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VOL. 129 | NO. 34 | Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Women’s Business Group Grows In Memphis

By Andy Meek

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A new business group for professional women and business owners has launched in Memphis and is meeting at Napa Cafe next week to hear a veteran sales strategy consultant talk about authenticity in the digital world.


The Feb. 28 lunch meeting with a keynote from Shawn Karol Sandy, founder and chief revenue officer for The Selling Agency, is an example of one of the many goals of FemCity Memphis. That’s the new local community of Femfessionals, a national business group for women that connects them through lunches, workshops, social media and the like, which has been spearheaded in Memphis by local public relations professional Sarah Stramel.

The word Stramel repeats often in describing what she wants the local chapter to become is “meaningful.” As in, meaningful connections, events and takeaways that enrich the lives of time-crunched working women who may be looking for a community of like-minded professionals to help build their careers.

“This is all about building our own brands and building each other up and empowering each other,” said Stramel, who owns and runs her own public relations firm and who has for several years worked in PR and for a few TV news outlets before striking out on her own.

“We’re trying to create meaningful connections and actual friendships. It’s young, fresh, and about new ideas and about people who are doing things. Promoting each other on social media also will be a big part of it.”

Femfessionals was founded in 2009 in Miami as an event planned with colleagues and business women. Eventually, an organization was built that could be replicated in other U.S. cities, which happened over the next several years. A Femfessionals website launched in 2011, and chapters began to form in dozens of cities.

At next week’s lunch, FemCity Memphis’ second event, attendees will have the opportunity to mingle and network with other women and will be given a chance to introduce themselves and their businesses over dessert and coffee. The event is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and costs $30 for members and $45 for non-members.

Leading the discussion will be Sandy, who started The Selling Agency to help clients via sales-related strategies, programs and leadership.

“We’re seeking out women who want to build their professional development connections,” Sandy said. “It’s really about building professional connections for women, and here in the South that’s hard to do.”

Stramel is trying to live the message the group evangelizes. Through the new group, for example, she met Sandy, a Michigan transplant who now calls Memphis home, and the two women now work together. When Stramel emailed details of the group’s launch party a few months ago, Sandy saw the details via the professional social network LinkedIn, emailed Stramel, “and we’ve been friends ever since.”

“I’m helping her with her speaking engagements, doing PR, and she’s helping me build my brand more and be a better salesperson,” Stramel said. “So this group has already helped me make strong friends and connections. The best way to make people like it is keep doing powerful and engaging events that people will want to come to. We’re going to be bringing people things that they want and need.”

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