.

Speaking of those meat pies though, if you’ve never had Nigerian food, it needs to be on your bucket list. It may look like an empanada, but the spice profile is unlike any other cuisine (at least as far as I’ve encountered).

Final Thoughts

It was heart-warming to see my notifications full of praise for the event, the group, and all the women who attended. I am so proud to be part of this team, and I’m humbled to know such incredibly inspiring women.


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Sterling Schuyler
sterling@iwng.nl
Sterling Schuyler moved to Rotterdam in June 2018 from Bavaria, Germany, but she is originally from the United States. As a result, she has restarted her career three times, and currently works as a freelance marketing consultant. Whether you want to know more about her professional development, have questions about her own struggles, or just want to grab a coffee, she’ll be happy to hear from you.

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