On a personal front, Kim Vella finds networking where people ‘tell, sell or yell’ frustrating and exhausting so she started her own, for those in the work world and those outside it.
The Network of Possibility is a philanthropic initiative designed to unite community-minded Canberra women who want to use their time, energy and skills to give and learn from others.
‘This is not your typical networking group,’ says Kim who is an accredited executive coach with a PhD in Sociology from ANU. ‘It’s designed as a neutral and inclusive space focused on your purpose, not your level, status or rank. We don’t shove our business cards down people’s throats. We don’t need to present elevator pitches or prove ourselves. We already know that everyone who comes is worthwhile.’
The Network of Possibility invites a guest speaker to each event, someone who has or is making a significant transition in life. Their stories are truly motivating.
This month, on 28 November, Dr Danielle Klar will talk about her journey to jewellery. Danielle was on a career trajectory and determined to become the Secretary of a department. Then she was diagnosed with cancer and later told she had life-threatening clots in her legs and lungs. She almost lost her life.
At the November Network, Danielle will talk about the process she went through to get to where she is today, which is working part-time as a GP in her husband’s medical practice and part-time with her daughter in Plumery, the bespoke jewellery business Danielle started during her long recovery.
Other Network guests have included Kristen Holzapfel who spent several years working as a child protection social worker. While her career was rewarding, it took its toll and nearly broke Kristen’s heart and her body. Kristen turned her experience into something positive, writing a book called Selfless: A social worker’s own story of trauma and recovery.
The Network has also had guests such as Pip Seldon, from the Healthy Tradie Project and Kerstin Oberprieler from Pentaqest which provides gamified experiences.
While many career women attend the Network so do those who aren’t currently working. ‘These could be women on maternity leave, or mental health leave, or someone just taking a break,’ says Kim. ‘Sometimes it’s hard for these women to find an inspiring space. The Network fills that gap because it’s completely non-judgmental. You don’t have to put your wares on display.’
Kim wanted the Network to be purely philanthropic, and so it is. A silent auction is held at each one raising money for three women’s charities—Karinya House, Toora Women Inc., and YWCA Canberra.
It was a light bulb moment that led Kim to develop The Network of Possibility. She was at a ‘typical professional networking awards event’. She sat beside a female lawyer in the public service who was settled in her career but not entirely happy with it. She didn’t want to change jobs but was looking for meaning and purpose, to feel more fulfilled. She said she didn’t know where to find it.
‘This inspired me to create a group where women could come together to get a sense of purpose and meaning with no strings attached,’ says Kim. ‘The Network attracts women who want to expand their circles of influence and drive change in another way. We share defeats and triumphs and learn from others. The Network makes peoples’ hearts sing.’
If you’d like to attend the 28 November Network of Possibility, book here.