Think HBR

Networking groups

Networking groups

Women are great networkers, and networking groups abound in the Hunter. They all exist to provide support and mentoring to other women in business, and offer professional development opportunities as well as social events where likeminded women can come together.
The following is a selection of groups that are active in the Hunter.

Hunter Business Women’s Network

Conferences, networking dinners, Christmas dinner events, charity fundraisers... all activities on offer to members of the Hunter Business Women’s Network (HBWN).
Established in 1995 by a group of enterprising women who wanted to support and learn from each other, HBWN’s members represent a wide range of industry sectors including finance, law, retail and wholesale, professional services, hospitality, transport, communication, public relations, health, education, manufacturing and government organisations.
The network is open to women in any area of business, from new micro-business, small to medium enterprises, and the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors.
The organisation currently boasts around 200 members who are encouraged to participate in a range of activities that raise the profile and improve the status of women throughout the Hunter Region.
The network runs monthly dinner meetings, an annual conference and other events that enable members and guests to hear speakers and panel discussions on current issues that they wouldn’t normally have access to.

Port Stephens Women in Business

Networking and mentoring group Port Stephens Women in Business offer women a chance to network, make friends and promote their business at monthly meetings and special events.
Guest speakers with information to support women in business are often invited to attend the monthly meetings, and online newsletters help keep the members connected with up-to-date information.
The group was started in 2009 by a small group of women in the Port Stephens area who identified a need for a networking group for likeminded women in their local area. The group now comprises over 50 women and the needs of individuals guides the direction the group takes.
A feature of the group is the mentoring existing members offer to new members or those who are interesting in starting their own business. Members also mentor and offer work experience to young people in the area.

Women in Building and Associated Services

Women in Building and Associated Services (WIBAS) provides an environment where women can network with colleagues and exchange ideas and experiences to support and mentor other women.
The group was created to represent women who work in the building and construction industry or a related service to the industry. Members come from a broad range of businesses including building companies, kitchen manufacturers, plumbing supplies, landscaping, and associated services including solicitors, accountants and Local Council and Authority representatives.
The group is supported by the Master Builders Association, which offers ongoing professional development to women in the industry through the WIBAS Forums.
The business forums that WIBAS hosts every three months are an opportunity for women to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in their industry.

Women in Business Connect

Women in Business Connect is designed to assist women in creating, developing and managing business relations in their local region.
The group is women in all stages of business, from start-up to well-established businesses.
The relaxed, friendly meetings encourage members to promote themselves in a short ‘elevator pitch’ as well as a 10 minute ‘under the spotlight’ presentation. Members are also offered the opportunity to showcase their products and services via trade tables.


Building business relationships that are genuine and sustainable can deliver positive professional and personal outcomes beyond expectations; genXwomen is one local networking group striving to deliver just that.
GenXwomen is a Hunter based professional networking group that has created a welcoming and supporting avenue for business women and men to develop and grow networks with like-minded people. Each year they deliver 11 varied, relevant and inspiring networking events to Hunter professionals of all ages.
GenXwomen recently welcomed five new committee members who join the team of eleven passionate volunteers.
The new committee members, Courtney Jones, Emily Gallagher, Lauren Fancey, Jacqui Mackley and Suzi Urdarov are looking forward to working with genX to deliver a range of fresh and exciting events in 2015.
This year the networking group delivered a range of events that have helped men and women throughout the Hunter develop both personally and professionally. From the inspiring story of three women tackling the highest peaks in South America to help young women in the Andes and the extraordinary story of Newcastle Herald journalist, Joanne McCarthy to the challenges and successes of local business woman Helen Nicola who has transformed Carla Swimwear into Australia’s largest online retailer of swimwear, genXwomen have provided a platform for professionals to connect.
President of genXwomen, Melanie Hamilton said the group is unique is in ability to deliver professional events that allows people to connect, grow and develop in a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere.
“The genX volunteer committee work hard to create a place for like-minded professionals to develop genuine and sustainable business relationships and have fun while doing it,” she said.
“2015 will see a whole new range of events that will appeal to business people across all industry sectors and at every career level. There is never a perfect time to start networking so I welcome anyone interested to come along to our first event for 2015 in February and try it out for themselves,” Mrs Hamilton said.
The committee have a diverse program of events planned for 2015 with a line-up of guest speakers, social events and workshops covering everything from mentoring and financial planning to health and wellbeing at work. genXwomen’s first event for 2015 will be held in early February and will be a great opportunity to start the new year off on. If you are interested in finding out more about genXwomen or getting involved please visit
The genXwomen committee is formed by Melanie Hamilton, Jennifer Parkes, Kim Sills, Kylie Diehm, Amy King, Amy Hurrell, Courtney Jones, Emily Gallagher, Lauren Fancey, Jacqui Mackley and Suzi Urdarov.