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VOL. 126 | NO. 174 | Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Networking Event Brings Women Biz Orgs Together

By Sarah Baker

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It’s a cliché phrase that rings true for nearly every professional industry: it’s all about who you know.

Tough economic times serve as a reminder that networking is a powerful force to combating slow sales. That’s the concept behind a Tuesday, Sept. 13, meeting celebrating women in business.

The second annual education seminar, luncheon and trade show is a partnership between the local chapters of three prominent national women’s business organizations: the National Association of Women Business Owners, Commercial Real Estate Women and Women’s Business Enterprise Council South.

With the tagline, “When great women come together, great things can happen,” the forum will discuss the power and potential of women in multiple industries.

Mary Singer, president of Commercial Realty Group, said the opportunity to collaborate in trying times is invaluable.

“The numbers for women business is so dismal,” said Singer, who was recently appointed regional director/Memphis for the WBECS. “It’s exciting being able to have an event that draws women from the region, women from many of our corporations, women really networking and genuinely wanting our smaller-women businesses to get to a different level of providing great service, either through joint venturing, growing capacity. The need is great.”

Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. The event will feature four workshops in the morning being offered concurrently, including WBENC national certification.

Guests will be able to choose two seminars among the four being offered at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. CREW will bring the real estate aspect to the table, discussing “Commercial Leasing 101: Best Decisions for Your Business Location.”

Panelists leading CREW’s session are Michelle Bernstein of Bernstein Law Office, Jill Singer Schmitt, commercial broker with CRESA Partners, and CB Richard Ellis Memphis’ chief operating officer Mary Sharp.

Founded in 2007, the CREW Memphis chapter is currently the only one in Tennessee that’s affiliated with national CREW. Its goal is simple: for members to help members with a commercial real estate transactional need.

“We had such energy last year because it was women getting excited about women in business and being successful in this market,” said Sandy Marshall, director of accounting firm BDO USA LLC and 2011 CREW president. “It brings some of our more successful women in showcasing them. I was so inspired after this event last year to go out and be the best that I could be in my chosen career path and it was such a joy to meet so many inspirational women – and men.”

CREW Memphis currently has 18 members. That’s a dip from pre-recession totals, but the local chapter has seen an uptick in interest, Marshall said.

“It’s funny because over the last few years, everybody had a lot more time for networking, so we built relationships through that,” Marshall said. “I think they’ll be even stronger relationships coming out of the recession.”

Other breakout sessions include NAWBO’s “2010 to 2019: Decade for the Woman Entrepreneur,” and the FBI’s “Protecting Your Brand From Internet Predators.”

Following a brief tradeshow, the day will follow up with a corporate lunch panel including the president and CEO of WBENC, Pamela Prince-Eason; Cheryl Kern, director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at International Paper; and Patricia Reed of Renault Nissan.

Registration is available online at www.wbecsouth.org/gwgt2011. Because seating is limited, it is recommended to reserve space early.

PROPERTY SALES 91 293 13,051
MORTGAGES 58 168 8,171
BUILDING PERMITS 99 744 30,678
BANKRUPTCIES 34 156 6,220