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The Koneksa Women’s Network: Building Community That Scales

When our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Elena Izmailova, founded what was then the “Women of Koneksa” group, our company had fewer than 30 people, most of whom were men, and most of whom worked daily from our New York office. The group’s purpose was to share lunch and camaraderie: to connect and help each other grow.

While a great deal has changed, some things haven’t changed at all. Today, we have more than 100 employees around the world in our virtual organization; our gender balance is nearly 50/50; and I’ve been honored to have the torch passed to me to sponsor what is now the Koneksa Women’s Network, led by a committee that currently includes Anna Aronov, Katie Jones, Juanita Yim, Alishba Aslam-Perez, Gabby Stephenson, Jessica Husar, and Julia Kling.

 

Koneksa Women Network

 

But our roots are strong, and they show in how we’ve progressed. We’ve built a lending library of business books. We’ve done a series of fireside-chat-style leadership interviews whose popularity expanded to the whole company. And we’ve continued our lunches – virtually now – sharing our hobbies and our successes, our questions and our advice. We’ve learned so much about each other and from each other. We gather to get to know each other better, to share who we are and what we care about, in hopes that how we’ve navigated our own lives and careers can help those around us.

Today, while we’re continuing our monthly meetings, we’re dreaming big. We’ve been inspiring and sharing our learnings with newer employee resource groups. We’re developing a formal mentorship program. And we’re looking beyond our own walls. We’d like to not only create a gold standard program for a women’s ERG: the group is also aiming to advocate for women in our broader healthcare community.

I’ve been part of women’s groups in other workplaces, and I’ve been grateful for what I was able to learn from them, but I know I’m not alone when I say that our group feels special. Our organic growth has come from the heart, in every iteration and in every phase. We have women at every phase of their career, with such a range of life experiences, and that wealth of diversity is something that we seek not only to keep cherishing and growing here, but also bring to the wider world.

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