Women from all walks of business gathered recently at Olde Point Golf and Country Club in Hampstead to mingle and network during Topsail Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Women Connect luncheon.
The event was attended by a dozen business owners from a variety of industries in the Greater Topsail area. During the luncheon, the women exchanged business cards, socialized and chatted about their enterprises over meals at Christopher’s Restaurant and Lounge.
Tammy Proctor, executive director for the Topsail Chamber of Commerce, said she arranged the women-only luncheon because she identified a need to better connect businesses in her recently enlarged commerce region.
“Since the merger with the Hampstead Chamber of Commerce, our new chamber area now ranges from Scotts Hill to Sneads Ferry,” Proctor said. “We need to build relationships within the chamber so we can support one another and grow our businesses. We are excited to provide this networking opportunity exclusively for women.”
Each attendee was given time to speak in front of the newly formed networking group to explain who they were and what business they represented. Christine Divoky of the Cape Fear Literacy Council joined the luncheon to promote her new business, Cape Fear Barter, and to find advocates for adult literacy.
“Forty percent of the adult population in Cape Fear still struggle with reading,” Divoky said. “People are regularly doing business with people who have inadequate reading skills and they just don’t know it. The Literacy Council is always looking for students, sponsors, volunteers and advocates to spread the word. I am also trying to gain traction for Cape Fear Barter. A lot of people around here utilize barter, but there hasn’t been a centralized clearing house specifically for local businesses until now.”
Also attending the meeting was newly elected Holly Ridge Mayor Anita Dingler, who said she was there to embrace her role as a town leader and become more involved in her community.
“I already know the Topsail Chamber people, but everyone else here is a new face to me, which is exciting,” Dingler said. “I hope to become more familiar with businesses in our area and build stronger relationships with everyone in the community.”
The Women Connect luncheon will continue to be held every second Tuesday of every month, according to the Chamber’s website. Proctor also revealed upcoming business events hosted by the Topsail Chamber of Commerce include a business after hours gathering, an annual dinner and a casual “lunch bunch” group that regularly dines together. As for those attending Women Connect, Proctor hopes to continually develop the group at future meetings.
“The goal would be to eventually bring in specific speakers to address issues that we as businesswomen deal with,” Proctor said. “Right now, though, I feel we just need to get to know each other better.”
To register for the next Women Connect luncheon on April 8 or to participate in any other chamber events, contact the Topsail Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 910-329-4446.