Do you know Jodi Womack? If you’re a woman business owner who lives in Ojai or other parts of Ventura County, you very well might. But her reach goes far beyond the county. Not only is she an international speaker on networking and business development, she has created a women’s networking group, The Women’s Business Social (WBS), that has grown quickly in the last 18 months. I spoke to Jodi in August, when she and her husband and business partner, Jason Womack (www.womackcompany.com), were spending the month in Lake Tahoe, catching up on writing, business planning and some R&R. I asked why she started WBS in February 2009. “I kept hearing doom and gloom about the economy and decided to bring women together to help figure it out.” The momentum has been powerful. The first meeting was 13 women; the second 45. And the numbers continue to grow, as word has traveled, especially through social media, with over 100 women in attendance each month from Ventura County and beyond. “Women have a hunger and desire to come together.” The Women’s Business Social Facebook page has nearly 1100 “likes,” so there are many women who are interested.
When I attended the WBS in May, I was delighted to meet such a diverse and friendly group at the lovely Lavender Inn in Ojai, the location of the next WBS on Wednesday, September 15. Women are invited to display and share promotional materials while mingling and networking in a relaxed, low-key environment. Aside from a few words of welcome, there are no awkward introductions or speeches – just a fun, comfortable couple of hours to connect.
Earlier this year Jodi applied to be a speaker at the Women’s International Networking conference in Paris. Over 50 WBS devotees wrote recommendations and letters of support, touting the benefits of WBS. Her proposal was accepted, and she’ll be speaking at W.I.N. next month. She’ll be discussing the WBS model and the impact of face-to-face networking for women’s business development. “Networking is a skill we can practice and master,” she said. “We’re smarter together. It’s important to share what we’re doing so we all get better.”
If you follow Jodi on social media, you know she spends a lot of time in coffee shops and typically finds a favorite that she’ll frequent wherever she goes (when she’s home, you can find her most mornings at the Ojai Coffee Roasting Company). “I love the connections that happen in coffee shops. It’s a way to build relationships that’s informal and authentic – coming together family style.”
Jodi continues to create quite a community – family style – by reaching out not only through social media but also at these in person events. She’s done a great job bringing women together to support each other and their businesses when we need it the most. Stay in the loop about future socials and Jodi’s other activities at www.facebook.com/nomorenylons. You can also learn more about other women’s networking events in Ventura County by checking the VC Women’s Networking Connection calendar.
Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. (www.OptimalDevelopmentCoaching.com), is a business development and leadership coach, speaker and trainer who uses a strengths-based approach to help individuals, groups and organizations achieve their goals and realize their greatest success. She also runs mastermind groups for women entrepreneurs in Ventura County. You can sign up for business building tips and updates on Ventura County women’s networking events at her web site, or connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/optimaldevelopmentcoaching.