AFTER a series of traumas, including caring for her dying mum, a scary diagnosis of her own and then a car crash, life coach Dr Kim Vella says she knew she needed a new direction, one of connection and meaning.
She started the Network of Possibility in November to bring together women who want to give back.
The Network hosts quarterly cocktail events with guest speakers, ask-me-anything sessions – and no sales pitches.
“I left my work in the public service to care for my mum, and after 16 weeks when she passed away, I thought: ‘How can I find a job that would have the same importance and meaning as caring for her’,” she says.
“I was later diagnosed with an unruptured brain aneurysm and I was lying in the hospital thinking: ‘I could actually die and my big claim to fame was that I worked anonymously in the public service’.”
Kim says she went on to become a life coach and that while she appreciates the freedom of being her own boss, she was missing being a part of a network.
“The public service is all of 200,000 people strong, a brilliant network, as well as the external stakeholders who are in abundance, so when I left I thought, I really need my own tribe,” she says.
“While I cherish working out of the office environment and being able to work wherever I want, that feeling of connection to a group of people was missing. People who have a similar purpose and passion in life to me.”
Kim says the networks she found were focused on “this is what I can sell you”, and she wasn’t a fan.
“I hated it, and I thought it was short-sighted as well because, if anything, we should be helping each other grow, as business people and as a community,” she says.
“It took a good eight months for the idea of the Network of Possibility to grow in my mind and one night I got the idea as I was going to bed.
“I have this big thing about sleep and how important it is, and I knew that staying up all night working wasn’t the thing to be doing. But I also knew I had to!”
Kim says she now has gathered together a group of women she finds inspiring and who she’s drawn to.
“We have all ages involved, from high school students to retirees, and that’s been my goal, to bring together as much diversity as we can,” Kim says.
“I’m fascinated by women whose story speaks to closing the gap between finding personal success, but still not having that meaning and purpose in your work or life.
“The element of meaning is underestimated, and I knew that for myself a while ago.”
Kim says she has also teamed up with the local Global Shapers’ hub, a group with a focus on improving communities, to introduce people to new ideas and ways of working.
“The Network of Possibility is almost an anti network, as it doesn’t follow the traditional networking model where you talk for 30 seconds about yourself and your business,” Kim says.
“It’s about coming together because you’ve got your purpose and passion, but you’re seeking meaning. Any business opportunities that flow from it are incidental.
“People have come up to me afterwards and said they’ve realised they need to think about what they’re doing in their job, because they don’t have that alignment – the heart, soul and mind alignment,” says Kim.
“I’m interested in bringing together people who have that or are seeking that.”
The Network of Possibility’s next event is about fashion and creative arts. More information at kimvella.com.au