Maria Josife, Founding Member, shares the inspiration behind the origins of SWISH.
The idea for SWISH arose from a moment of admiration and slight envy. A group of awesome women in tech had started a network, aimed at helping women in their industry find their tribe. The idea was to help senior women, and women on their path to being senior, to connect with peers and gain support, knowledge and inspiration from each other. My first thought was how much I would have liked to have access to that on my path through my own profession. My second was how great it would be for some of the fantastic women I work with to experience that.
So I phoned a friend. Jane Dowding and I have always shared similar values – a belief in the importance of diversity and inclusion, and that you should be able to be yourself in the workplace, carve your own path. And so SWISH was born, with the mission to try and provide a trusted and supportive place where women can openly be themselves and discuss both personal and professional challenges they face in their career development (with wine!) The key is honesty and trust. Being part of a community, not a competition. Contributing, and hopefully reflecting and learning. But most importantly having a place where everyone can find their tribe, their network to share and learn from.
And so we phoned some more friends and were so pleased that Jane Reddin, Kate Butler, Rachel Slattery, Fleur Evans and Kate Bamford felt similarly excited about the opportunity. And SWISH came to life. It was important that different experiences were represented, and we are delighted to have collected together such a amazing group of women as our founding chapter. Importantly they all have different life experiences, and have made very different career choices. From starting their own firms, to working in established ones; going in-house or going portfolio they have set their own paths and have some amazing insights to share, as well as being really keen to continue their own development. They share an ambition to create a safe place where women in our industry can connect, share experiences and learn from each other. (Did I mention the wine?)
There are a lot of things we’d all do differently, definitely some things we’ve learnt along the way and loads more to learn as we go, and we’re excited to see what SWISH can become, and what it can offer those operating in and progressing through our industry.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you.