The Network president Marie Louise Ashworth said the more you network, the easier it becomes
Photo: Patricia Pitsch/Maison Moderne
Women's networking group The Network has a new president. Marie Louise Ashworth talked to Delano about her new role, and explains how networking provided her with more than just business contacts.
Jess Bauldry: Tell us a bit about yourself--what did you want to be when you were growing up and what did you become?
Marie Louise Ashworth: I was born in Blackpool, England, studied business and finance in Loughborough followed by a Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma whilst embarking in a career in the automobile industry. I worked in various European cities before changing to hospitality and tourism at the age of 25; starting a business in Normandy and later, in the Haute Savoie, France.
In 2015, at the age of 47, I made the decision to change environment, career, country, language, and came to Luxembourg. Using my business knowledge and personal skills I work as HR manager and CoSec for a company offering corporate governance services to the fund industry.
JB: Who inspired you?
MLA: Many people have inspired and mentored me along my journey, but two women had a special impact on my life. My mother and Margaret Thatcher.
Whilst I was in junior school, Margaret Thatcher was elected the first woman prime minister of the UK and she became an inspiration. I wanted to be like her. I didn’t understand anything about inflation, interest rates, inner city riots, the coal miner's strike, the Falkland’s conflict… all I saw was a woman who stood by her decisions, had a very strong personality, and was intelligent, well-educated and female!
JB: What first attracted you to The Network?
MLA: I arrived in Luxembourg with no job and only knowing a handful of people. I had literally just arrived and a friend invited me to a Network event as a means of meeting a diverse group of international women. I was very sceptical and even afraid at first, especially the idea of walking into a room full of people I didn’t know. I shouldn’t have worried. I was greeted by warm smiles and made to feel very welcome and even guided to join a group of ladies and introduced. these ladies have since become my support network and most importantly, my friends. The slogan “come as strangers, leave as friends” is definitely true of The Network.
JB: What are the most important things to remember and/or do when networking? How did you learn to network?
MLA: Remember: You are not alone! There will be other people in the same situation. Seek out those also standing alone, feeling as awkward as you are. Introduce yourself, ask why they have come to the event, what they do, where they are from. Keep the conversation flowing and you will find some common ground. Don’t forget to ask others to join your conversation too.
You will soon find that all the inhibitions and the fear of “networking” are forgotten and next time you go to an event, you will see a friendly face, have more confidence and grow your network. This is networking. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. And who knows where it might lead!
JB: Can you sum up The Network in three words?
MLA: Without hesitation; connecting, encouraging, empowering
JB: What is planned for The Network this year?
MLA: The Network organises a variety of monthly events planned around 4 strategic pillars: personal growth, professional development, community and networking. To give a few examples, [our] April event is a community event centred on sustainability and the Third Industrial Revolution. We have a series of three events around professional development and a social networking event in July. All the events can be found on The Network website.