Business Development Career

The power of a close network

Written by Allison Wolf
Happy International Women’s Day!
In celebration of this day, I am sharing an insight with you about the power a small close network of women can have for advancing your career that I learned from BC Business magazine this week.
In a study released in January researchers from Notre Dame University and the Kellog School of Management found that “77 percent of the highest achieving women had strong ties with an inner circle of two to three other women with whom they communicated frequently.”
Interestingly, women with a close inner circle of male contacts did not experience the same benefits!  The researcher concluded: “Women with a network centrality in the top quartile and a female-dominated inner circle have an expected job placement level that is 2.5 times greater than women with low centrality and a male-dominated inner circle.”
Here’s what’s important to know, and what I believe is the connection to make with women in law:
The women each had their own unique network of relationships with little overlap between members of the inner circle.  In this way members of the inner circle were able to help each other make contacts with connections who normally would not be reachable.
The women supported each other, shared information and contacts with one another, and generally helped each other out regularly and through this developed deep trust with one another.
I believe that these insights are essential for women lawyers in a number of ways:
Business and career development:  A very tight network of three women professionals with diverse networks can provide introductions and referrals to one another. The key is that you are all building careers in a similar sector, i.e. business, and have diverse networks of contacts.
In-house counsel:  For women lawyers practicing in-house, a close network with other women in-house counsel can be excellent for making career moves to new organizations and also with gaining insights and strategies for navigating the many internal hurdles to leadership ascension.
To read more about the power of female networks read this great article from BC Business.

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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