Chamber reaches out to women business leaders

Business women of Union County now have there own forum for networking, bonding and support thanks to the Union County Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s basically a networking and professional development program,” said Theresa Byers, director of events and programs for the chamber. “The purpose is to provide an environment for women in business to cultivate relationships.”

The program consists of a quarterly speaker discussion, along with a mentoring program and after-hours social events.

“Speakers will typically be high-powered executives and CEOs, mostly female,” Byers said. “They’ll speak on a variety of topics, including work/life balance, staying healthy and climbing the corporate ladder.”

Plans for next year are already in the works, Byers said.

“We’d love to do a fashion show that teaches about branding yourself in the office and then taking that look out in the evening to events,” Byers said. “This is just an opportunity for women members of the chamber to build relationships and then build their business.”

Byers said the program will focus on teaching women in business valuable skills and lessons that will help them be successful.

“Things like time management, generational differences and gender differences are a huge topic that they will be able to take away some knowledge from,” she said. “It’s really just everything that a woman in business pretty much needs to know to help them be recognized for who they are and what they do.”

Byers said she has seen women forge bonds in similar programs that last a lifetime.

“I think the friendships are the biggest thing,” she said. “I really think that when women come together and work together, they accomplish more as a team. The biggest thing is the relationships they get out of it. They remain lifelong friends and mentors for each other.”

Events will be held at the Rolling Hills Country Club, beginning in January, Byers said. Beyond the quarterly speaker program, four committees – networking, social, mentoring and programming – work together to plan after-hours social events and a mentoring program where women in the program mentor others and share experiences.

“We’re putting together a true, solid mentoring program that’s going to reach out not just to women in business, but to women maybe in school looking to network with new people in the community,” Byers said. “We’ll be using some of the members that come into this program as mentors. The social events will help build stronger relationships and help them bond.”

There have been a few events so far this year, and Byers said attendance ranges from 50 to 100 guests.

“It’s been a really good draw.”

Byers said anyone looking to register for the program or to learn more about it can visit the chamber website, where there is a dedicated page for the program, www.unioncountycoc.com/womeninbusiness, or people can contact Byers directly at Theresa@unioncountycoc.com.

“Any woman who is a member of the chamber can be a part of the program,” Byers said. “Our events so far have been fantastic and the response has been really great.”

Over the next few weeks, Union County Weekly will feature women-owned small businesses. To nominate a business leader in western Union County, email news@union countyweekly.com with the subject line “women-owned small businesses.”

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