A new organization that helps local business woman find support and networking opportunities among other professional women is looking for members.
The Metro East Chapter of the National Association of Professional Women is open to all business women interested in networking and sharing with other professional women, said chapter president Angela Barnes, who works as a writer and publisher of Heart Spoken Words and also does some real estate work.
"This is a broader opportunity for other people in the metro-east, not to isolate," Barnes said. "We want to be broad in reaching and hand-holding and provide a net for women."
The group had its inaugural meeting last month. The guest speaker, who works with hospice, talked about how professional woman need to be "nourished" and find peace within. The group offers seminars, webinars, education training, national conferences and call networking groups. Barnes said the group does more than bring professional women together -- it provides support for each member.
"They need to learn leadership skills and market that skill and grow in the field they want to go into," Barnes said. "Sometimes you need a net and sometimes you need open arms. I think we can support that."
So far, the new local chapter has attracted about a dozen members. Barnes said she is looking to add 20 or 30 more.
"We have chiropractor, finance officer, social workers and we're open to all women," she said. "We invite people to try us out."
When Karen Meyer is not working as the chief financial officer for Governor French Academy in Belleville, she serves as the vice president for the business women's group. She said the group has helped her meet others like her who are trying to find a balance between their careers and families.
"I do the best I can to find balance between work, family and find time for myself, which is usually put on the back burner," Meyer said. "With this group, we can all get together in the same situation. We're all trying to be perfectionists.
"By talking with each other, we are able to find out what works for someone else and what someone else has done to find good balance in their family life and in their work."
Yvette Hicks is the chapter's secretary. As a social worker at High Mount School in Swansea, she helps lead a number or initiatives and partnerships within the community, such as an anti-bullying campaign and raising money for scholarships. Hicks has been a member of the NAPW's national organization for some time and attended the organization's national conferences. She said she is pleased to have the opportunity to meet and network with out professional women from the metro-east.
"It really helps in the area of keeping you up to date with skills that will tie into your professionalism," Hicks said. "One of the things I learned was about making the best investments. They give you the best ideas for the best investments, not only professionally, but financially and emotionally. It's really a great organization for any professional woman, in particular for more empowerment network opportunities. I've met really great women all over the country that I'm currently in contact with."
The next meeting of the Metro East Chapter of the NAPW is from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at High Mount School in Swansea. For more information, call Angela Barnes at 398-4357 or visit www.napw.com.
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2526.