Editor’s note: International Women’s Day (IWD2024) theme for 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. We asked our leaders to present their personal views and share stories of how their experiences support that theme.

Change has become an ever-present constant in our lives. We’ve all been tasked with levels of Change Management expertise to navigate this personally and professionally. Handling change requires building resilience, which is best enabled through a strong support system.

One of the most valuable assets you can have is a close network of team members, advocates, and mentors who can help you overcome challenges and make the most of each opportunity.

I’ve built these types of relationships with work colleagues, and I try to maintain these even after my role changes. I’ve also established these close connections through volunteering and leveraging various social opportunities to build my network.

The benefits I’ve found are:

Diversity of Ideas

Including people with different perspectives in your group, your ‘crew,’ can be a source of inspiration. They can help you assess differently and consider alternative approaches. You can brainstorm creative solutions, find new paths forward, and enable better outcomes by tapping into the collective insights, wisdom, and expertise.

You can also try different experiences, like volunteering for something outside your ‘wheelhouse .’ By experiencing and doing something different, you can get exposure to things that may help give you a new outlook.

I once volunteered to support enrollment at a race. Through that effort, I thought of another way to form creative brainstorming groups within my team back at the office. Without my network encouraging me to volunteer at this race, I likely would not have come up with the same idea.


These individuals in your network can provide a safe space to express your fears, doubts, and vulnerabilities without judgment. They can help you authentically evaluate situations, and you can use them as a testing ground to pilot new approaches and help you push your boundaries.

Everyone has different strengths, and you can leverage your close network to access those that may be creative or analytical. By seeking the feedback and thoughts of these individuals, you can think through how to counter any weaknesses.

Greater Confidence

Through more collaboration, their advocacy can be a source of motivation and strength. Their encouragement, guidance, and belief in your abilities empower you to push through obstacles, grow beyond your comfort zone, and emerge stronger on the other side.

It’s important to ensure these relationships are mutually beneficial from all perspectives. These close relationships should have a give and a take, inspiring and enabling greater inclusion for all to gain value.

You also want to ensure you are helping to provide your perspectives and show appreciation for their support. Be an active listener and help to support others as well. This also gives you the experience to provide insights and your individual lens.

These relationships can help you achieve greater individual potential and allow you to help others reach their full potential as well.