Professional women looking to connect with others can do that and more at the Women in Business group of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.
“So many people are struggling to reinvent themselves and are out there on their own,” said Ginny Kronsted, Women in Business chairperson and owner of GJK Associates in Aurora. “To be able to come to a warm, welcoming environment where people are freely sharing ideas is very helpful.”
For over a decade, Women in Business has helped area businesswomen “connect and collaborate to be successful in their business endeavors.” More than a hundred members gather the first Wednesday of each month from 7:30 to 9 a.m. to share a meal and their business know-how.
Kronsted, who runs a social marketing solutions company, said the Women in Business breakfast meeting was one of the first she attended after joining the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce several years ago. In January, she became the chairperson — on a mission.
“Our theme this year was ‘more than a breakfast club,’” she said. “I wanted to take these powerful women — close to a hundred each month — and do something with this community of women for the community.”
Along with offering networking opportunities, Kronsted said it was important for the group to add a service component to the monthly meetings. Teen Parent Connection, a nonprofit agency serving teen parents in DuPage County, was chosen as their beneficiary this year.
“At every breakfast, we ask people to bring donations for their parent pantry like diapers and formula,” Kronsted said. “We really wanted to focus on giving back to the community and expand people’s ability to get involved.”
Naperville Area Chamber President and CEO Mike Evans said the Women in Business members have “really embraced the concept of going beyond simply ‘holding meetings.’”
“The Women in Business events are a great benefit to our membership, their employees and individuals looking for career development, and we owe it to the dedicated leadership of the group” Evans said. “This group has fostered really strong bonds; I know many have developed great professional and personal relationships and are a flagship group of our chamber.”
Kronsted shared the sentiment.
“We have watched the offshoots of people who come to our breakfasts,” she said. “We are seeing businesses that are starting to work together with others they have met at Women in Business.”