I’ve been organizing events for a decade, over 80 gatherings and counting. Bungee jumping adventures, flight lessons, and poker nights for my non-profit organization Sharity in Switzerland. Horse racing excursions, a wine tasting pilgrimage to meet one of the first women CEOs in the Napa wine industry, and networking evenings galore with Bubbles and Biz. Now, with the GUILD, in just seven months — with the help of a tireless team — we’ve hosted 20 unique events where we’ve celebrated the amazing women in our network. From speakers to mentors, to new members and guests, I’ve always believed that everyone benefits when you invest in your human connections.

Here are some of the invaluable lessons we’ve learned from the women in our network, women who contributed their time, passion, and expertise to events this year, and will be back for a reprise at SERENDIPITY. At this two-day summit — for women by women — we’re bringing together 65 speakers to share their expertise and creativity in over 30 half-day sessions hosted in 10 unique spaces across San Francisco.

From Terri Mead and Miluna Fausch at Pitch Perfect, we learned to get the YES when we bring the ASK. Terri will be in the Founders Meet Funders house showing us how to meet the right people to reach success.

With serial entrepreneur Layne Gray at Taste and Passion, we learned about the art of the side hustle as we sipped wine and shared stories of our own ventures. Since Layne’s first tasting event was such a hit, we’ve invited her to mix it up (literally) with a cocktail workshop at SERENDIPITY’s Founders’ Lounge.

Founders Elena Luneva, Jeanne Geier Lewis, and Theresa Piasta taught us at Sneak Peek to filter noise from feedback to make successful choices. Jeanne will be in the Go To Market house guiding us in how to launch an app, and Theresa will be teaching us how to build partnerships, discuss marketing tactics, and connect with experts in branding, viral marketing, and more, at the Small Business Success house.

Olivia Christian, who masterfully tapped our inner creative power at the Own Your Story event, will be leading us at the StoryPOWER house to help us craft our perfect personal narrative.

Our network of successful, powerful women defines us — and that includes members and guests. Throughout the year, we’ve made our member feedback the highest priority in planning events, taking into account even the smallest details of what worked and what didn’t.

We’ve learned to facilitate connections, a guiding principle at the GUILD. At many of our events, we coordinated speed networking matches for attendees. Through these small, casual meetups, women met like-minded peers and made lasting connections. We’ll be doing this again at SERENDIPITY in the Founders’ Lounge and elsewhere.

The speed coaching career advice sessions we designed for Find Your Coach were so rewarding that we’re expanding the idea across the entire Find Your Coach house — with new categories including career, leadership, finance, and wellness. A healthy career starts with a holistic approach to life.

Cause Connect will be reborn in the Social Responsibility house, and we’re taking By Her For Her and focusing on marketing products to women in the Beyond Pink session at the Go To Market house.

It’s been easy to decide what we need to see again at SERENDIPITY by simply observing how women interact with our speakers and workshops. At some of our most successful events, there’s an electric, transformative energy in the room, a tingly feeling that something big is happening. It’s in everything from an intimate conversation about crafting an effective pitch at Pitch Perfect to the women brave enough to share their lives at Own Your Story. You’ll see versions of both of these events as sessions this October, and we’re excited to see what happens as we bring even more women into the welcoming atmosphere.

SERENDIPITY is a place for us to test and try new ideas for sessions and professional development activities, but it’s also a chance for us to recreate the indelible moments we’ve shared over the last year.

With thousands of hours of event experience, we’re excited to jump to the next level and bring everybody along. That’s why we’re orchestrating the first women’s conference of its kind. Be a part of it: Join SERENDIPITY!

Originally published at medium.com


  • Anne Cocquyt


    The GUILD

    A serial entrepreneur, computer and data scientist, and corporate veteran who is passionate about women’s career advancement. CEO & Founder of the GUILD - letsguild.com - a networking platform for women.