Finding a sense of community and connection online has never felt more important than right now, even as the world is starting to open up a little more.
Our team at Masthead Media has been working remotely for several years, and although we're fairly well-versed in this way of collaborating, we still like to find new ways to connect and virtually hang out with our co-workers and industry peers.
For me, connecting with other female founders -- sharing our struggles and small wins as we navigate the current moment -- has been invaluable. And just as importantly, it has helped me to grow my network, so that my business can continue to grow and thrive.
Here are just some of my favorite online networks for women that are welcoming new members to their communities.
I joined HeyMama last March, just as everything in the U.S. was shutting down -- and little did I know what an essential resource (and source of solidarity!) it would be for me during that initial period of isolation. Founded by Amri Kibbler and Katya Libin, this network of more than 3,400 career-driven working mothers offers inspiration and professional connection in the form of frequent virtual events (headlined by powerhouse entrepreneurs like Bobbi Brown), a mentorship program, "Mama Meetups," a private Slack chat, location-based social groups, and more. While there is a membership fee ($35 a month), the exposure I got to female decision makers and high-quality connections made it a worthwhile investment (in fact, one of our new clients found us through HeyMama).
Ladies Get Paid
Most of us are aware that the gender pay gap (and funding gap!) holds many women back from advancing in their careers. The Ladies Get Paid community wants to help change that. In addition to hosting events (including a new suite of online programming) and providing tons of online resources, Ladies Get Paid also offers members access to its private Slack group. The group is nearly 70,000-women strong, and includes channels based on location, topic, and industry, so you're bound to find other women with varied interests, passions, and areas of expertise. It's free to join the community, and you'll also get the weekly Ladies Get Paid newsletter that's packed with useful articles, job postings, and more.
While Study Hall is open to all genders, it's largely run by women and is focused on supporting people working in media -- many of whom are freelancers. This community feels particularly important and relevant now, as so many freelancers are still being impacted by the pandemic. There are a few membership levels available to access Study Hall content, starting at $5 per month. The community offers a weekly newsletter and an active listserv with news, job postings, and Q&A. Plus, the Study Hall Network is a platform for media workers that offers pitch guides, a database of editors, access to a private Slack group, and much more.
A robust online community for women working in tech, Elpha offers Q&A sessions with female leaders in the tech space, from startup founders to engineers to designers and more. Elpha's directories allow members to join tailored groups for specific skill sets and offerings -- like angel investors, freelancers, and coaches. There's also a job board that allows members to refine their search by team size, benefits, and the percentage of women in leadership positions at the company. Best of all, Elpha is free to join, so it's easy to jump in and start connecting.