Meeting others, making contacts, and exchanging ideas are a few key reasons why networking is critical to growing and developing a business.
Women develop their networks by creating connections or friendships with an appreciation for the longevity of the relationship that is being built. Once an authentic connection is established, businesswomen realize and accept that immediate business may not develop and that the new connection can evolve into future opportunities.
Listening, interacting with others, and taking the time to really learn about their clients and the clients’ needs as well as the needs of their networks differentiate how women network.
Understanding this approach to business building, the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce (PRCC) worked to meet the needs of this segment and enlisted the support of a dedicated group of women to form the Women in Business Alliance (WIBA).
WIBA is a program of the PRCC, and its mission is to provide and promote an environment in which women are able to connect and build relationships focusing on professional development, education, growth, collaboration with business and community leaders, and be an advocate for women’s issues.
The three-year-old program began with a core group of 20 dedicated women led by Lucia Stegaru of PNC Bank, who worked to create a series of events dedicated to fulfilling the WIBA mission. The initial success of this program was evident when more than 100 women attended the launch event. The WIBA program has been increasing its popularity across the five-county Princeton region with many events selling out.
The program topics are driven by the WIBA committee, who listen to the needs of their peers. These topics include leadership development, business skill enrichment, work-life balance and health. The outstanding list of speakers includes Anne-Marie Slaughter, former Supreme Court Justice Virginia Long, Carla Harris, and other prominent local and national women.
WIBA continued it expansion last year and introduced a Women of Achievement Breakfast to honor four women who made significant impacts on their fields and communities. Another is planned for early summer. In addition, the annual Women’s Leadership Conference has been a sold out event both times it has been held, attracting more than 350 attendees. A third conference is planned for October, 2014.
The Women in Business Alliance, a program of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, is a membership organization committed to promoting business growth within the Princeton Region and surrounding areas. With more than 1,800 individual contacts and more than 880 Member companies, the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce membership is primarily focused in five central New Jersey counties and stretches as far as New York, Philadelphia and Canada.
www.princetonchamber.org/wiba. See ad, page 19.