Business Women’s Network looking to re-brand
The Business Women’s Network of Rainy River District is planning to re-brand itself, including changing its name, in order to open up the group to more women in the area.
“We want people to understand that it’s not just for women in business—it’s for women in general, professional women, people that have jobs outside of their home, home-based businesses, all of those,” explained member Angela Halvorsen.
“That way, we’re not limiting it to just business women but will also include professionals, managers, employees, youth, and other leaders in the community,” she reasoned.
Halvorsen said the idea of re-branding came because the group wants to see some growth.
“Our membership has been pretty much the same for years,” she explained, noting when the BWN first started up, there were many members and then it filtered out to the group of about 25 they have today.
“We’ve been trying to get ideas on ways we could bring that [membership] up,” Halvorsen said.
She noted when speaking to people, many believe they have to be business owners to be a member of the group.
“They don’t feel it is the right fit for them, so we’re trying to open that scope to be more women in general,” Halvorsen remarked.
While there will be some business women involved, they really would like to expand the group.
“Some of the professionals, like teachers, accountants, all the different types of people who are out there,” Halvorsen said.
She also stressed the importance of having a group such as this is to bring women together.
“Women have different challenges than men,” she said. “It’s a lot about networking and learning.”
The group often brings in guest speakers. And in fact, their meeting tonight features Stacia Kean and Karen Lynn Evans from the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise in Thunder Bay.
“The topic is about home/work balance,” Halvorsen noted. “That’s something a lot of women struggle with because, looking back, stereotypically, women stayed home with the kids and didn’t work.
“Nowadays that isn’t always available or desired for women to stay home,” she added. “But they’re still expected to do a lot of those same things at home.
“Sometimes people get burned out and you need to have that balance.
“So there some challenges that men might not face at the same level as women do,” she said.
Halvorsen added the BWN also is great for networking and getting to know other women in the area.
“We’ll support each other, whether it’s through our business, through referring other people to go talk to them,” she explained.
“We work together and can use each other as resources.”
With the re-branding, the group wants to do more than just changing its name to attract more members. They also want to change their meetings and do some new things.
“It doesn’t hurt to change things up every once and a while,” Halvorsen reasoned.
“Breathe some new life into the network because it does get people excited again, and gets people talking and looking at different ways to improve.”
While none of the new ideas are confirmed yet, the group is looking at planning more speakers and presentations from other groups and organizations in the area that want to get their word out to the members.
They also are looking at training sessions such as social media, personal growth, home/work balance, marketing and promotions, and many more.
As well, they’re going to try holding their business section of the meeting at the end instead of in the middle. That way, the executive and any other interested people can stay and take part and those that have to leave can do so.
Halvorsen stressed members do not have to come out for the whole meeting.
“We’re not real strict—just come whenever you can make it,” she said.
The group meets on the third Wednesday of each month (September-June) at 5:30 p.m. at the Rainy River Future Development Corp. office (068 Scott St.)
Membership fees for the year are $60 for active members and $75 for inactive ones (i.e., are not on committees).
But Halvorsen said people are welcome to attend three meetings before they choose whether to become a member. If members join after the start of the year, fees are prorated.
“We want to make sure that we are meeting a real need for the business and professional women in the area, and so making a difference in our communities,” she remarked.
For more information about the group, contact chair Inga Friesen at 486-3119 or Halvorsen at 274-3276.