Starting from scratch in London can be an intimidating experience for any girl, and meeting new people and building a career are probably top of any rookie Londoner's to-do list. In 2002 Sally Hopkins and Vicky Wood were studying for their finals at Birmingham University and looking forward to their move to London after graduation. They had already found jobs, but little else on offer to support their broader career development.
After researching various business associations they struck upon the idea of setting up City Girls' Network (CGN), an organisation for twenty-something women in London. Its principal aims are to create an informal network for like-minded young women, and through various social events provide guidance on career and lifestyle issues. Two and a half years later CGN has strong links with the long-established City Women's Network, and over 200 girls in its contacts book.
"We started with a group of friends and began expanding through word of mouth. We thought that there must be other girls out there like us who would benefit from meeting people on the same wavelength. We wanted to be able to do this in a relaxed way over a few glasses of wine, and also hear from successful people about their experiences," says Sally.
Events have so far covered issues such as life coaching, financial planning, personal safety, team building, working abroad, and talks from business men and women including Michael Smith, CEO of internet success story Firebox.com, and Caroline Plumb, Managing Director of research company Fresh Minds, who at 26 is the youngest female member of the Institute of Directors. "Our ambition for CGN is to support all our individual aspirations whatever they may be, we want to attract girls from really diverse career backgrounds," Sally says.
She emphasises that the ethos of CGN is about where you are going, and not where you have been.
For further information on City Girls' Network and their forthcoming events go to
Words by Kate Rimmington