By Lise Elcock
The Women in Networking Committee was formed early on in the chamber’s existence and has evolved into one of the most robust programming and event arms currently serving our membership.
What used to be a routine gathering of women around the same function room table to listen to a keynote speaker has grown into a lively networking luncheon series at varying local restaurants, social events involving an educational or informative twist, and two-way conversations with female civic and business leaders.
“I never want to miss WIN events,” says Pam Fisher, Executive Vice President of Construction Coordinators, longtime chamber member and the current chair of the committee. “Our Women in Networking Committee (WIN) has been getting more active every year and always draws a roomful of professional, focused and energetic women.”
The most popular of the WIN programs is undoubtedly the monthly luncheon series. A win-win for both our members and our local restaurants, the lunch moves around to member restaurants who are thrilled to showcase their menus to upwards of 40 business professionals who often return as repeat customers.
The lunches are open to chamber members only and often sell out well in advance. Members learn quickly to reserve their spot as soon as the next month’s lunch is announced.
“The monthly lunches are an awesome way to network in an informal and fun manner, and I have met so many women through the years who have enhanced both my business and personal life” enthuses Susan Paley, Vice President / Community Relations for The Village Bank, which underwrites the Women in Networking Committee’s efforts through its annual chamber sponsorship. “It also gives us all the opportunity to taste test the best of local restaurants - what could be better?”
Past events presented by the Women in Networking Committee have included a celebration of the women’s suffrage 100th anniversary; workshops on building social capital via LinkedIn and workday stress reduction through mindfulness; and events more social in nature like networking bingo and a golf clinic.
In addition, the annual Women in Government breakfast was launched last year with Newton’s Ruthanne Fuller taking questions about her inaugural year as the city’s first female mayor. It returned Nov. 20 with a conversation with State Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem.
Fisher and Paley both credit the committee’s events and programming as a good entrée for new members to become engaged in the chamber. “The WIN committee provides a “gateway” of sorts, to the chamber at large,” says Fisher.
Paley is quick to agree. “The series has evolved into a wonderful blend of learning, teaching, and networking opportunities, and that variety exposes chamber members to different and beneficial experiences.”
The committee is currently exploring speakers, panels and enrichment topics for 2020. The committee is also looking at collaborating with other associations and organizations that produce programming and events targeted to women in business with the hope of creating the opportunity to network with like-minded peers outside the chamber.
To ensure that you and your employees receive notifications about all upcoming Women in Networking events, check that your email preferences are up-to-date on the link included at the bottom of almost all chamber email blasts or sign up on our homepage.