The two tribes every working woman needs

Dec 17, 2020

Katie Castillo-Wilson

Katie Castillo-Wilson

TapOnIt Founder + CEO

Women Talking

No matter who you are, most of us need to surround ourselves with our tribe of people. You know the ones: colleagues, loved ones, old friends. The people who really, truly “get” us. The people who build you up, challenge you, let you cry, then support you moving forward. 

I would argue that all women need a tribe. I would also argue that, especially for female business leaders, a solid personal and professional tribe is needed. Lastly, I would argue that for most of my life I took my female friendships for granted (although I may not have known it at the time). Now though, I hold on to them so tightly. 

Not only are my friendships amongst the most meaningful relationships in my life, but they are integral to my emotional and physical wellbeing. These women will also help me live longer, according to a study published on WebMD. But keeping a tight circle of women means more to me than good health scores, it means there’s always someone who will lend an ear, celebrate victories, mourn losses, and/or have a glass of wine alongside. 

A friendship tribe looks a little different for everyone. Here are the essential characters and personalities I’m fortunate enough to call tribe members. Each of these two teams leave a positive impact in my life—in the most remarkable of ways. 

The Professional Tribe

The difference between your personal and professional tribe comes down to how the relationship came to be. Usually you’re put together with someone and have to find a way to work together. You learn to work together and grow together, which grows your trust. Essentially, your professional tribe can span across your entire career, as you move from job to job, and blend into your personal life. When you think about it, you sometimes end up spending more time with colleagues than you do your own family.

I’ve written before about Keely, TapOnIt’s CFO. Keely hired me into the media industry years ago, and she was always more than a mentor to me. She was an advocate for me. She helped me work my way up and made sure my voice was heard in the boardroom. She encouraged me to take steps and set higher goals. When Keely left to move on to a different opportunity, we still checked in. We made time to run ideas and goals past each other. We could (and still can) ask each other if we’re making the right decision or the right move, and trusted that the other could give an honest opinion. 

My sister Sara is not only family, but as cofounder of TapOnIt, she plays a role in my business. And she 100 percent calls me on my shit. And the more you build your relationships with your professional tribe, the more people you have encouraging you and helping you to be your best self. And in business, you always want to bring the best version of yourself to the table. 

The Personal Tribe

Your personal tribe—these are the people you’re lucky to have in your life. A lot of times, these are relationships that started when you were young. For me, these are women that I’ve spent years and years alongside. We’ve seen each other at our best and at our worst—and have supported and grown with each other through each season of our lives. These are people that I may not talk to all the time, yet when you have the opportunity to get on the phone, or see each other—or talk on Zoom nowadays—you all pick things up right where you left off. Nothing has skipped a beat.

As you get older it gets hard to add new friendships into your personal tribe. So, when you do form a friendship late in life—it’s very special. 

In business, we should all be building other women up. We should be encouraging and cheerleading. But every once in a while you’ll feel an iciness when you shake someone’s hand or you walk into a room. In those cases, find the people in the room who welcome you and want to see you succeed. If you don’t, your career can become a lonely journey. However, regardless of reasons for meeting the women in your tribe—whether personal or professional—these relationships are worth finding and keeping. So hold on tight!