With more than 20 years of history, Kelowna’s Women in Business networking group has repeatedly changed to address its members’ shifting needs.
Throughout all the necessary adaptations, however, its core function has been consistent.
“Kelowna is a close-knit community and to be successful you need to build relationships and connections to learn about opportunities for employment and career advancement,” said current president Patricia Chandler.
“Many women are unsure on how to approach networking, feel intimated by entering a room full of people they don’t know and (don’t know) how to ask for a referral or promote their business in a social environment.”
It’s a challenge that Chandler believes rises from women’s tendencies to be quieter and less boastful of themselves and their accomplishments.
The Kelowna Women in Business group addresses that issue by offering a friendly and welcoming environment where it’s easier to meet and build key relationships.
“At each event we host a guest speaker on topics that are relative to personal development or skills that can assist women in being successful as business owners,” she said.
They also promote local charities, and focus has been turned toward NOW Canada, Arion Therapeutic Farm and the Wish Come True Society in recent years.
Reaching beyond the confines of the group is always important as well, and KWIB allows its members to tap into services aimed at raising their profile in the community.
For example, members are invited to post their profiles on the KWIB website, become included in the business member database, and on all their social media profiles.
Chandler, who is the assistant branch manager at Kelowna Mission Park branch of the Prospera Credit Union, has been in financial services for 20 years.
She moved to Kelowna from Toronto in 2007 with her husband and son and has been a member of KWIB for four years.
Of those four years, she’s served on the executive for the past two years, before becoming the KWIB president in 2014.