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Published Tue, Nov 06, 2012 08:00 PM
Modified Tue, Nov 06, 2012 12:49 AM

Clayton business women find new way to network

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- Correspondent

CLAYTON -- There’s a new group in town – and it’s just for women only.

Clayton Women in Networking (WIN) was established last April to encourage networking and growth opportunities for the area’s female business leaders. It was founded by women members of the town’s Chamber of Commerce who noticed a void in social and enrichment options available to them.

“Every other chamber I had been a part of always had something for women only,” explained WIN chairperson Sarah Martin. “We wanted to create something that enables women in business to have opportunities for networking, share ideas on business and help others be successful.”

Martin, branch manager of Crescent State Bank, says today’s working woman juggles many roles. WIN provides a unique support system that cannot be found in traditional networking groups and takes a holistic approach to maintain balance in women’s lives.

“Women have different ways of doing business then men,” Martin said. “We have different challenges in the business world. A lot of us are working moms. We are helping the working female be the best they can be as individuals as well as in their personal and business lives.”

The group’s mission statement is “Clayton Professional Women Working Together to Empower One Another Through Leadership and Commitment to the Community”. Martin said their intention is to work toward ways to promote charitable endeavors, cultural improvements and civic pride among the business women of the Town of Clayton and surrounding areas. Future plans include creating scholarships for women to go back to school to acquire skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

Currently, the group boasts membership of 25 women who have key leadership roles in the business community. Member Vickie Adams, a local sales director for Mary Kay cosmetics, noted men in the usually have greater opportunities to network in social settings and women need those skills, too.

“Women are really busy and serve so many roles in life,” she said. “We don’t always have the time to network. Women love helping other women succeed and this group is very passionate about their community and social issues. I’m excited to know we’ll do great things for Clayton.”

In addition to networking opportunities, membership in Clayton WIN includes referral preferences to member businesses and internet exposure on the group’s website and Facebook page. Monthly luncheon meetings feature guest speakers and informative discussions on ways to enhance marketing efforts.

“I joined because I was impressed with the caliber of women who expressed interest creating the group,” said Jennifer Lawrence, owner of Medlin Office Supply. “I knew that if that quality of women were excited about it, then I wanted to take a look into it as well.”

Lawrence enjoys the group’s diversity and says it’s a good way for women to support each other while promoting local businesses run by female management.

“I can’t wait to see what direction this group will take and how they will benefit the community,” Lawrence said.

Cost to join WIN is $50 per year and members must also be affiliated with the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. Their next social meeting will be a luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 12 p.m. at the Clayton Law Enforcement Center. There will be two business spotlights, door prizes, and more. For an invitation to attend the networking event, or for more information about joining Clayton WIN, contact claytonwomeninnetworking@gmail.com.

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