I attended the Women Behind Closed Doors Lunch with Yamini Naidu event at the Stamford Hotel.
Women Behind Closed Doors is a networking group aimed at entrepreneurs and executive women. The group hosts regular events across the country. The event that I attended focused on a speech by Yamini Naidu a consultant who works to make workplaces a happier place.
I was early to the event and was one of the first people there, I was warmly welcomed in by Yamni and a event manager from Behind Closed Doors. The room was arranged into round tables that faced the front of the room so that everyone in the audience could see what was happening regardless of where you were sitting.
A diverse group of women trickled into the room by 12pm. However, I could not find any that were executives, with most of the corporate set being middle management. There were however, quite a few business owners – I am not sure though if they would fit the definition of an entrepreneur – I guess I would have to get to know then a bit better.
Yamini spoke before lunch. She discussed hygge which is a Danish word that means living with joy and happiness and the importance of incorporating it into the workplace. He intention with her speech was genuine. She spoke with confidence and from a good place. Discussing that humour should be an integral part of the workplace, and that everyone has the potential to drive humor in their workplace either through their actions when interacting with other colleagues or digitally through the use of emoji’s and Gifs.
I was unsure about the practicality of her advice given recent Fair Work rulings. There is also the challenge I personally find as a leader in maintaining respect and being considered humorous.
One of the attendees that I met was a middle manager at Seek. She told me that the business has always had humor in its culture. There are merits of being humorous for a brand such as Seek which began as a challenger in its industry. They must have great HR practices there to ensure that it is properly contained and does not offend anyone, which is great to see from a corporate organisation.
After Yamini’s speech lunch was served. This consisted of platters of sandwiches and salads as well as little cakes. Normally I am a huge fan of this type of food at events, however it tasted cold and rather… er… stale for some reason. I was surprised of the quality of the catering given that the Stamford is usually a great venue to host events.
As we were having lunch many attendees started leaving the room. We were supposed to have a session where people moved tables and networked with others but by 1:30 I was unsure of if this was going to happen, or if I would be better off going back to the office.
I decided to leave at around this time as I was not sure if it was worth staying as half of the room was gone.
There was a sense of the women in the room holding back at this event and not genuinely engaging with the content. I think some of this came from the fact that the group was marketed as being for women who were executives or entrepreneurs and the event instead attracting middle managers and business owners.
The most meaningful conversation I had at the event was on the elevator ride down where two women opened up about the topic and the event organisation.
Women’s networking events are always challenging I find. Either they are discussions time and time again about the continued lack of gender equality that continues to exist; or they are like this one that seeks to bring women together but then creates a barrier from having real, meaningful conversations.
Things to Note:
- Location: Stamford Plaza Hotel, 111 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Highlight: The diversity of the people in the room
- Cost: $47
- Hot Tip: Great for middle managers
- Venue: 3/5
- Catering: 2/5
- Speaker: 4/5
- Networking Opportunity: 2/5