If you’ve been paying attention over these past several months, you’ve noticed a lot of changes. It’s possible that things have changed so rapidly that we haven’t spent enough time bringing you up to speed with how we are responding to what you told us you need most from us. That’s why I’m spending some time here for the next few weeks outlining some of the changes we are making to honor our 25th anniversary ahead of IMPACT. I hope you find this information helpful as you continue to navigate all of the changes coming your way. Here’s a little bit about where we are moving and why. 

When you joined CWLI, you did not just join another organization for women. No, you made the decision to invest in yourself because you know your worth and want to grow your leadership skills. Ladies, you understand that what you have to offer this world is significant and will leave a lasting effect. Since the beginning, we’ve been committed to creating a place where women could find and harness their power. As we’ve grown in number over the years, we’ve also expanded our offerings and categorized them into three areas: educate, collaborate and elevate. 

We’re committed to offering leadership training opportunities catered to your career level that will help you grow.

Through leadership luncheons, we tackle trending women’s issues and focus on topics that you are interested in. I know the pandemic caused us to have to put a hold on these events. However, we are optimistic that we will restart our leadership luncheons in the near future.

By offering 12 leadership studies each year, women are getting to hear from other incredible women and be challenged to keep climbing the ladder of success. In August, we will welcome Stefanie Mansueto, who is a Shetty Certified Coach and Market Executive for JPMorgan Chase to speak to us about harnessing our skills. 

Leadership tracks are continuing to be developed as I write this. We’ve already established our Game ChangeHer program. Mentorship is vital to preparing the next generation of leaders, and this special program has given our members the opportunity to pour into young women at the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy. We will be announcing 1 -2 more intensive tracks later this year.

There is power in connection. When women join arms and come together, greatness occurs. Quarterly Connect gatherings open the door for female professionals from a variety of backgrounds to meet and network. I have truly loved watching women engage with each other at these events. Our affinity groups provide a space for professionals who want to dive deeper and take a more intimate look at the current issues affecting women. Also, our Member Hub not only offers all of you with the opportunity to connect with one another online and advance your network, but it helps you support female-owned businesses in our community. We’re committed to growth, so we’re in the process of building out a new 1:1 Mentoring program where members can mentor other developing leaders within our organization. 

Learning and collaborating without having a destination of advancement leaves us in limited positions where we cannot truly harness our power. Moving forward is what inspires change and amplifies our voices. Data confirmed that there are certain practices that area businesses can embrace that will help our region attract and retain high-quality female talent like all of you. We refer to these as “The 7.” Associated practices include improving wage disparity, providing flexible work schedules and remote working, providing female-centric professional development, implementing a coaching/ sponsorship program, implementing an integrated promotion program, introducing a 7:00 pm-7:00 am communication pause and adding a caregiving expense matching program. Our goal is to see companies across our region become “7” certified by adopting these practices into their business culture. 

In September, we will be hosting our annual IMPACT Leadership Dinner & Symposium. This event allows you to hear from incredible female thought leaders, network and participate in breakout sessions. Our special guest keynote speaker this year is Founder & CEO of Gravitas Lisa Sun. If you have not already registered, I encourage you to do so now by visiting https://cwli.org/impact/. I can guarantee that you will leave IMPACT refreshed and empowered.

Soon, we will be opening our Legacy Center in the heart of downtown Chattanooga. This co-working space is designed by women for women. We cannot wait to see what ideas and businesses are birthed in this space. 

Speechless. I honestly cannot put into words how fortunate this generation of women is compared to those who came before us. However, without them leading the way, we would not be where we are today. As we embark on the next phase of our journey, I am optimistic that we will continue to develop new programs that will bring you all together and help you continue to find and harness your power. 

Let’s Move FORward Together,