To be successful in any business, you have to build your network of contacts. While there are a number of ways to meet potential colleagues, associates and friends, one of the best ways is by joining local organizations that allow members with similar interests or life paths to interact and form connections, not only in the business world but personally as well. Membership to multiple groups allows you to widen your circle of contacts and become more knowledgeable about the community. Here’s a look at four local women’s organizations that can help you forge friendships and expand your business opportunities.
(Knowledgeable Network of Women)
The KNOW began in January 2004 with a vision to create a synergy and format where all businesswomen could grow professionally. The group hosts quarterly luncheons, providing top-notch speakers who discuss current issues of today’s businesswomen. In addition, the KNOW offers members-only events to help build stronger relationships and provides an avenue for referrals and a place for future leaders to find mentors.
According to Theresa Byers, program manager, the group has 210 members, all of whom are businesswomen and members of the Greater Akron Chamber. Byers says any woman who is looking to gain professional knowledge and advancement in her career and in the community would benefit from membership in the KNOW. “Membership is comprised of some of the most influential businesswomen from the Greater Akron Region,” she adds. “Being a member allows you to support the growth and development of businesswomen and develop a strategy for career advancement.”
Greater Akron Chamber members can join the KNOW for $35 yearly membership fee. Membership includes discounted quarterly luncheon prices, a KNOW membership plaque, a listing in the KNOW directory and opportunities to attend a KNOW on the Go luncheon or members-only workshop and more.
For membership inquiries, contact Theresa Byers at 330-237-1228. Or visit www.greaterakronchamber.org and click on “Members,” “Events and Programs,” and finally click on “Knowledgeable Network of Women.”
(National Association of Women Business Owners)
The National Association of Women Business Owners was created nearly 30 years ago with a mission to strengthen the wealth-creating capacity of its members and to promote economic development; create innovative and effective changes in the business culture; build strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations and transform public policy and influence opinion makers. NAWBO Cleveland serves Northeast Ohio, and includes 110 women who own all types of businesses from professional, service-based organizations to manufacturing and construction-based businesses.
“We really believe that women business owners need to connect with each other to learn more and grow,” says Liz Radivoyevitch, vice president of marketing. “We offer seminars and speakers to help business owners learn how to market their business, manage finances, gain access to capital, develop leadership skills and other abilities to grow their businesses.”
NAWBO Cleveland hosts monthly chapter meetings in Independence as well as monthly networking luncheons in Akron. Each year, the group honors successful Northeast Ohio women business owners with its annual gala event, in addition to other networking/social activities and membership drives.
“We focus on women-owned businesses, and work to remove the barriers and diminish the challenges they face,” Radivoyevitch explains. “We offer an opportunity to develop long-lasting friendships and business development opportunities with likeminded women who can relate to the challenges of owning a business.”
For membership information, visit
www.nawbocleveland.org or call
(Women in Touch with Akron’s Needs)
Founded by seven women in July 1943, WITAN is not your average networking organization. WITAN is service-based, rather than business-focused. Its mission is to educate members on civic responsibility by promoting volunteerism, to recognize and financially support projects that fulfill a need in the community, and to develop and nurture friendships by working together toward a common goal.
“WITAN is a dynamic nonprofit organization, composed of energetic women of all ages and walks of life who embrace civic responsibility in our community,” says Katie Wells-Goodwin, WITAN president. “It provides friendships, support and opportunities for networking among successful women leaders in the community.”
Membership in WITAN begins in a conditional membership year when prospective members learn about the requirements, functions and fun within the organization, Wells-Goodwin says. Membership dues are $50 per year, and all active members are required to attend three business meetings, serve on a committee and volunteer at least 35 hours per year. All members work together to facilitate the group’s signature fundraiser, The French Market.
“Women in WITAN make friendships for life while helping support their community,” Wells-Goodwin explains. “They are leaders in their community committed to making it a better place for all who live here.”
For membership inquiries, visit
www.witaninfo.org or call 330-376-6668.
Women’s Network began in 1977 with a mission to encourage the full participation of women in economic and family life. Today the organization boasts nearly 300 members, spanning a wide range of professions. Women’s Network is open to any woman interested in expanding her network of contacts for business, personal or community volunteerism purposes.
“Organizations like ours give women a chance to develop leadership skills, and meet and work with a diverse group of women,” says Carrie Herman, board president.
Women’s Network events include several monthly luncheons and other networking opportunities throughout the year, including the prestigious Women of Achievement Awards. The organization also established the Judith Resnik Scholarship fund (now affiliated with Akron Community Foundation), which provides a $1,000 scholarship (available up to four total years) to a graduating high school woman going into math, science or engineering. Membership begins at $75 per year and offers women the opportunity to meet established women leaders, participate in development programs and develop leadership skills.
“Our goal is measurable results in the indicators of women’s economic, community and family accomplishments,” Herman adds.
For more information, visit
www.womensnetworkneo.com or call