The Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce has launches a Women’s Business Council (WBC) for its membership.
The council will be inclusive of women business owners, women professionals and sole proprietors, who will use the power of the networking to make a positive impact on their business growth, according to the Chamber.
“The impact of professional women in our region is profound,” said Michael Bittel, ARCC president and CEO. “The ARCC is blessed to bring together and connect so much talent in our area to further benefit our individual members, while more importantly positively impacting their businesses and our larger community as a whole.”
He said WBC members will see and learn from those at the next tier of accomplishment or experience. Unlike referral groups, the “give to get” aspect of the council is more geared toward sharing business knowledge and practical insight than referrals. The benefit of becoming familiar with each other is that it encourages more business among members of the group.
Officials said studies show the number of women-owned businesses created in the last 20 years far outpaces those of other demographics. However, women-owned businesses lag in the key metrics that signal economic growth, such as revenue on the tax rolls and employment head count.
Taking aim at expanding vision and providing how-to mentoring, the council’s goal is to move those metrics over time and establish our region as the place to start a woman-owned business, nurture a larger vision for an existing business, and develop careers, according to the Chamber.
Sherry Finkel Murphy, a Northwestern Mutual financial advisor, is the first chairperson of the group.
“We have a population of bankers and government entities who are trying to finance private companies in traditional businesses in Warren, Saratoga and Washington counties,” she said. “We want to ensure that those businesses come to the bankers with solid business plans, operating plans and balance sheets; and with the knowledge and resources to grow payroll and put together manufacturing, supply-chain and real estate transactions.
“In short, we want to offer a network to provide just-in-time knowledge of how to put the next piece into place in the business puzzle. In turn, that will reflect well on the ARCC and drive membership and membership growth. Of course, we want to know who one another is so that we can choose to do business with each other and those who offer mentorship.”
Stefanie DiLallo Bitter, principal attorney at Bartlett Pontiff Stewart & Rhodes, council secretary of the Women’s Business Council and an ARCC board member, said, “I am in the business of helping others. WBC is a great way for me to help others get business.”
ARCC members are welcome to observe meetings, but only those who complete the membership form and commit to reporting their (anonymized) metrics on a quarterly basis will actively participate. Non-members of the Chamber are invited to observe one meeting.
Officials said in its first year, the council looks forward to inaugurating a multi-Chamber networking/educational event including all the women’s affinity groups in the region. The first two informational meetings, held in May and June prior to the election of leadership, were standing-room-only.
Meetings will be held monthly, September through June, and will be announced in the ARCC weekly email communication and ARCC website, www.adirondackchamber.org.
The next monthly meeting will be held on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center in Lake George.
The contact and liaison for the Women’s Business Council is Cheryl Stanko, firstname.lastname@example.org. Email her to request a copy of the charter/membership form.