Natural Networkers: Women’s Networking
Groups Abound in and around Westchester
Diva Mama, Shira Adler & Debi Silber, The Mojo Coach
With their it-takes-a-village approach to living, women have been “networking” for thousands of generations—they just didn’t call it that. So as official networking organizations have grown in popularity, it’s no surprise that many were created specifically for women, tapping into their innate tendency to work as a community and help each other. In recent years, women’s networking organizations have taken off in Westchester and Putnam, with groups geared for women at nearly every stage of life.
Holistic Moms Network (HMN)
South Westchester Chapter and Putnam County Chapter
The Holistic Moms Network is a national nonprofit organization connecting parents who are interested in holistic health and green living.
“We encourage moms to trust their instincts, parent from the heart, use their innate sense of what is best for their children, live in balance with the earth, and learn about the pros and cons of all healthcare and parenting options,” says Deborah Fontana, who along with Jackie Cartwright co-leads the group’s South Westchester chapter.
Cartwright notes that HMN further empowers an inherently educated, dynamic membership. “We have a very aware and informed group who seek alternatives to conventional parenting practices, medicine, and the usual high-fat, -salt and -sugar diets that are common,” she says “Our intention is to build a more confident group of moms who feel supported to be able to parent in the way that feels right to them.”
Laura Daley, chapter leader of the Putnam County chapter of HMN, says their group is a diverse and open-minded community, a place where everyone’s choices are respected and where anyone can learn and become informed. And HMN isn’t just for moms or even women, she notes. Their membership also includes dads, expectant and future parents, grandparents and wellness practitioners. “Many of us are new to this journey; others are more experienced,” she says.
It’s easy to join HMN—in fact, the first couple of meetings are free, Daley says. “If you like what you see and hear and want to join us, you are encouraged to become a member to support our community,” she says. Membership is a tax-deductible $45/year.
The Putnam County chapter of HMN meets the first Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown, 10 Academy Street, Cold Spring, NY. Monthly meetings are open to the public. The May 3 meeting will focus on “Knitting 101.” The South Westchester chapter of HMN meets every third Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Wainwright House, 260 Stuyvesant Avenue, Rye, NY.
A typical meeting lasts two hours and includes an introduction to HMN, group introductions, an informative presentation, and time for talk and nibbling on finger food.
To sign up for either chapter online, go to Membership.HolisticMoms.org.
BusinessPink Networking and Seminars
Westchester, NY, Southern CT, & Washington DC
Women who are interested in running their own business or advancing professionally might want to check out BusinessPink, a group that provides a forum for entrepreneurial women to network, exchange ideas, enhance their professional skills and promote their careers.
“We aim to help women get to the next level in their business or professional career by providing networking opportunities, introductions to experts in all kinds of fields, and educational seminars,” says Jane F. Collen, of counsel at Collen IP Intellectual Property, P.C.
This is networking with heart, as the group also helps women with limited opportunities. Members are currently establishing mentoring and internship programs and raising money to educate girls in Tanzania so that they have economic alternatives to early marriage.
There is no cost to join BusinessPink, and most meetings are free, as well. There is a charge for some of the seminars when a meal is served. “Everyone meets new people amid a lot of talking, laughing and eating,” Collen says.
The group’s next meeting is scheduled for June. Visit BusinessPink.com for details.
Motivators and Creators Women’s Group
Motivators and Creators (MACs) Women’s Group specializes in connecting female entrepreneurs with a focus on business success and achieving positive results. It is open to women age 21 and up.
Through empowering meetings, educational resources and celebrative social networking events, MACs Women’s Group provides a productive home for aspiring and professional women business owners, with an innate focus on creating supportive and nurturing alliances.
The next meeting is scheduled for May 8 at Villa Nova East, 65 First Street, Pelham, NY. The cost is $21.49 with online registration.
For more info, visit MACsWomen.com.
Professional Women of Westchester and Professional Women of Putnam
These networking, information sharing, and professional development organizations were created out of the need for local businesswomen to have a place where they could focus on their business, networking, and any professional issues or challenges they face.
Jamie Imperati, president of the Professional Women of Westchester (PWW) and the Professional Women of Putnam (PWP), says the organizations are designed to help their members find new business opportunities while fostering similar opportunities for fellow members.
“Women gain the opportunity to mutually network and connect, form a support system with other enterprising women, and learn from educational speakers,” she says. “The goal is to have women support, promote and encourage each other, recommend or refer each other, and ultimately do business together.”
The PWW averages 80 women per meeting, and the PWP averages 40 per meeting, Imperati says.
The next PWW group meets May 7 and will feature a discussion about blogging, with an esteemed guest panel of “blog-hers.” The cost is $15 for PWW members or $20 for non-members.
Women of the Westchester Business Connection
Founded in January, 2011, this networking events and social media group is aimed solely at professional women in Westchester County and surrounding areas who are looking to grow their contacts and increase their business.
No events were scheduled at press time, but check their MeetUp page to be notified when the next event is scheduled.
For info visit MeetUp.com/Women-of-the-Westchester-Business-Connection.
B.I.G. (Believe, Inspire, Grow)
Putnam and Northern Westchester, NY
Elena Monaco’s intention with B.I.G. is to inspire women and help them realize that they—and they alone—are in control of their lives. Monaco heads up both the
Putnam County and Northern Westchester “pods” of B.I.G., a group that empowers women to reach personal and professional fulfillment. B.I.G. welcomes professional and non-professional women, self-employed women, and stay at home mothers.
“At a typical meeting, we explain the concept of B.I.G., helping one another in the network,” Monaco says. “Then we go around the room, and each person answers these questions: Who were you? Who are you now? Who do you want to be? What’s holding you back? It’s pretty amazing what happens in the room. The energy is unbelievable.”
The next B.I.G. event in Putnam County is May 23. The group meets the fourth Wednesday of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Bistrant on Route 6 in Mahopac. The Northern Westchester B.I.G. chapter meets every third Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. at Season’s American Bistro & Lounge on Route 100 in Somers.
The first meeting is free. Non-members are charged $30 to attend after the first meeting. Memberships can be purchased for a minimum of three months for $24.95/month.
For more info, visit www.JustThinkBig.us.
Westchester, NY and beyond
Divas-do-Lunch is a self-nurturing/networking group hosted and founded by inspirational writer and speaker Shira Adler (aka Diva Mama), who says she is dedicated to helping women walk the tightrope of life with love and laughter. At a Divas-do-Lunch gathering, women share, laugh, and learn transformational tips and tools to use in daily life. Each month’s event has a different theme, guest speaker and featured vendor.
Because the gatherings are cozy in size, the connections have a more intimate feel, Adler says. “When women come together to identify, nurture and celebrate their inner diva and each other, magic happens,” she explains.
There are no membership fees, and meetings cost about $30, which includes a light lunch.
The next Divas-do-Lunch meeting is June 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Melting Pot, 30 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY (across from City Center). The guest speaker will be Patrice Kamins, astrologer and metaphysical correspondent. To RSVP, e-mail Shira@ShiraAdler.com.
Visit Diva-Mama.com for upcoming meetings.
Over 40 Females
Dutchess/Putnam and Westchester, NY
Over 40 Females has two groups in our area: the Westchester group run by Chapter Director Phyllis Hirschauer, and the Dutchess/Putnam group run by Chapter Director Terri Huntington.
As their name implies, this group is for women aged 40 and over. The members gather to learn more about life by interacting with each other and professional experts in their fields; to increase international awareness for their demographic; and to create a higher standard of pride and confidence for the generations of Over 40 Females to come.
“It’s an opportunity to meet and combine forces with other women over 40 and a platform for women to promote themselves,” Huntington says. “The intent is for women to realize their individual power and make connections with other women that will benefit their own lifetime experiences.”
Over 40 Females likes to educate and pamper at the same time, she adds, so depending on that month’s theme, there may be a guest speaker talking about financial tips while the women are getting their nails done, for example. Every woman gets a chance to stand up and introduce herself, try free products or services, and leave with a gift bag and possibly a door prize.
The group’s upcoming events are May 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Country Curtains, 1083 Route 9, Fishkill, NY, and May 30 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Chill Wine Bar, 173 Main Street, Beacon, NY.
A chapter membership is $10/month (one year minimum) and includes the cost of all events within that chapter for the year. The cost for non-members to attend an event is $20 per event.
For more info, visit Over40Females.com.