Two small words — Hub. Dot. Separately they don’t mean much, but put together they’re electric. Hub Dot is the latest British invasion to make it across the pond. Chances are, if you have a friend or relative in Europe they already know about this women’s networking organization.
Hub Dot launched in the United States the fall of 2014. Houston and Portland were the first cities to host events. Born from the mind of Londoner Simona Barbieri, a native of Italy, Hub Dot was created to provide an environment where women could meet and make meaningful connections. Over 200 women attended the first Hub Dot DC meeting, hosted by Anthropologie at the Reston Town Center in Reston, Virginia.
Upon arrival the attendees, or “Dotties,” as they’re affectionately termed, are greeted by a group of smiling faces and tempted with shopping as they’re tasked with grouping themselves by the dot they feel most closely identifies them. It’s all about the dots, ladies! Each colored dot sticker represents the purpose of an individual’s attendance.
THE MEANING OF DOTS:
RED: I am established (in my career/ business/motherhood).
YELLOW: I have an idea, can anyone help?
GREEN (the most frequently chosen dot): I’m here to be inspired.
BLUE: I’m here to socialize and shop.
PURPLE: I want to tell you about my story, my work, my charity.
Simona, along with Hub Dot’s COO Aurelia Hull, hosted a pre-event luncheon for the DC team to get better acquainted with the Hub Dot approach. Simona spoke about how she came up with the dot concept at her kitchen table, referring to it as “dot alchemy.” In this low-pressure, ultra-friendly environment, women who may otherwise pass each other on the street now chat together, and thus connections are made. Some of these connections are life changing. The global relevancy of the Hub Dot movement is evident during lunch when Simona exclaimed, “Luxembourg’s event has begun!”
Each event features speakers, but these are not the “stand at a lectern and present your PowerPoint slides” type of speakers. These are real women sharing their stories in just one-minute timeframes. Our event had ten speakers, myself included. Speakers told of struggles with alcoholism, disease and its effects on a family, and about numerous charities that have been started. Getting to hear all of the different stories and learning about our similarities felt like it was connecting us all.
One of my favorite parts of the night was meeting women who have attended other Hub Dot events around the world. Two women, one from Barcelona and another from England (both speakers), were there to help us launch and each shared her story. Another woman attended an event in Europe and has since moved to Miami, so she attended our event in an effort to learn more about launching a Hub Dot Miami.
Winding my way through the gathering of women, I ran into a girlfriend expressing how much she was enjoying the night. She made the distinction that she considers herself an introvert, but that even she was opening up and having fun. The feeling that all are welcome permeated the evening.
As the night drew to a close, the local team leader, or “Ville Leader,” Kristen Staples wrapped up the evening. Shoppers shopped, hashtags were live-tweeted, Dotties mingled and connected. I trust that many special connections have begun as a result of real women stripping off their labels and sticking on their dots.