POWERFUL WOMEN OF THE GULF COAST
Based in Pensacola, Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast was organized by Kathleen Shoop, Natasha Parvey, and Kolleen Edwards Chesley to provide a venue for women in business to come together to share ideas, information, and networking contacts to help each other be more successful in business. In the Fall of 2013, they reorganized and the organization took on the name “Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast.” A recognized Florida not-for-profit organization, the mission of PWGC is to promote, advance and improve women in business. Their monthly networking meetings and the Pursue Your Passion Conference are their two signature events. Today, the organization is run under the leadership of Kolleen Edwards Chesley as Founding Director.
Kolleen Edwards Chesley has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, spending the majority as a financial advisor. She was responsible for finding her own clients and quickly learned the value of networking, networking, and even more networking. It was in 2004 and during her sales career that she, along with two other business women, met for lunch to help motivate each other after Hurricane Ivan. When Ivan blew through our area, it changed not only the physical landscape of the area, but also impacted the business landscape as well. The lunch was amazing and the women were inspired to continue these impromptu women’s lunches focused on inspiring each other to business success. Out of that lunch was born what is now a thriving not-for-profit organization for business women. 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.
The organization advocates a culture of confidence building, lifelong learning, collaboration, empowering others and a spirit of charitable giving. Our mission is to promote, advance and improve women in business and we accomplish this in multiple ways:
- Monthly networking meetings in Pensacola and Gulf Breeze – open to all women and no charge to attend. We run a structured meeting with open networking, an educational segment, a sponsor presentation, an opportunity to hear about the businesses of all attendees, 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. The Pensacola meetings include lunch paid for by our sponsors.
- Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast Magazine. We produced 4 editions of our print magazine. Each edition features interviews of local successful leaders in business who share their honest thoughts on leadership, success, obstacles, and inspiration as it relates to women in business. We also include other articles on leadership, networking, and other skill development. It is geared for anyone in business or looking for business motivation and tips. Our goal is for this to be a quarterly publication, however, the magazine is currently on hold as we explore graphic designers. Our latest edition can still be found on our website.
- Pursue Your Passion Women’s conference. To celebrate National Business Women’s Week, we hold a full day and a half long conference during the third week of October. We feature a national keynote speaker, several local successful leaders in business, along with Speed Networking, an Experience Hall, structured and unstructured networking exercises and plenty of laughter, relationship building and excitement. Our attendees are not only motivated by the conference but they leave with tangible tips they can take back and implement in their businesses to lead them to success.
- Power Up Challenge is a 12 week educational series with classes held for an hour and a half once a week. Classes focus on four main areas of business: Networking, Marketing, Business Efficiency, and Sales Skills. Open to anyone business-minded and all classmates receive the full audio recording of each class along with class notes, expanded notes, and extra resources. Remote classes also available. Classes are affordable and attendees are elated with the amount and quality of the information that is shared.
- Pay-It-Forward Leadership Book Program. To provide access to free tools on inspiration, mentoring, marketing, and other leadership or development topics, we are proud to have used (or sometimes new) leadership books available for attendees at our monthly meetings, our conference and other events. We encourage attendees to take a free book, read the book and then pass it onto another businesswoman to help inspire her along her business journey.
Membership in Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast is also available. However, you do not have to be a member of PWGC to attend any of our events/classes.
Like clockwork, we meet for PWGC-Pensacola always on the 1st Friday of every month, always from 11:30-1:00pm, always at the Gulf Coast Kid’s House on 12th Avenue. We also have PWGC-Gulf Breeze, always on the 3rd Friday of every month, always from 11:30-1:00pm, always at the La Brisa, Gulf Breeze. There is no charge to attend our meetings. They are WOMEN ONLY events, so feel free to grab a couple of girlfriends to bring with you and help share the WBL experience!
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.