Are you still talking… or are you networking already?

With womenmatter/s founders Marilen Schwald and Stefanie Fehr

There is a long line of research showing that women face greater barriers than men when it comes to finding professional opportunities through networking. We also know that women need different approaches than those long-established by men to successfully build and utilize their networks.

womenmatter/s is a career guidance program that helps ambitious women in the beginning stages of their careers navigate these challenges. Stefanie Fehr and Marilen Schwald founded womenmatter/s so that others can benefit from their knowledge and experience in what it means to stay true to yourself as a woman while advancing your career.

In today’s episode, Stef and Mary shed light on why we might find it hard to engage in networking, and how this relates to inequality in the workplace. The insights they provide help to understand the role of all-female networks in the career development of women, and how companies can proactively utilize them to support their employees.

They also talk about how diverse professional relationships helped them in their own careers, and share practical and broadly applicable tools for strategic networking.


This research found that women who have an inner circle of close female contacts are much more likely to land a leadership position with greater authority, with higher pay, than women who do not have a network, or women who only network with male colleagues.

A strong network is obviously important for both males and females, but interestingly, the research found no such gender link in the network of our male colleagues.


 What you will learn

    • Networking is a skill that you can develop.
      Being strategic about your efforts is key whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.
    • The four aspects of a successful network and why they are important.
    • Building and maintaining a network that can help you achieve your goals requires knowing the value you bring to the table.


    • Build female network groups inside and outside of your company.
    • Build your own personal boardroom where you include people to whom you can attribute different roles (e.g. information, power, mentor).
    • Set regular reminders to keep in touch with your network. Combine talking to your contacts with activities you are already doing to maximize your impact

Find Stef and Mary online

IG: womenmatters_network
LI: womenmatter/s
LI: Stefanie Céline Fehr
LI: Marilen Schwald

Additional Ressources

Research: Men and Women Need Different Kinds of Networks to Succeed:

New research in the Harvard Business Review finds that while both men and women benefit from having a network of well-connected peers across different groups, women who also have an inner circle of close female contacts are more likely to land executive positions with greater authority and higher pay, while there was no link found for the success of men in terms of the gender composition of their inner circles


Step by step guide to strategic networking:


Icebreaker questions :


Networking opportunity:
Join the womenmatter/s Circle:


Books on strategic networking:
Adam Grant :Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

King, Zella; Scott, Amanda: Who is in your Personal Boardroom? How to choose people, assign roles and have conversations with purpose. 


Personal Boardroom Ltd.


Marilen Alison Schwald

As the extroverted co-founder of womenmatter/s Marilen is the networking queen and lifetime value enthusiast who sees opportunities everywhere. Thanks to her visionary thinking, all-in-mindset, and courage, she determinedly sells and grows womenmatter/s. Mary frequently speaks in nation-wide press and on stage about sustainability, innovation, and gender-topics. Her magnetism, positive outlook on life, and diverse interests draw people to her, who aspire to her level of success. Mary has background in sustainability, banking and entrepreneurship. She lives with her partner and her son in the middle of the old town of Basel. She enjoys after work drinks with friends in the hotpot and likes to drink Chardonnay – preferably aged in barriques.

Stefanie Céline Fehr

As the introverted co-founder of womenmatter/s Stefanie is the marketing and communications expert, and productivity boss, who always stays on top of things. Thanks to her strategic thinking, science-based focus, and her strong sense of justice, she empowers womenmatter/s members with knowledge, resources and solutions to take informed action. Her energy, passion, and leadership qualities give confidence to others. And that’s what drives her; as a network-builder, she works to better understand the practice of relationship, dialogue, and deep connections that energize people and communities to turn visions and passions into reality and results. Stef is a product specialist leading a members-only network of UHNW-philanthropists at a global bank. She lives with her partner in a suburb of Zurich. Her heart rate is at its lowest when she’s checking off an item on her to-do list and enjoying a good glass of Spanish red wine.

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