There are numerous support groups for women in every industry it seems. Whether it is WEEN (Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network), National Coalition for 100 Black Women, or a small intimate gathering of like-minded professional women, many women in the workplace make it a point to connect with other women as a support system when navigating through their career.
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Though these organizations provide a community for women to discuss issues that affect them, both in the workplace and privately, do they actually assist in pushing women to the next level in their career and life? I say YES!
I started joining women-based organizations while in law school. The first one I joined was NABFEME (The National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment) and it was specifically so I could meet women who were in the positions and jobs I ultimately wanted to have. At the summits and meetings they oftentimes discussed glass ceilings, discrimination, sexual harassment issues, work/life balance and achieving goals as a woman. It definitely opened my eyes to the numerous issues some of my idols in entertainment dealt with and served as a cautionary tale of some things I would ultimately experience as well.
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Outside of the formal and incorporated support groups for women, I also had my close-knit crew of girlfriends in the New York area to fellowship with at a quarterly get up we called “LYBL – Live Your Best Life.”
We came from many different industries. Some were doctors, lawyers, marketing executives, fashionistas, etc., but more than anything they were all my girlfriends. The most beneficial thing I got from them was unconditional love and support regarding taking the next step in both my career and in life in general. They would encourage me when I was unsure of myself and also cry with me when discussing past difficulties.
I believe women support groups are necessary. It is just important to find one that positively pours into you and aligns with your professional and personal goals. They should not be the only organizations you seek to assist in the edification of your career, but they all share a special connection with the trials, tribulations and victories of being a woman in the workplace.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
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