The leap.club founding team — and me!

Written by Helené van Tonder

My journey with leap.club started in November 2020. I initially joined as a (very enthused) member and became a part of the founding team a few months later.

My initial enthusiasm has not waned one bit! If anything, it has deepened.

For the last few years, I’ve actively been searching for a community of professional women. But I was always left disappointed, feeling that either the issue of gender equality was superficially understood, or that business and organisational savvy was lacking.

Not so with leap.club. From the outset, I could sense that they’re playing in a different league. From the crisp articulation of the problem they’re working to solve, to the elegance with which they communicate their value proposition, to the incredible competence, professionalism, and compassion I found when I first met members of the team.

There was no doubt in my mind that it’s something I wanted to be a part of and would pay decent money for. It’s been 9 months since my initial impressions were formed, and there’s no looking back. 😁 I have benefited enormously from this community.

The backstory

I’m from South Africa 🇿🇦 and moved to India in January of 2020 because my (now) husband is Indian and we were looking to put an end to cross-continental dating. Yes, I had a full-blown Telugu wedding. No, I’m not adding pictures here. 😛

Of course, it’s no surprise that finding my feet in a new country and culture in 2020 was… tough. By October last year, after 10 months of living in India, I had hardly met anyone besides my in-laws, had made no friends, and was feeling rather despondent about my career in India.

Then leap.club happened. Now I know amazing women all over India (and some have even become friends, hooray!), I’m part of a pretty cool book club that meets once a month, I run a clubhouse on leap.club and have led and participated in many formative and interesting discussions, AND I get to work with an incredible team!

The first of many clubhouse huddles with fellow members :)

Why leap.club?

My leap.club membership has helped me to build a solid professional network in India in just a few months. It also gives me access to great job opportunities. Why do I also choose leap.club as the team and mission to commit myself to?

I have 3 reasons:

  1. It’s a huge economic opportunity!

Gender equality is an important and multifaceted moral and social issue. But it’s also been shown that it’s a trillion-dollar economic opportunity! We should totally be building startups to capitalise on this opportunity with innovative solutions.

2. We need stopgap solutions, and speed

Early in my career, I landed a great opportunity, but I failed at it. It was a confusing experience, leaving me with a lot of self-doubt. I now believe my struggles were linked to the fact that I was the first woman in the organisation.

Women need other women to succeed. The current progress towards gender parity is way too slow. Too many women will fail — even if we land great opportunities — because we’re often isolated. In the meantime, we need stopgap solutions to speed up the process. I am incredibly excited about the various ways in which leap.club is a space where women help other women succeed.

3. There’s a different voice — how cool!

Two years ago I read In a Different Voice, the phenomenal book by the American feminist / ethicist / psychologist, Carol Gilligan. It made a huge impression on me and made me understand the importance of gender parity in a whole new light.

Humanity as a whole will be soooo much better at solving the problems we face (and better at being human) when women become full participants.

For me, leap.club is an opportunity to contribute to a really important challenge the world faces. What’s more? I get to do it with a fantastic team!😁 (My colleague, Vishwani, wrote a great piece about it.)

Do I want in? Hell yes!

Keen to join?

More women in leadership positions — that’s our mission at leap.club. If you’re keen to join us, check out all our open positions — we’re hiring across roles!

My first IRL meet-up with fellow members

a community-led professional network for women

a community-led professional network for women