Westfield women seem to have the WOW factor. WOW is the acronym for Women of Westfield, a group of women that meets monthly to connect, serve and give back locally.
The concept for the group started with Danielle Carey Tolan and a group of women from the Chamber of Commerce. Carey Tolan had been contemplating what to do with notebooks full of ideas about how to connect women in Westfield.
“We need something for women to get together because we don’t come together enough, support each other and pick each other up,” she says.
A simple decision to share her vision with friend and colleague Laura Crum became an important next step.
Shortly after hearing about Carey Tolan’s ideas, Crum attended a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce with a group of women as they discussed creating a women’s group. Crum immediately contacted Carey Tolan and connected her with the women from the Chamber, which resulted in the formation of WOW, and the organization was launched in April of 2019.
The founding members then formed the WOW council, which consists of Carey Tolan as the group’s president as well as Crum, Cayla Bittles, Janelle Campbell, Karen Keinsley, Jill Doyle and Gina Terril. These ladies are responsible for organizing and planning events, programming and promoting the group.
Early on, Carey Tolan recognized the need to offer a variety of opportunities for local women.
“Every woman needs something different whether it is socialization, whether it is wanting to give a little bit more, whether they want to positively impact the community, or whether they want to positively impact themselves,” she says. “The focus is to fill the needs of women in the community with fun, exciting and fulfilling activities. The group hosts opportunities for women to connect outside of their work and family life each month, whether it is a morning gathering at a coffee or doughnut shop, whether it is a happy hour, or members want to jump in and help support a nonprofit.”
Michelle Merritt, a new resident of Westfield and WOW member, says she appreciates the group.
“WOW emulates the best of Westfield,” she says. “When we moved to Westfield in 2019, I experienced the genuine ‘Westfield Welcome’ in the ladies of WOW. Everyone has been so kind and there are so many opportunities to get involved. From the WOW Book Club to meet-ups and volunteer activities, WOW has helped me connect with my community and meet outstanding women.”
WOW’s annual event will return on November 17 as a virtual event. The keynote speaker will be Kristen Boice, a therapist from Noblesville who will discuss finding peace in our everyday lives, complementing the “Be Zen” theme of the event. Information on ticket sales will be posted on the WOW Facebook page. An early-bird ticket price of $25 before November 1 is being offered, and after that date the price will be $35.
During the group’s launch month it had 81 members, and in its second month that number grew to 342. The group held its first annual event in November of 2019 with 215 women in attendance, just seven months after its launch, and membership had grown to 950 members. Since that time, membership has grown to more than 1,500 and is still picking up momentum.
WOW is impacting Westfield positively and there are only two membership rules – members must live or work in Westfield, and must be kind and respectful, and engage positively with the group. Visit Women of Westfield on Facebook for more information.
Writer / Lynda Hedberg Thies