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Advance

One of the greatest strengths of the female species is our ability to make and maintain deep and meaningful friendships. No matter if you’re mourning a loss or celebrating a great achievement, good friends will be by your side to offer support or serve up a celebratory toast.

A dinner date or phone call with a girlfriend is often the perfect antidote to the fast-paced busyness of everyday life. And, science shows that feeling emotionally close to a friend actually increases levels of the hormone progesterone, helping to boost your well-being and reduce anxiety. If that’s not reason enough to make time for your friends, I don’t know what is.

We’ve heard, time and again, from our top Women of Influence that it’s their close friends who help them cope when life gets tough and who contribute to their positive attitude in the face of adversity. Feeling overwhelmed? Sit down for a glass of wine with a girlfriend or two and watch the stress melt away.

When it comes to the corporate world, friendships can be extremely beneficial. Having friends and allies in the right places or with the right resources may even lead to improved success and advancement.

This anecdotal evidence is now being supported by research conducted out of the University of Michigan. The researcher, Dr. Irene Levine says close friendships can even extend the longevity of one’s life. She writes: “Friendships are so pivotal in our lives that they help us define who we are and who we will become.”

Still, we’re finding that with a little creativity and focus many women could do more to harness the power of friendships in the business world. From our Women Entrepreneurs of The Year and our Top 25 Women of Influence we’ve learned just how important it is to develop meaningful relationships with other women. These friends can step in to offer candid advice, champion our successes, and push us to develop new skills and further expand our reach.

Our friendships with other women are integral to our sense of fulfillment

Understanding the value and power of friendships has played a pivotal role in our decision to invest in establishing our Advancement Centre with a series of highly engaging hands-on workshops led by women, for women.

Our goal is to create spaces where women feel comfortable sharing their challenges, insights, and experiences and learning from one another. It’s within these spaces that great friendships are made.

We tested this idea with Queens School of Business and they were so moved by it that they proposed we  work with them to set up an accreditation endorsed by both the university and Women of Influence. In this program, 50 percent of the courses are available exclusively to women. (Click here for more details)

Queens has also instituted a program in conjunction with Women of Influence which offers every registrant in their Executive Education Centre a $200 credit toward a Women of Influence course. (Click here for more details)

Too often, our friendships are neglected in the face of other more pressing responsibilities including children, career, and family. Instead of making time for friends, we claim “we’re just too busy.” But, when women have the opportunity to come together as friends, amazing things transpire.

In the feedback from our workshop Building your Personal Brand led by Paula Pyne this sentiment was echoed time and again:

“I felt so encompassed in happiness and positive energy from all the amazing women in the room. I was honoured…to feel a part of the powerful tribe yesterday! ”

“What surprised me most was how positive the energy was in the room…”

“The honesty and sharing was inspiring—we all have a story!”

These positive feelings make sense.  Dr. Levine insists that women who maintain their friendships feel better and, as a result, are usually better wives, mothers, and leaders. When you’re being supported, amazing things can happen.

We invite you to devote a day to yourself and come develop some new friendships while improving skills critical to your success. Click here to see our list of courses offered by Knightsbridge, workshops offered by Queens School of Business, and courses designed exclusively for women by Women of Influence.

Step Up To Help a Friend

If you know someone who is experiencing stress or is facing challenges in their career, please pass this information along to them. We are stronger together.