IN Awards : Professional Network of the Year

IN Awards : Professional Network of the Year

Photo : Award presented by Naheed Afzal (left), Managing Director of awards sponsor Contracts IT

Our finalists are all creating, delivering or promoting events and other initiatives that support networking and the development of those engaged with them. They create a space where their member’s feel they can bring their full selves to events, where positive working relationships and friendships grow and prosper.

WINNER : Citymothers and Cityfathers

Citymothers was founded in 2012 with the aim of providing a friendly, inclusive forum for working mothers in City professions to meet up and access support at what is often a testing time in their working and home lives. In April 2014, Cityfathers was launched to meet similar demand from working fathers. Support is provided via a range of networking events, a cross-industry mentoring scheme, online discussion groups, empathetic and witty weekly blogs and social media updates. The networking events are held in the City of London and Canary Wharf at family-friendly times. Membership has grown rapidly and they now have over 6,500 members and their diverse events reach capacity in only a few hours.
Follow the network on Twitter @Citymothers

I AM Networking

I Am Networking events have developed a reputation as the best place to meet like-minded, intelligent and interesting people who all have a shared passion for charities and social business. They meet on the last Wednesday of every month to share ideas, laughter and a glass of wine! They also run themed events, including regular meet ups for charities and potential new trustees, confidence boosting learn to network sessions, fundraising tactic talks, and many more. One nominee said, “Really wonderful organisation, great opportunities to network, inclusive and not cliché. Wonderful, inspiring speakers and often free!”
Follow the network on Twitter @theiamgroup

Lady Val’s Professional Women’s Network

The network celebrates their 10th Anniversary on the day of the 2015 Inclusive Networks Awards. The network doesn’t like the concept of ‘ladies who lunch’ so through connecting top women they have always supported a charity whilst having fun and networking. The network is proud to have raised over £60,000 for charities since it was founded. One nominee said, “It brings together a group of professional working women with no limitations. This allows a great variety of working women to drop in. There are always really good speakers, a huge group of impressive women, and the Chair induces just the right informal business atmosphere, stimulating and all to be kind, friendly, helpful and also keep a commercial mindset.”
Find out more about the network at

Muslim Counsellor and Psychotherapist Network

The network was founded in 2013 and currently has around 370 international members, made up of Muslim counsellors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. The network has multiple purposes. It promotes Muslim counsellors and counselling services to Muslim communities (to both professionals and clients) and it breaks down barriers for Muslim communities/clients to access mental health services and support. One of the aims of the network is to have a mentoring scheme, to match trainees and newly qualified professionals with an experienced counsellor/therapist/psychologist, to get support, help and advice as they start out in their career and/or during training.
Follow the network on Twitter @MCAPN_CO_UK


Founded in 2011, the network connects across organisations with individuals who come from a diverse range of backgrounds, yet are all interested in building their careers and knowledge of business topics. The organisations involved with them benefit by being able to share best practice and drive new revenue streams. In particular, they have strong connections to LGBT and D&I leadership communities. They hold a variety of different events throughout the year. One of their recent events was So you want to be a globetrotter?, a panel discussion that examined how different organisations have open and challenging conversations about the opportunities for their people to work globally.
Follow the network on Twitter @RadiusBusiness


WeAreTheCity was started as a hobby back in 2008 and was built out of frustration the founders experienced. They believed that there was a myriad of development opportunities for women, however these were scattered across multiple websites and often difficult to find. In 2014, they became a commercial venture due to their growth and the interest they were receiving. They’ve grown organically from 10 members in 2008 to 27,000 in less than 7 years. They promote over 250 women’s networks and 60 charities and are the only aggregator of everything that is female in the UK, combining opportunities for both corporate women and entrepreneurs. In terms of market share, they are the dominant leader as there is no one that does quite what they do. Their website receives 4,000,000 + hits per month.
Follow the network on Twitter @WATC_Updates

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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