A unique networking event for women in business is coming to Blackfalds.
The very first Women Out Working (WOW) luncheon for the Blackfalds and Lacombe area is set for Feb. 25th at noon in the program room of the Abbey Centre.
Organizer and Small Business Advisor at the Rural Alberta Business Centre (RABC) Rocky Mountain House Michelle Andrishak said the event is designed for women in supervisory/management roles, business owners and entrepreneurs.
“The objective of WOW is networking and relationships for women, building and expanding business opportunities for women, building capacity or education in related topics that affect business, leadership development and also economic development,” she said.
While the RABC is based out of Rocky Mountain House, it has a broad reach throughout Central Alberta. Andrishak said the WOW networking group idea has exploded, expanding first from Rocky Mountain House, then to Sylvan Lake and now with groups in Red Deer, Blackfalds and Lacombe.
“When ladies from Red Deer and Lacombe came to check out the Sylvan Lake luncheon, they said ‘We would love this in our community, so why don’t you come?’ and I said, sure why not?” explained Andrishak.
From that base, steering committees were formed in each community, and now the first monthly luncheon will be held at the Abbey Centre for both Blackfalds and Lacombe.
“Because our communities are so close together, we’ve combined the group,” said Andrishak. “One month it will be in Blackfalds. Next month it will be in Lacombe and we will just alternate.”
Andrishak noted the way women do business is different from men, so the group offers a unique networking time specifically geared for women.
“When men get together it’s at the curling rink or the baseball field,” she said. “It’s ‘How’s your work going? How’s your business?’ And they just automatically get to the point. Whereas women, when they get together in a social situation, they talk about ‘How’s your kids? What activities are your kids in these days?’ or ‘Where did you get your hair done?’ It’s almost taboo in some circles to talk about your business and what you do well.”
Andrishak added women are often busy running their business and caring for a family, among other things.
“So you don’t actually get to meet other businesswomen, so WOW provides that opportunity for women to meet each other,” she said.
The event planned in two weeks will feature a lunch, an opportunity to connect with others and guest speaker Mary Lou Gutscher, a business coach. Gutscher will be speaking about networking before, during and after attending an event and how to hone this critical business skill.
The following luncheons will feature a variety of structured networking exercises, brainstorming exercises for best business practices along with speakers from the local community to showcase successes.
The event is sponsored by the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce, Blackfalds and District Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Blackfalds, Community Futures, Central Alberta Access Prosperity, Lacombe Action Group and the Alberta Government Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.
Tickets are only available in advance online at https://www.wehub.info/profiles.htm or by contacting Andrishak at 403-895-1493.
Seating for the event is limited.