While the pandemic has wrecked the schedules of countless associations and businesses in not just our area, but all throughout the country, it hasn’t stopped the Women’s Business Connection of Chester County from, well, connecting.
“One of the things we’re super proud of is that we have not missed a beat with our events, which have all gone virtual,” said Nina Malone, an independent consultant with Arbonne and current board member of the WBC. “Since April, we have converted all of our regular events to virtual events and have attracted close to 50 women at most events.”
The WBC’s mission is to connect businesses through authentic and genuine networking experiences for women.
“We focus on creating connections between women, so they can develop relationships and hopefully do some business together and make referrals to each other,” said Malone.
Members of the Women’s Business Connection decided to use the same regular program format for each of its online events, which are now conducted via Zoom and free to all participants. At the WBC’s monthly luncheon workshops, for example, meetings begin with general announcements before participants are split into separate breakout groups for networking opportunities. Afterward, all participants are brought back together to listen to that month’s invited speaker. A share screen enables them to follow along with any PowerPoint slides or other media discussed. Next is a presentation from the group’s Community Partner, followed by parting words from the event’s sponsor.
June will feature the WBC’s Virtual Awards Luncheon, where it will bid farewell to its current Community Partner, the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, and welcome Chester County Futures as its new Community Partner. They will also honor the WBC’s Business Woman of the Year, Debi Friedmann of Blue Dog Printing and Design, along with the Crime Victims’ Center’s Volunteer of the Year, Nina Margusity Yentzer.
The monthly Cocktail Connections, now promoted as a “No Shower Happy Hour,” or “Zoom as You Are,” follow the same virtual format as the luncheons.
Luncheons and Cocktail Connections had originally been scheduled at various venues, including the Downingtown Country Club, Timothy’s Restaurant in Lionville, The Gables at Chadds Ford, Victory Brewing Company, and The Movie Tavern in Exton. Therefore, as a “Thank You” for their support and continued interest, the WBC makes an effort during each event to promote the takeout menu or current promotions from the would-be host.
The last regular WBC event, Hot Topics Coffee Connections, meets every other month, and features podcasts by Leadercast Women speakers. Participants meet on Zoom together and in break-out groups to discuss the podcast that they’d listen to in advance. The event – which, like all events, requires registration – finishes with a coffee chat.
In the era of the coronavirus, when keeping up business and social connections is especially critical, the Women’s Business Connection of Chester County has successfully adapted to continue its mission without interruption.
“Connections are still being made, business is being done, and we have a lot of new women checking us out,” said Malone. “For someone who has been a member of this organization for so long, this is almost business as usual. It’s like a little piece of normal, but just on Zoom.”
Click here to learn more about the Women’s Business Connection’s upcoming events.