Women’s networking group blooms in Provence
When Rebecca Ronane moved to Provence, she struggled to find a local, English-speaking networking group.
Two years on, she is the driving force behind Network Provence (www.networkprovence.com), which boasts about 160 female members of all ages and nationalities.
She now wants to expand the network to all corners of the region, as well as gather interest to start other networking groups across France.
Ms Ronane said: “I started it to help my business, and in fact I have changed direction due to the people I have met through Network Provence. I find it a pleasure to do, and of benefit to many people.”
Network Provence has a Facebook page where members swap ideas, but, more importantly, there are regular meetings in five towns in the area: Maubec, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, St Rémy-de-Provence and Orange, where Ms Ronane says, ‘amazing connections’ have been made. She said: “For anyone who wants to come along, it is an opportunity to present their business, project, charity or blog, and to connect with other women in the area. There are some amazing people out there doing extraordinary things and it can take just one connection to change your world.”
Ms Ronane said around 70% of members are professionals, but the network is an easy and useful way to make friends.
“I am very enthusiastic about the meetings and they have been very successful,” she said.
“Our common language is English but we don’t expect everybody to speak perfect English and we are not just an expat group. We have French members as well.”
She said her gatherings are “about collaboration rather than competition,” adding: “I have been to some networking groups where you have to be quite brave to speak out but I want everyone to feel at ease.”
Network Provence is a women-only group and for the moment, members have voted to keep it that way.
Membership costs €50 a year, or €10 for a single meeting, and Ms Ronane said the charges are to cover costs only. The Facebook group is free.
She said anyone who is interested in creating their own group or who would like to be involved in the existing Network Provence, should contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org