It’s networking…but not as we know it

Ahh that famous phase from Star Trek. How it keeps cropping up in everyday life (as much as we try to fight it!).


In this case, however, it fits the topic perfectly, because Cork Women in Business is no ordinary ‘networking’ group. It’s an inspiring and innovative mix; a twist of individualism, shameless fun and business-focused support. It may be even be foreign in this galaxy, but everyone who attends couldn’t be happier.

The group was set up almost 18 months and is the dual brain child of Margaret Smith of Umnumnum and Tori Hawthorne of Inspiring Sales. It began as a casual front room natter with a chosen few, but has expanded to being hosted at a dedicated venue (Cork Airport Hotel), with a fully-functioning website and a team of committee members (who pull all the admin/finance/marketing strings in the background).

But why is it so different?

Put simply, Cork Women in Business challenge the whole concept of networking and support groups by offering something in the middle. They batted away the formal ‘I’m such an’ such and my business is….’ and transformed it into a ‘teach yourself ‘ to creatively network’ session.

They coaxed in the new year with a themed melody under the name ‘New Year, New You’  of  ‘Best Face Forward’,  ‘Inner You’ and ‘Business with a Twist’ ; all designed to prepare you – inside and out – for an open networking session in April.

The April event was an evening of games and non-traditional networking. No pitches, no prepared business speeches – just fun. And if you think that fun cannot encourage strong networking, then you couldn’t be more wrong. The games – thought up by committee members and executed by Tori Hawthorne – were actually based on sales training. They tackled how to share information, work as teams, collaborate and understand your business traits.

Cork Women in Business continues to innovate and empower women with the support and experiences that help them develop their business skills. Topical speakers, Q&A sessions on business needs such as improving sales, finance & tax and marketing and open sessions are all part of the mix at just €45 per year. Guests are always welcome at €7.50.

If you feel alone in the business world, or you’re looking for other business women to chat to in an informal environment, or perhaps you just want to learn from others and sound out a new idea, then come along and join us. We meet on the 1st Tues of every month at the Cork Airport Hotel. Events run from Feb – May, stop for the summer and resume Sept – Nov, with the Christmas do in Dec. Details on or contact

And if you’re wondering why I’m so enthusiastic about the group – It’s because I’ve been with them since the second meeting and watched them develop. It’s also the reason I joined the committee. They are not just businesses, but friends and confident, business partners and clients.

Image credit: Cork Women in Business

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