In October of 2004, Pensacola was hit by a Cat 3 hurricane that left $26 billion of property damage in its wake. Many people lost homes, businesses and had their lives turned upside down. Kolleen Chesley was a financial advisor and had HEAVILY relied on face-to-face networking to find her clients. Kolleen, along with two other business women, met for lunch to help motivate each other after Hurricane Ivan and were amazed at how easy it was to share business guidance with each other in a safe and supportive environment. There was something different about the way women networked and shared information with other women. Out of that lunch in 2004, a non-profit was born.
Kolleen currently serves full-time as the Founding Director of what was originally called Women’s Business Lunch and is now known as Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast. Our vision is to be the premier organization for women’s business development and growth. We create an arena for ALL women to come together, celebrate successes, provide actionable training and tools, and encourage collaboration and charitable giving. Through PWGC, our women empower themselves and others towards business success and individual prosperity therefore changing our community.
Our mission is to promote, advance and improve women in business and we accomplish this in multiple ways:
– Monthly networking meetings. As a pivot from COVID, we now have monthly virtual networking meetings on Zoom on the first Friday of each month. This is a structured meeting with updates from our Founding Director, interactive exercises during the meeting, a member-sponsor presentation, an opportunity to hear about the businesses of all attendees, small group breakouts, and a whole lot of fun. We frequently hear from attendees that these meetings are chock full of value and a great way to build new relationships to help support their businesses. We are working on a plan to add in-person meetings to our schedule later in 2022. These are open to women and men, members and non-members and are free to attend. Follow us on Facebook for the next meeting date and link.
– Monthly in-person social gatherings. As conditions continue to improve, we are excited to have added a monthly in-person networking gathering to our calendar. These are a casual happy-hour style event with open networking, a monthly theme, and casual exercises to help connect our attendees. Follow us on Facebook for our next social gathering date and location. These are open to women and men, members and non-members and are free to attend with drink and food options available for purchase.
– Pursue Your Passion conference. Our 2022 conference will be a full day event on April 28th. With safety and flexibility at the forefront, this will be a virtual conference with an in-person element. We will feature a national keynote speaker in the morning and feature several speakers in the afternoon. We believe providing content is important, however, we also want to provide you the tools to incorporate that knowledge into your business so we will also have a print publication that complements the conference for tangible take-aways as well as networking engagement so you can deepen your relationships with other attendees. The conference is open to women and men, members and non-members and there is a ticket charge to attend.
– Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast print publication. We are revamping what was our PWGC Magazine to a new format in 2022 and will release our publication to complement our conference in 2022. This free edition will feature interviews of successful leaders who share their honest thoughts on leadership, success, obstacles, and inspiration as it relates to women in business. We also include sponsored content articles on leadership, networking, and skill development, as well as member-spotlights of some of our PWGC members.
– Spark Your Power small group coaching program. We realize providing educational material is important, however, we believe that sometimes more tools are needed to help incorporate that material into lives and businesses. In 2022, we created a strategic partnership with a national executive coach to bring a small group coaching program to the members of PWGC. We will have more information and will start our inaugural group around our conference this year. This program is only open to members, there is an application process and a separate fee to participate.
– Mastermind Group meetings. Another benefit from COVID, is our twice-monthly mastermind group meetings. This is a micro-small (less than 10 people) group of business leaders that meet virtually to share thoughts, ideas, feedback, and support. When you are in a small business or solo-business, it can be vital to be able to bounce ideas off others or share discussions about struggles and solutions. This program is only open to members and there is a separate fee to participate.
– Membership in Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast is also available. We currently offer 2 options for membership – Traditional Member and Premier Member. Traditional members receive the basic benefits and Premier members receive those same benefits plus more. See our “Join PWGC” tab on our website for details on each membership level.
If you have any questions about PWGC or need to discuss any matter regarding PWGC, please reach out to our leaders at firstname.lastname@example.org.