Fifty-four business women attended the first meeting of the Acworth Business Association Women’s Business Network. The group, which met Jan. 19 at Dogwood Terrace in Historic Downtown Acworth, will meet the third Thursday of each month at the restaurant.
The organizers want to encourage women to build meaningful relationships by providing programs that are educational, empowering and inspiring.
The 2017 chair for Women’s Business Network is Kelly Wilson, with Edward Jones Investments. The committee is: Kim Wigington, Brookwood Christian School; Malinda Howe, Anchor Realty Partners; Rene Dollar, Service First Bank; Ellen Kennerly, Kennerly Digital Directions; Shelley Elder, Elder Law Firm, and Danielle Hilderbrand, Pearl Spa.
The keynote speaker at the launch meeting was Johnnie Gabriel, owner of Gabriel’s at the Old Mill in downtown Acworth and Gabriel’s Restaurant and Bakery in Marietta. Gabriel spoke candidly about challenges women face in business, but added that she is not sure women in the restaurant business face more challenges than men.
“In the restaurant business we are always on the phone dealing with things and we are always on our feet, and so much of what we deal with is perishable. But every business has its challenges,” Gabriel said.
What business women can do, she said, is get together and support each other. Gabriel said she thought she would be a stay-at-home mother, but that life took a turn and God had a different plan. She said she is blessed to have a successful business, but that she continues to learn lessons. It is important to be prepared for the unexpected, and to have the right people in the right place, Gabriel said.
“Put your expectations out there in a nice way,” she said. “Be flexible. But also be firm about your expectations. Stick with what you believe.”
The next meeting is Feb. 16. The scheduled speaker is Holly Bass, president and chief executive officer of Cobb Travel and Tourism. Registration is required and lunch is $20. To register, go to the Acworth Business Association website: www.acworthbusiness.org.
By Carla Caldwell