Ever wonder where the cool girls go for career inspiration? Try The WW Club.
Founded by London-born journalist Phoebe Lovatt, The WW (or Working Women’s) Club is a modern spin-off of the old Working Men’s Clubs in the U.K., which served as hubs for connection, creation, and education.
“Women have a critical need for spaces and events that provide inspiration,” says Lovatt, who created The WW Club as an answer to the isolation she felt as a freelancer in Los Angeles’ sprawling professional landscape. She launched the first pop-up in downtown LA early last year; since then the concept has expanded to include coworking spaces and networking events in New York City, London, Paris, and Taipei.
“The media sometimes builds women up to be competitive, but I find most women are empathetic, supportive, and helpful”
Through her work as a journalist and moderator for The WW Club events, Lovatt has interviewed countless female change-makers on what it means to be a successful career-minded woman today. (Her first book, The Handbook for Women Who Do Creative Work, is a must-read on the topic.)
“The media sometimes builds women up to be competitive, but I find most women are empathetic, supportive, and helpful,” Lovatt says. Clearly, she’s not alone in that thinking.
In the spirit of support, The WW Club’s Phoebe Lovatt shares five things to keep in mind for your own career, at any phase.
1. Be your own proof of concept
“Don’t wait for someone to give you the permission to do what you want to do,” advises Lovatt, who had no business plan or formal experience running a team when she launched The WW Club. “I just created a platform to do it myself. People spend a lot of time building ideas in their heads and don’t know the reality of the career path. Instead, just try it on any level you can and feel it out from there.”
2. If you don’t practice self-care, you’re damaging your business
“There’s immense pressure for women to go-go-go, but treating your well-being as something that’s as important as any other aspect of your business is necessary,” says Lovatt, who recently moderated a panel for Nike Women on the topic. “Hopefully we’re moving away from the alpha definition of success that’s all about salaries and the career ladder, and toward something that’s more about how you feel internally. I think you need to prioritize your own well-being and accept that nothing will get done unless you look after yourself.” Her personal key to maintaining balance? “If I’m feeling run-down or stressed, I have a list of things I do to bring back balance, like getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, and eating well. I schedule those things in like everything else.”
3. Celebrate your successes regularly
“Women have a tendency to be hard on themselves, [but] I think it’s important to constantly review what you’ve accomplished as well as what you’re going to do next,” she says. “I’m still a team of one and at the beginning of a journey, so everything is a challenge. I’m trying to embrace those challenges, even though it’s stressful.” And whatever you do, embrace the uncertainty; as Lovatt puts it, “Enjoy the start of the journey because you’ll look back and realize it’s the most thrilling part, even if it’s not the most lucrative.”
4. Create a support network and talk things through
“When you’re stressed, you need someone to listen,” says Lovatt. Think of them as your career ICE. “I call my mom a lot when things get hard. My mom is so patient; she’s endlessly supportive and always listens.” And if you need something more codified? Connect with a group that’s all about airing things out. “That’s why I make things conversation-based in The WW Club: I think women benefit from talking things through. A lot of times, you realize that there wasn’t that much of a problem in the first place, or the solution becomes clear.”
5. Make lists—and refer to them often
“One thing that always comes up in my talks are lists. So many lists! I use them to make sure I’m on top of everything and remind myself of what I have to do,” she explains. “It’s like what I said about reviewing your successes—sometimes you feel like you haven’t done enough, but going back and looking at what you’ve checked off reminds you of what you’ve accomplished.”