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The Athena Network Review

Date: 25 January 2016

The Business Network Column from Platinum Business Magazine

Network Review – The Athena Network

By Emma Pearce – Marketing Consultant – marketing planning, outsourced marketing services and social media training

Athena Crowborough Jan 2014

Photo by NX Photography

Emma Pearce gives a more detailed insight into The Athena Network for female executives and entrepreneurs.

Whether you agree or disagree with women-only networking, for those involved it works. So they keep doing it! Athena was founded in the UK in 2005 and now has in excess of 2500 members across 30 regional territories.

I spoke to Regional Director, Michala Rutherford, about her experiences running the Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hassocks and Lewes networks.

I’ve been running Athena groups for 10 years now and a lunchtime networking meeting definitely works for many professional female business owners and Directors. We run very productive and structured business meetings, plus I organise extra events such as training days and workshops, using a mix of speakers from our skilled membership and external experts.”


Meeting Format

The agenda for each event is:

  • 30 minutes – registration, open networking
  • Sit down and pass around cards and any other literature/product samples
  • 1 minute round for each member to promote their business
  • 2 course lunch
  • Speaker – 10 minute slot
  • Networking skills/training slot (led by Michala) – 10 minutes
  • 30 second round – to say thank you to members, arrange 1-2-1’s and give testimonials
  • Closing comments


Michala added “We really encourage everyone in the groups to organise 1-2-1’s outside the meeting. It is always so helpful to spend an hour with other members to talk in more detail. As well as getting to know each other better, you can uncover ways in which you can work together, be clear on when to refer each other and share advice and tips.”

The meeting in Crowborough recently had representatives from a wide range of industries including private healthcare, IT support, IT training, family law, plumbing, marketing, interior design, travel, and bailiff services.

Comments from those attending the group were very positive and consistent.  One lady summed it up saying “This group beats other networks hands down in terms of the results I get. But it’s not just business leads, it’s new suppliers and genuine support from a very friendly bunch of people.”


Key Facts

  • Location: Premium Hotels/Golf Clubs in Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hassocks, Lewes
  • Frequency: Monthly (10 months, plus 2 regional events)
  • Size: Typically a maximum of 30
  • Time: Lunchtime 12 – 2
  • Lock out: Yes
  • USP: Perfect mix of business and friendly support. Promote 1-2-1’s outside the meeting. It’s all about relationship building – people buy from people.
  • Minute round: Yes
  • Speaker slot: Yes
  • Cost: £295 per year plus £24 per month (for 2 course lunch in high quality venue)


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