I am honored to have interviewed the founder of Six Degrees Society, Emily Merrell. Six Degrees Society is in my opinion the best female focussed networking group in NYC. And for those living or traveling in CHI, LA, NOLA, SF, BOS, ATL, DC, and MIA, I encourage you to attend a Six Degrees Society event there! Maybe you are launching a new business, interested in expanding your social circle or just love learning and meeting fabulous people. Six Degrees has events on financial planning, creative strategies on how to grow your business, how to pack for your next vacation and so much more. Read below for my interview with Emily.
What exactly is Six Degrees Society?
Six Degrees Society is a women’s focused networking organization designed to maximize women's time and make connecting easier. At each event we take the guesswork and awkwardness out of traditional networking events by matching you with 2-4 attendees that are handpicked for you based on bios submitted pre-event.
What inspired you to create this organization?
There were 3 key factors in creating Six Degrees Society.
1. The mid-level career “itch” — the feeling of uncertainty if this is it. I had spent six years working in special events and marketing at amazing fashion companies like Tory Burch and Intermix. But I struggled with the next step in life. Would I be a director one day? A CMO? I felt stuck on a specific path and wasn't sure how to learn more and I realized I wasn’t alone in this itch.
2. I noticed that the people who inspired me most were the ones who were already in my life. Yet we weren’t taking the time to learn from one another and ask thoughtful questions. Instead we’re talking about the next Bachelor episode and complaining about our jobs. I thought there had to be a more efficient way for people to learn from one another rather than sharing everyone in the room’s problems--enter curated matches.
3. Having been in the fashion world for so long I found myself becoming an extension of the companies I was working for and forgot who I was as an individual. At networking events people asked me where I worked and interactions felt transactional and forced. I wanted to create a place where people would get to be themselves and be defined by who they are not by where they work/what they do. The results have been extraordinary.
Who comes to your events?
Women from all different industries come to our events. It dawned on me that most networking events are industry specific and there were few places that women could go to meet like-minded women in various industries. There are people fresh in their career to Directors and Founders who all come together. Some of the people find connections in their careers while others find personal commonalities.
How can your organization help people going through personal and career transitions?
Any transition in life can be isolating and daunting. At Six Degrees Society we aim to provide you with the resources both in real life and online to thrive at making that transition an easier one and generally by sharing your story of transition I’ve found that people want to help in some way. We’re that community that wants to help.
What is your favorite event?
We’ve hosted so many different types of events since we’ve started--from panels to workshops to straight matching! My absolute favorite events are when we launch in a new city. I love the energy, the diversity of the room and how people heard of the event and the excitement for Six Degrees to be in their city.
Share a success story
Success is so relative with an event, but for me success has been seeing friendships, business partners, roommates, new jobs, motivation to quit jobs, to follow passions, to see their dreams come to life. To me, I find great happiness knowing that someone has scratched that itch they needed in life and I somehow helped them.