Networking as a woman - my experience and questions
I started a throwaway account as I feel that this is quite a sensitive topic.
I've been networking heavily since my final year in university. I'm now almost 2 years into my first job in finance. It's always been easy for me to get the attention of an M.D. from a well-known bank. I was not afraid to cold call, cold email, I would take a 6-hr round trip journey just to meet the guy. I target both female and male. However, I never got to talk a female MD through cold calling.
My problem is, once I got to build a more longer term relationship with an M.D., things happened. I'm starting to question if it's them or my approach is wrong.
Friend introduced me to this MD at a B.B. He was all friendly and stuff. Very passionate about mentoring. Even looked at my cv at great deets. I thought I hit the jackpot. Then he started to ring me during the weekend. Asked to skype. One day when I was with him in his office, he kissed me and talked about my bra (he said if cleavages help). I couldn't believe what he was telling me. I ran and blocked his number.
I met this Ex-MD of a B.B. and now PE in a coffee shop round his office. He invited me to sit down for a coffee and we chatted about our travelling experience. I thought why not, you can meet your next best mentor anywhere right? Then he started to invite me out on dinner and drinks. Said he's married but he's in a open relationship.
This one is the most upset one cos he was a great mentor to me and I valued our friendship a lot. We would probably catch up only two or three times max every year but we keep in touch through email or texts. He was always very respectful and gave me not only good career but personal life advice. Until one day we went for lunch, caught up and he held my hand .. I haven't seen him since.
I'm not sure if this is a common problem for women in finance who are passionate about networking. Or if there were things that I did which gave them the wrong impression to do those things. I find it very hard to build long lasting professional and friendly relationship with guys in the industry (and god knows how many more of them there are than women), especially when I don't work with them in the first place.
What has been your experience and what is your advice?