Building Effective Networks

Bringing Women Together

This panel explored the value of networks, particularly for women. Panelists shared their experiences with their own women’s networks – building them, bringing them together and managing them in a cost-effective manner. Westpac discussed the value of its internal women’s network, BanRegio discussed its network for customers, TEB shared how they support entrepreneurs with training and networking, and FMO highlighted a program that brings together funders and entrepreneurs in Ghana.

Key Points

  • Westpac’s Women of Westpac (WOW) Program was developed nine years ago – years before the institution had a strong D&I strategy in place. The program is run by internal volunteers and has helped to develop a culture of employee action groups, which are sponsored by senior executives.
  • Westpac also connects customers to each other and to key resources, helping them to prepare their pitches and to be competitive in procurement processes.
  • BanRegio focuses on entrepreneurs to help them network and access knowledge that enables them to better their businesses. The bank’s platform provides mentoring as well as support at all hours of the day. In turn, the bank learns more about its customers’ needs and is further positioned as a differentiator in the market.
  • Effective Networks 2017 GBA Summit 3

  • TEB is a market leader in Turkey and a well-known SME bank based on its focus on non-financial services. One such offering is its SME Academy – a training program for customers that is followed by networking opportunities. TEB has launched more than 110 so far, including Academies specifically targeted at women SME owners. So far these Academies have reached more than 3,000 women across the country. The bank also utilizes Facebook to connect women entrepreneurs, including live broadcasts, which are particularly popular.
  • FMO has not only supported employees internally via the creation of staff networks, but has also supported clients to connect with female entrepreneurs. The development bank organized a female leadership journey for a group of hand-picked women from the US and Europe, who visited Access Bank Ghana to learn from female entrepreneurs there and to work to improve their situations.

Effective Networks 2017 GBA Summit 2


Business Networking Specialist

Head of Women’s Markets, Westpac

Chief Innovation Officer, BanRegio

SME Banking Strategic Planning and Marketing Group Director, TEB

Manager Financial Institutions, Latin America & the Caribbean; FMO


It’s about listening and responding. It’s not just a questionnaire.
— Andy Lopata

We look at networks in terms of partnerships – helping each other to grow and connect.
— Felicity Duffy

Networking has a big impact on entrepreneurs, and mentoring helps them grow their sales.
— René Lankenau

After the training sessions the attendees network, trying to benefit from each person sharing their experiences.
— Ayhan Albeyoglu

Women especially need to feel they’re in a safe environment in order to open up and dare to feel comfortable to ask for things they need.
— Chantal Korteweg