Austin women have many reasons for seeking out networking groups like the Young Women’s Alliance. You may want to make new friends, get involved in your community, or brush up on your professional skills. Besides these, though, we all hope for something else: that our YWA network will help us build success in our professional lives, whatever that may mean on an individual basis.
Our own 2020-21 Chief of Staff, Leah Christensen, changed jobs earlier this year. A big part of why she got her new role was a relationship she had built in her time networking over the last three years as a YWA member! We asked Leah to share some of the details of her experience; here’s what she had to say.
What made you join YWA and start networking?
Leah: I moved to Austin 5 years ago, and already had a built-in network of friends and family. After a few years I felt like I was missing something. I wanted to branch out, dive deeper into the community, and learn new things from people different than myself.
How did your network help you in this career change?
Leah: After a few years of volunteering together at YWA and becoming friends, a friend and connection knew that I was ready for the next phase in my career. We spoke casually about possible opportunities and then the perfect position on the right team became available. At the time, she worked for the company and recommended me. She went directly to my now boss, and really advocated for me since my experience wasn’t directly transferable to the role.
How else has your professional network shown value?
Leah: My professional network has proven to be valuable along the whole way! It is a journey and building a group of diverse people to surround yourself with only makes you better. Over the last three years in YWA, every interaction and learning moment was leading up to my career transition.
How did this opportunity come about?
Leah: My friend already knew that I was open to new job opportunities, so she thought of me when she heard about the job opening.
What do you appreciate most about this?
Leah: I appreciate most that my friend continued to keep me in mind over the years and she stuck her neck out for me. She saw the possibilities for me before I ever did.
Did your YWA network influence your approach or interest?
Leah: My network gave me the insight to know this is a great place to work and a place I wanted to be. I wouldn’t have pursued the opportunity as hard as I did if it weren’t for my YWA network.
What do you love most about your new role?
Leah: I’m learning every day and never feel stagnant. I am encouraged by coworkers and my boss to keep looking for opportunities to grow. But most of all, I am surrounded by people who care about others and the business they work for. The company of 1000+ people feels like a close knit team of connected people.