Over the years it has been misunderstood and seen as an exclusive group, open to only women who owned or conducted business in Sandpoint. But nothing could have been further from the truth. Nonetheless, the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce’s Women In Business group experienced a decline in attendance at its monthly luncheons over the past few years, bringing its very existence into question. But the women who were passionate about women connecting with women would not let the group die. It was simply time for a change. It was with great determination that the Women In Business group decided to rebrand themselves.
“It was important to us that whatever name we chose, we eliminated the implication that you had to be in business to participate,” said the group’s president, Judy Baird.
The committee gave the rebranding much thought, surveying the Chamber members to uncover what they sought from involvement in the group. The answers had a common theme – connecting with other women in the community. “We are dedicated to providing an outlet for the sharing of ideas, education, support and a means to connect with other women,” said Baird. Those who attend the monthly luncheons look forward to not only the camaraderie but also learning more about their community through guest speakers.
In brainstorming for a new name, the committee members knew one thing – they wanted to celebrate and connect. The name Chamber Chick Connection was at last decided upon and announced at the April 2014 luncheon. While it has received criticism from some, overall has been embraced.
“It was the rebranding of this organization to the Chamber Chick Connectionthat made me want to get involved,” shared committee member Patricia Geesaman. “Once I heard the mission was all about connection, collaboration and celebration, I was hooked.”
The good news is that the number of people getting involved has increased. From the luncheons to casual after hours gatherings to the annual conference, more women are not only networking with one another but forming new friendships as well. “The monthly luncheons never fail to deliver an engaging speaker, opportunity to meet new people and an environment to simply enjoy the company of some great women in our community,” said Gessaman.
The annual Empowering Women in Business Conference, held each November, is a highlight for many. It includes featured speakers who inspire attendees both professionally and personally and bring tears, laughter and cheers from those in attendance.
But there is more to the annual conference than just speakers, the committee has incorporated fashion shows, Zumba lessons and opportunities for self-promotion through vendor booths or the donation of a raffle item.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a retiree, a “professional volunteer” or a woman in the workforce, the Chamber Chick Connection would love to see you at one of their events!
For more information, log onto www.sandpointchamber.org/programs-services/women-inbusiness.