In October 2004, Pensacola was hit by Hurricane Ivan that left $26 billion of property damage in its wake. People lost homes, businesses and had their lives turned upside down. Kolleen Chesley was a financial advisor and relied on face-to-face networking to find clients, much of which ceased after the storm. She, and two other businesswomen, met for lunch for motivation and were amazed at how much business guidance they shared with each other. There was something different about the way women networked with other women. Out of that lunch over 15 year ago, a not-for-profit was born.
Kolleen serves full-time as Founding Director of what was originally Women’s Business Lunch and now known as Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast, a community-benefit organization. Our vision is to be the premier women’s organization for 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. Held in Pensacola & Gulf Breeze, open to anyone in business and free to attend. Structured meetings include open networking, educational segments, sponsor presentations, 30 second commercials from all attendees, and a whole lot of fun. These meeting are chock full of value and a great way to build new relationships to help support businesses. The Pensacola meetings include lunch paid for by our sponsors.
- Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast Magazine. We were proud to bring back our print magazine in 2019! Editions feature interviews of local successful leaders sharing honest thoughts on leadership, success, obstacles, and inspiration as it relates to women in business. We also include articles on leadership, networking, and skill development. The magazine is geared for anyone in business looking for business motivation and tips.
- Pursue Your Passion Women’s conference. Celebrating National Business Women’s Week, we hold multi-day conference during the third week of October. We feature a national speaker focused on tactile information for women in business, feature several local speakers on motivation and sharing their stories, and include structured and unstructured networking, great resources for women and plenty of laughter and fun. Our 2020 conference is Wednesday, October 21st and Thursday, October 22nd at Sanders Beach.
- Power Up Challenge classes. 12-week educational series that meets weekly focused on four areas of business: Networking, Marketing, Business Efficiency, and Sales Skills. Open to business-minded individuals and classmates receive full audio recording of each class along with class notes, expanded notes, and extra resources. Remote classes also available. Classes are affordable and chock full of valuable content. Series offered several times a year.
- Women in Leadership twice monthly shows featuring our members, local community leaders and other businessmen and women with conversational style in-depth interviews and advice on mentoring, keys to success, time management tools, personal mantras and inspirations, and how men can support women in business.
- Pay-It-Forward Leadership Books. 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.
- New Programs for Members started in 2019 – We now offer a scholarship program in which members are eligible to apply for discounted membership or discounts to attend approved training with a limited number of approved collaborative relationships. We also started a Member Give Back in which members vote for PWGC to donate a small charitable contribution to a local non-profit. The amount donated is based on our current membership numbers.
- We offer two levels of membership; however, we do not require membership to attend our events.
Monthly networking meetings are held in Pensacola and Gulf Breeze. Pensacola meets the first Friday of every month from 11:30-1:00 at the Gulf Coast Kid’s House at 3401 North 12th Avenue (please use the entrance to the right of the building into the Sandy Sanding Conference Room). Gulf Breeze meets the third Friday of every month from 11:30 to 1:00 at Beef O’ Brady’s at 344 Gulf Breeze Parkway. Lunch is provided on a donation basis for the Pensacola meetings. For the Gulf Breeze meetings, we do ask each attendee to purchase something off the menu for lunch to compensate the restaurant for hosting our meetings. Other than that, there is no charge to attend our meetings and you do not have to be a member to attend. Please bring plenty of business cards and other marketing information about your business and we do ask each attendee to stand up and introduce their business at each meeting. These meetings are designed for women in business so grab a girlfriend or two and help share the Powerful Women 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.