“Women Are the Transformational Movement Our Society Needs”

Tuesday, July 30 2013

Womenalia.com is the first social network worldwide for professional women, boasting more than 226,000 users in only 20 months. The media are already calling Womenalia "the LinkedIn for professional women", but Womenalia offers other tools that are designed specifically to help he professional woman in her day-to-day. We learn more about this initiative and about Womenalia's CEO and co-Founder, Maria Gomez del Pozuelo.

Maria Gomez del PozueloWOMENALIA. From international executive to CEO of an internet start-up – who is Maria Gomez de Pozuelo?
MARIA GÓMEZ DEL POZUELO. Let me start at the end – the title of this chapter being "how to be an entrepreneur and not die trying". After almost 20 years of working for multinational corporations such as AIG, Travel Club, Equifax, and TPI in Marketing and Sales, I'm learning what it means to run my own company with the help of my partners. But I bring the valuable experience from that corporate background to the project – team building, strategy, planning, and on-job learning while always keeping objectives 100% in mind.

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I'm accustomed to working with international teams, providing me with a broad vision on international projects encompassing time, scope and design.I've also lived abroad, specifically in Brussels for a period of my life, so I'm accustomed to working with international teams, providing me with a broad vision on international projects encompassing time, scope and design.

W. How was the idea for Womenalia.com born?
M.G.P. One would expect me to have continued on the professional road that I was on – financial security, a promising future – but one day my son invited me to attend a conference with him titled "The Truth Is All That Matters" given by Fernando Parrado, one of the survivors of the famous Andes airplane crash in '72 that inspired the movie Alive. Hearing his story impacted me greatly and made me stop and reflect on my own life and what I was doing, if I was really happy with my life. From that realization, and with the help of my sister, Elena, Womanalia.com was born.

So what exactly is Womealina.com?
It is an online platform designed specifically for those women who have professional goals for themselves.
- By helping them to create new businesses (since only 20% of businesses worldwide are women-owned).
- By increasing the number of women in executive roles in companies (currently 15% of executive roles are held by women worldwide).
- And by encouraging true flexibility in the workplace that allows for reasonable childcare or care of other dependent family members.

What is the motivation behind the idea?
I firmly believe in the transformational power of female talent but there is still much to be changed and achieved before women are equally included in the economic and business arenas of our society. A power that is made even more urgent as many countries and companies struggle through these complicated economic times. This belief is what has driven me to launch Womenalia.com; that and the realization that it's the professional project I've been searching for my whole life.

Why a network just for women?
According to the World Bank, women are a transformational movement that our society desperately needs as companies and countries would gain an 18% in productivity by merely increasing the numbers of women in their executive ranks and in positions of power. However, it continues to be necessary for us all to provide support to women so that they do indeed reach those roles as our society is not as efficient in doing so on its own. At Womenalia we're bringing together into one platform the tools, resources and opportunities necessary to see that this specific group of individuals receives the support and encouragement it needs to succeed in achieving professional success. There are no other social networks or online platforms that, today, bring together all the components that make up Womenalia.

How does Womenalia's mission apply to Womenalia as a company?
With a team of almost 30 people and numerous other collaborators, contributors and of course partners and investors we bring together a team of some of the most outstanding female talent – and male talent too. I'm the kind of person who likes to surround herself with brilliant people, people that are, creative and innovative, dynamic and flexible, results-drive, empathic, with a clear sense of "other" in both the client and their teams. I've had my share of professional failures, and while they were hard times in all senses of the phrase, those experiences have taught me much more that my successes.

What can Womenalia users find on the site to help them in their goals?
First of all, a potent network of executives, business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. It is through the collaborations and connections that arise on the platform that new businesses are born, projects launched, job opportunities found and talent developed. We also have a specialized content portal, focused on the needs of professional women, whether she be an entrepreneur or work at a company. We also have links to resources and information that will help professionals in their day-to-day tasks and development.

What other services and tools can users find on Womenalia.com?
We have developed several tools previously in Spain to great success and we are working on adapting and developing them as well as others for the US market. Some of these include:

- Our International Expert Council, a network of experts from all over the world in various sectors and functions that our users can contact for advice about their businesses or careers, with their doubts, for feedback on a project, or any other questions that arise through a truly low-cost platform.

- Womenalia is about leveraging the power of online reach and taking it into the offline sphere as real things happen when we make that bridge. We've had great success in our offline events such as Inspiration Day, with over 1,400 participants and talks from top-level executives and entrepreneurs; Start-Up Day aimed at helping entrepreneurs connect with talent, increase their visibility, make connections and find the financing they need; and our networking events that help solidify the relationships and contacts made through our online platform materializing as exciting new opportunities for our users. We look forward to continuing to help our users make these meaningful connections.

- Our job board with opportunities from leading companies and recruiters looking to hire the best female talent.

We're working on various different products and services to add to our offerings in the U.S. and will be continuously listening to our users, what they need and what they like.

What do I need to do become a "Womenalia" and access these services and tools?
It's as simple as visiting www.womenalia.com and registering for free – it takes only 30 seconds. From that point on the user has full access to the social network, content, event details, and the various tools we'll be rolling out in the coming months such as Jobs, Experts and more. I invite you to join our community and get started with the next phase of your professional life. Today is just the beginning of something greater than any one of us alone. We hope to see you soon!

Anything else you'd like to share with your fellow Womenalias?
That nothing is impossible. However, sometimes the road to achieving one's professional goals is a long and hard one. You have to be prepared to make sacrifices and prioritize in all aspects of your life. I'm a mother of three kids, and I have a wonderful husband that has accompanied me on every step of this journey, as well as friends and family that continue to support me and help me become a better person every day. And of course, everyone needs an outlet – I'm a professed paddle tennis victim!

Welcome to Womenalia!

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