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Grundy County starts Women in Business Group

Published: Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – Working women in Grundy County have a new way to network thanks to a Women in Business Group recently established by the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce.

“We had gotten some feedback from some members who thought it would be nice if women in business had a way to connect with one another,” said Caroline Portlock, executive director of the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce. “So we just thought, ‘Let’s start agroup.’ ”

On Jan. 17, Women in Business will hold its first luncheon at the Morris Country Club where those interested in joining can meet, learn more about and help shape the future of the group.

“What we’ve decided is you don’t have to be a chamber member to participate,” Portlock said. “Once we get to a point where it’s a formalized group ... nonchamber members may pay on a slightly different scale, but because it is so focused, we want to make sure people have the opportunity to get involved.”

About 12 women came to the group’s initial meeting last month, where they discussed the goals and purpose of the new organization.

“Mentoring was a big topic,” Portlock said. “We talked about how people who are just starting out in business that can match up with someone with more experience and can help them with that whole balance thing.”

Ann Olszta of Heartland Community Bank in Minooka was integral to founding the group, Portlock said.

“I was chair of the Women in Business group in Bolingbrook,” Olszta said. “I liked the support from other women, the sharing of ideas and the mentoring, so I wanted to start that in Grundy.”

Next month’s luncheon will include a speaker who will help give the group ideas and get the women excited to join.

“It’s open to women who aren’t chamber members so maybe moms trying to get back into the workplace or maybe stay-at-home moms selling Mark Kay and Avon,” Olszta said.

Olszta said the new group hopes to host business seminars, networking events, mentoring programs, social outings and more.

“We want members to gain personal and strategic business relationships, support other women in the workplace and foster growth,” Olszta said.

“It can be empowering to have women supporting women.”

Portlock said the chamber has wanted to create a woman’s group for years and is happy to finally launch the organization at the luncheon.

“The goal of the luncheon is to motivate the group of women who are there to talk about the logistics of it – what do we want to see happen, how often do we want to meet, where do we want to meet,” Portlock said.

GET INVOLVEDTo RSVP for the Women in Business Group’s first luncheon on Jan. 17, call 815-942-0113. Cost is $20 a person.

To be added to the email list, contact Caroline Portlock at cportlock@grundychamber.com

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