Five years ago, the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce recognized the need for an effective way to support women in the community. They identified key areas to provide opportunities for women to gather socially, grow, network and serve the community. Women in Noblesville (WIN) was formed for women business owners and they now have the support, resources and opportunities to meet monthly, quarterly and annually. The concept has indeed proven to be a win for women in Noblesville.
“WIN is an extension of the Chamber – it’s an initiative put on by the Chamber,” says Kathy Young, vice president of commercial banking for First Merchants Bank.
Young and Neilia Brown, president and CEO of Van Dyck Brown & Associates, serve as co-chairs of a monthly event known as “Coffee and Connect.”
“All of our events are open to any women in the community,” Young says. “We hope that through the connections that they make and the events that they attend, that it will spur them to want to be part of the Chamber. As an initiative of the Chamber, we plan our own events and we try to consider what women in the community and in business need.”
“Coffee and Connect” is informal networking event for women in business. There is no charge to attend the monthly events, and the meetings provide opportunities for women to do more than just trade business cards. These events foster business and personal relationships that often lead to business. While joining the Chamber of Commerce is not a requirement for attending any of the WIN events, programs or workshops, the goal is to encourage women to learn more about the benefits of membership.
“I attend the ‘Coffee and Connect’ regularly because the women that come together could very well be driving next to each other on the road and might not ever connect otherwise,” says Sherrell Bundy Smith, a WIN member and small business owner. “But here we are connecting in a meaningful way and helping each other out. Magic happens here.”
For women interested in opportunities to grow personally and professionally, there is also an annual day-long event normally held in the spring.
“WIN brings in a keynote speaker, and breakout sessions, time for networking, a marketplace for business owners to showcase what they do, and panel discussions are some of the elements of this event,” Young says.
“Wine & Wisdom” is another annual event offered by WIN. This year’s event will be held on October 5 at Spencer Farm Winery.
“This is an opportunity to enjoy the company of other businesswomen with a glass of wine, where we have guest speakers or a panel discuss topics that tend to be a bit more personal than just business,” Brown says. “The women will get into smaller groups to have more intimate conversations.”
Young adds that WIN leaders plan to get involved in philanthropic projects in the future.
“The group has also offered luncheons, after-hour business building events and panel discussions, and these are conducted at women-owned businesses in Noblesville,” Young says.
For information on Women In Noblesville events and programs, and to register for the “Wine & Wisdom” event, visit noblesvillechamber.com.
Writer / Lynda Hedberg Thies