When women have the opportunity to come together in open and invested support of each other’s success, it’s incredibly powerful. Tiffany Watts, Managing Director, and Vienna Lawrence, Regional Sales Associate, have captured this sense of empowerment and community in their Badass Women in Business group. Since 2020, this network of Siegfried professionals, clients, alumni, and friends has welcomed women leaders across the country for in-person networking events in Denver, as well as virtual leadership advisory sessions centered around connectivity and mutual growth.
Originally inspired by a dinner that Laura Neal, National Managing Director at Siegfried, hosted in the Bay Area with the same name, Tiffany planned a leadership advisory-focused dinner and discussion just as the pandemic was beginning to shut everything down. “We regrouped and asked, how could we still accomplish this? How could we still connect people, particularly at a time when they really needed that connection?” shared Tiffany. “So, we decided to do it virtually.”
What started as a lockdown-induced backup plan has transformed into a unique chance for women to connect regularly and meaningfully with each other and the Firm. “Women are busy,” said Tiffany. “We have a lot of working moms that we’d like to reach, and the virtual events allow people to attend without spending their valuable time traveling.”
The group now alternates between online leadership advisory sessions developed around a particular, top-of-mind subject and in-person networking events. Most recently, attendees tapped into their creativity at a Paint & Sip in Denver. “It was a great way for people to meet and catch up in a fun, social environment,” reflected Vienna.
Creating the space for growth
The virtual Badass Women in Business leadership advisory sessions are intentional and intimate. Each session invites around 15 to 20 women to examine important topics as a group and share their personal insights in breakout rooms. Attendees include clients in the accounting and finance world, Siegfried alumni who still want to experience an extension of the Firm’s offerings, and Siegfried professionals and leadership who are tuned into their personal and professional growth.
The group has covered, and plans to discuss, a wide range of topics, such as navigating uncertainty, trust, professional courage, focusing on what you can control, imposter syndrome, and sharing feedback. But aside from these engaging areas of focus, the strength of the group truly comes from each participant’s willingness to speak openly and honestly about what’s going on in their lives.
“The conversations are so robust, effective, and beneficial to our members – which is why they look forward to and enjoy our sessions – because we’ve really established a container,” explained Vienna. “People are honest, and they feel like they can be themselves. This container is what makes Badass Women in Business such a great group.”
“I really do think we’ve created a forum for people to feel comfortable about expressing their thoughts and frustrations very candidly,” echoed Tiffany. “I remember one session where three attendees had just gone through an acquisition, and it was a rough transitional period. They were having a hard time, and they were all very, very honest about their experience. A lot of the time, people are a little bit guarded about sharing those types of things.”
Learning from each other
Through the Badass Women in Business group’s transparent discussions, attendees have seen the true meaning of mutually beneficial and of-service connections. This strong network of women has supported each other through hardship and learned from all members’ perspectives and experiences, providing insights they can carry forward into their careers. There have even been sessions in which some Siegfried Professional Resources attended alongside the client they were working for, serving as a basis for continued leadership advisory.
“In one session, a Siegfried professional discussed her work on a project where she was struggling to communicate with a difficult person,” recalled Tiffany. “The professional was in one of my breakout rooms, and it gave me the opportunity to do a little coaching in the spirit of courage – encouraging her to push back when appropriate and to have the confidence to do what she knows is right. Not only did that give her a feeling of support, but it also provided her the tools to have that conversation and feel confident in it, which can sometimes be the hardest part.”
Conversations like these have facilitated countless authentic and interested connections, building a community within Siegfried’s client base and introducing Siegfried professionals to an empowered and impactful network.
“Because these are recurring sessions, it fosters such a close-knit group between attendees,” said Vienna. “It’s great watching everyone connect so effortlessly at our networking events, and personally, it’s been amazing to see the evolution of my own relationships with everyone involved.”