We hereby would like to introduce a particular business network on the rise, the Nordic Bossbabe Network.
Its founder, Jen W. Johnson is an entrepreneurial North American residing in Tampere, who is keen on boosting interpersonal and professional interactions wherever she goes. She was also recently interviewed as a new Tampere Ambassador, however, this time around we decided to conduct another interview with her, with focus on one of the most original of her current initiatives: the Nordic Bossbabe Network (NBN).
What is the NBN in a nutshell?
It is a community for women entrepreneurs and business owners, both current and aspiring.
How did your initiative emerge?
As a new entrepreneur in Tampere, I was seeking a community where I could connect, collaborate, and learn, and I decided to create the community that I was looking for. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs – both of my grandfathers as well as my father – but I wanted to connect with women who were innovative, inspiring, and changing the world! I have always been passionate about women's empowerment and the power of community, and I strongly believe that you are more likely to achieve your goals when you are surrounded by others who are pursuing similar goals.
What is its business value?
The network is a place where women can connect, share their products/services/projects, discuss women's entrepreneurship, exchange tips, advice, and trainings, and encourage one another. My hope is that the members are able to build meaningful relationships, celebrate each other’s victories, and support each other’s' goals. By being a part of NBN, we can refer one another to friends, agencies, and businesses, as well as utilize each other’s products and services. For example, if one of our members who is a coder is seeking to create a website and market herself online, she can look to the NBN to find the graphic designers, copywriters, SEO experts, etc., to help her be successful.
It is such a privilege to be connected to women from every sector – from welding and accounting, online marketing and content creation, sexual wellness and child protection, innovative culinary products and design, web development and health professionals, and so many more!
Do internationals have a particular role in your initiative?
Since we are a network for women entrepreneurs from the Nordic region, we have members from and/or currently living in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. The language of business in the group is English. Many of the women in the group are seeking international expansion, and I anticipate that having a network across country borders will be very valuable.
Can you give practical examples of activities that you organize with the NBN?
The NBN currently uses Facebook as the main platform to connect. During an early survey, I learned that the members were most interested in networking and training opportunities. We are organizing our first meetups, and various training opportunities are being shared with the group. I am looking forward to organizing trainings both by and for our members in the future! My hope and dream is that the NBN becomes a resource that others (such as government agencies or businesses) look to when they are seeking skilled professionals, speakers, consultants, freelancers, or creative products.
I have a whole spreadsheet of future activities for the NBN – such as annual vision retreats, mentorship, and philanthropy – and as we grow and move forward, we will have a better understanding of what activities will be the most meaningful for the network.
What is the need of gendering this initiative?
I believe that empowered women empower women. Unfortunately, in our world today – progressive as it may be already – many hear "boss" and immediately think of a man. In many ways, business and entrepreneurship can still be a man's world and women often face challenges in entrepreneurship and new business initiatives that men do not. While there are many groups and networks for entrepreneurs regardless of gender, I wanted to create a community especially for women where we could support and empower each other and share resources that will help us succeed.
Many women also experience comparison and competition against each other instead of support and collaboration; by cultivating community, we can change that. Also, "Bossbabe" is a globally trending hashtag, and doesn't – as some assume – describe a boss who is a babe. Rather, it is a completely new word that attempts to leave behind the sexualization of women previously implied by the word babe and, instead, reclaims it to define powerful women in business. Thus, from the NBN, we aim to redefine certain existing terms and use them as conceptual tools to promote a better way of doing. I hope that this network creates a group of women that generations to come can look up to as they, too, pursue entrepreneurship.
With over 180 members by now, the Nordic Bossbabe Network welcomes any self-identifying woman living in the Nordic region who is an entrepreneur or business owner, both current and aspiring. To become a member, you can request to join their Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nordicbossbabenetwork/.
If you are interested in following what they are doing, they will soon be active on Instagram (@nordicbossbabenetwork) and Twitter (@nordicbossbabe) as well!
Cover photo: Business lunch / Finland Image Bank / Riitta Supperi, Team Finland.