Sisters in stilettos

FACTBOX

Nicola Jones-Crossley, 23, is the branch director of Business in Heels Bangkok, a women’s-only networking group for sassy and successful professionals. Business in Heels (BIH) was founded in Australia in early 2012, and since then has achieved a global presence with over 35 branches in the US, UAE, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and now Thailand. Boasting “Business Babes” that come together professionally and personally, BIH events are like a bra — they support women. BIH Bangkok will have its official launch on Wed, Mar 26 at Swissotel Nai Lert Park (6:30-9pm. Tickets available from businessinheelsbangkokpremier.eventbrite.com.au). We sat down for a woman-to-woman chat with Nicola ahead of BIH’s Bangkok debut next week.

HOW DID BIH COME ABOUT?

Business in Heels began as a small social networking event organised by the now CEO Jac Bowie in Sydney, Australia. It was a casual, informal event for a group of women to get together, have fun, meet some new people and network professionally at the same time. The event was a great success and was soon replicated in Melbourne, Brisbane and then in New Zealand.

WHY IS BIH SPECIFIC TO WOMEN?

Women are natural networkers and form connections differently to men, preferring instead to connect on a personal level first and talk business later. The Business in Heels events understand this and keep the events to women only to enable them to talk freely about challenges in the business world. Other than networking events, we also stay connected online via Twitter [@BIHBangkok], Facebook [fb.com/groups/businessinheelsbangkok] and our own platform, www.businessinheels.com.

WHO ARE TYPICAL ATTENDEES OF BIH EVENTS?

Our members — we call them “Business Babes” — are determined, confident women who appreciate a glass of bubbles, a good pot of moisturiser and getting the most out of life. A large majority of our members are actually entrepreneurs or women who are working in a start-up company. Any woman living and working in Bangkok who takes their work seriously, loves what they do and wants to meet others who are as passionate and driven as they are [should attend the events].

HAVE THERE BEEN ANY SUCCESS STORIES OF BIH MEMBERS?

I was just talking to a woman who attended our first soft launch event here in Bangkok. She was telling me how the connections she made from that event have opened up many work opportunities for her already. She’s begun some collaborations with women that she met at the event and these women in turn are referring her to their friends and colleagues. She now has so much work she is scheduling jobs months in advance to fit in new clients.

ANY NETWORKING TIPS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?

Following up after a networking event is the essential part and can come in many forms. After each networking event you attend, I would suggest adding your new contact to your email database and on LinkedIn. Send a short message on either platform saying how you enjoyed meeting them. Include something personal you discussed on the night. This will show the recipient you remember them and add a friendly, caring tone to your email. If you feel you connected strongly, ask them out for lunch to solidify your relationship. Make sure you ask them what is challenging them in work at the time and see if you can offer help or refer them to someone else in your network. G

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