Changes ahead for women’s chamber

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Changes are ahead for the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce as it celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018, following a burst of growth.

The chamber’s monthly networking events will be hosted in different venues, new programs will be offered and a new magazine will be published by the chamber starting in February.

In 2017, the women’s chamber saw significant growth in event attendance and membership, according to President and CEO Lola Woloch.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Woloch said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we doubled our membership by the end of next year.”

The monthly networking events previously held in the Harvey Room at Catalyst Campus will now be held at the Space Foundation Discovery Center and The Pinery at the Hill, Woloch said.

Attendance at the chamber’s networking events increased by 70 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to Woloch, and attendance at this year’s holiday luncheon gala on Dec. 12 was up 75 percent. Around 200 people attended, but Woloch had to turn people away since the event reached capacity at the Garden of the Gods Collection.

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Now the women’s chamber has almost 300 members — a 58 percent increase from 2016, she said, adding that 20 new members joined in November alone.

“I think there’s a need in the community for the women’s chamber,” Woloch said. “You see what’s happening on the national scale with a lot of women stepping into a lot of leadership roles [while] still obviously faced with some of the challenges in the workplace. 

“I also think what the women’s chamber does is provide proper resources, tools and connections and the three key focus areas we’re committed to is growing business, driving value to our members and advocating for business.”

Woloch said the chamber will offer two new events next year, one of which is a high-level leadership program called Leading from Within, which was created by business management consulting firm Wisdom Works Group. It includes a leadership assessment, support for personal and leadership transformation, a two-hour briefing with an executive coach, two workshop retreats and two peer-coaching sessions.

Another new event is a panel which will address sexual harassment in the workplace for the chamber’s business luncheon Jan. 16.

Additional 2018 events will be announced later, Woloch said, and in February the women’s chamber will unveil its own magazine for southern Colorado. The magazine will feature the chamber’s events, Q&As with women leaders from different industries and a membership directory.

Speakers at the chamber’s 2018 events include SherryLynn Boyles, executive director of TESSA; Suzanne Tulien, founder and principal of The Brand Ascension Group; and Lynne Telford, president and CEO of Care and Share.

“2018 will truly be a remarkable year for the women’s chamber,” Woloch said.