With a new logo, a new mandate and a new mission, last October, Women Empowered was born out of the ashes of Women Entrepreneurs.
Started 20 years ago by a handful of visionaries who saw the need for ladies in business to network, Women Entrepreneurs of Cornwall & Area has had a good run. The group met diligently once a month at the Ramada Inn on a Thursday Night to mix and mingle, have dinner and listen to guest speakers. At its peak, WE had well over 150 members, members who helped, supported and promoted each other.
With the growth of technology and with a new board of directors every year, however, the group faced many challenges.
“Many of the business connections are now made online, through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram,” said Julia Lucio, President. “In the last years, there’s been a shift in membership and meeting attendance. We’ve noticed that more people were attending the meetings that had nothing to do with business. The Dinner Etiquette meeting comes to mind. Julie Comeau Blais came to teach us the proper way to behave at the dinner table, and that meeting was packed with entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike.”
“It’s difficult to maintain continuity when the board of director of an organization consists of only volunteers and changes every year,” said Connie Augi, treasurer of WE. It makes it extremely hard to see long term. Every new president has their own vision for the group, which doesn’t always align with the previous one.”
“This is what happened,” said Lorraine Regnier, Secretary. “The three of us sat on the last board of directors of Women Entrepreneurs who unanimously decided to fold the organization. We didn’t want to see 20 years of amazing success become history, so we decided to step up and reinvent the wheel. Re-brand, regrow and restructure. Many hours of work went into what WE has become; a place where every woman can come and be herself.”
“We are very happy to announce that we have now obtained our Non-Profit Status,” Connie continued. “That will open the door to so many opportunities for us! We can apply for funding and grants that will allow us to bring in high-quality speakers to empower, to connect, to educate and elevate not only entrepreneurs but ladies from all walks of life.
Women Empowered meet every third Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the RCAFA. Membership is free. Visit http://wecornwallarea.ca for more info.