Women In Noblesville Champions Local Women in Business

Writer / Amy Adams
Photography Provided

In 2014, Kathy Young and Neilia Brown got together with others to talk about ways to support local businesswomen. Out of that first meeting, Women In Noblesville (WIN) was born as an initiative of the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce.

“Our focus is on educating and connecting women of Noblesville,” says Young, vice-president of commercial banking at First Merchants Bank.

Over the past 10 years, WIN has held Lunch and Learn gatherings, Wine and Wisdom evenings, full-day conferences, book clubs and more.

“Women ask me, ‘How can I become a member?’” Young says. “We don’t really have membership.”

They do have a committee which Young co-chairs with Brown, owner of The Business Builders. Current committee members include Abbi Cassady, Deirdre Fisher, Tammy Murray and Amanda Rubeck. The committee will be holding a planning retreat in November and beginning to recruit.

“We’re looking for young professionals who are wanting to build connections,” Young says.

Currently, WIN hosts Coffee and Connect on the second Wednesday of every month from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Sagamore Golf Club. The come-and-go event is free for members of the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce and $10 for nonmembers.

“We are always looking to attract a diverse community,” Brown says.

On most Wednesday mornings, about a third of the attendees are new, and committee members make an effort to find new people and introduce them around. “You don’t feel like a stranger,” Brown says.

WIN committee members are also intentional about promoting local women in business. Recent visits include new businesses like ISI Elite Training, Camino & Company, and Camp Bow Wow.

Last year, WIN established the Woman of Impact Award and Leadership Luncheon. Open to nominations of women who live or work in Noblesville, the award is given to someone who is making an impact in the community through stewardship, service, leadership and compassion.

Anita Hagen, president of Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank, received the inaugural award. This year, WIN honored Julia Kozicki, partner with Church Church Hittle & Antrim, at a sold-out event at Mustard Seed Gardens, complete with bubbly, alcohol-free “WINmosas.”

Without membership numbers, some might wonder how WIN measures impact.

“It’s not just about the number of people in the seats,” Young says.

There have been women who have met through WIN and gone into business together. At least one woman was inspired by the group to start a business she had been imagining. Another woman reported that she had come to an event expecting to network, but felt like she had made new friends. “That’s the best, when someone comes out of one of our events and has learned something and made connections,” Brown says.

This month’s Coffee and Connect on October 11 will highlight National Women’s Small Business Month. Area women can register at noblesvillechamber.com/events. Follow the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce on Facebook and LinkedIn for details about a spring event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of WIN.

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