Women Helping Women: Business Owners Find Value in Networking


In times of tragedy and opposition, like last month’s devastating fire in Weed, members of Siskiyou County’s two Women in Business Network (WIBN) chapters are there to encourage one another and help pick up the pieces.

Support between members isn’t reserved solely for times of hardship, said Lesa Michel, owner of The Gallery in Mount Shasta and current president of the Mount Shasta WIBN chapter. “We are here to lift each other up every day,” she said, through referrals, cross marketing, or just to lend a sympathetic ear. “When you have a small business, you can feel so isolated. It’s wonderful to have a group of smart, incredible women to depend on.”

“The connections I’ve made through women in business have resulted in long-term friendships, referrals and collaborations,” says Joy Taylor, Mt. Shasta WIBN member and owner of Wellness Ventures, LLC. “I am grateful for new business from referrals, but even more I appreciate networking with women of service and heart.”

The WIBN chapters in Mount Shasta and Yreka offer female entrepreneurs a chance to connect and share inspiration. The Mount Shasta chapter was founded in 2008. Two years ago, a Yreka Chapter was founded by Siskiyou County entrepreneurs Matilda de Franchis Unruh, owner of Bianca’s Gourmet; Caroline White Brask, owner of Food That’s Gold; and Joan Smith-Freeman, CEO of Clear Path Consulting.

In addition to monthly membership meetings, each November the two Siskiyou County chapters host a Women in Business Symposium, featuring knowledgeable and inspirational keynote speakers. Siskiyou County businesswomen as well as those from other Northern California counties are invited and encouraged to attend this year’s symposium, scheduled for Thursday, November 6, from 6 to 9 p.m. in Yreka. The location has yet to be announced.

The November symposium’s keynote speaker is Diane “Di” Strachan, who for over 25 years has worked with and trained hundreds of small businesses and organizations in marketing, management and leadership.

“Di Strachan was selected to be the speaker for this countywide event because she is well known as an upbeat and thought-provoking speaker, and she’s a role model as a woman in her power,” says Michel.

“Women in business groups allow women with common goals to learn from one another and grow together,” says Strachan. “All women with a goal are inspiring to me … people who want something for themselves and for others, and women who want to learn, share, be open and just enjoy being with each other.”

Strachan says her vision for the symposium is to provide an interactive presentation that involves each participant in a way that touches them and really matters for their professional lives. “I will provide and exchange insights, information, approach, and crazy stories of 30 years of being a woman in all kinds of leadership roles with men and women – sometimes successful, sometimes not – and what I have learned from it all.”

Ticket prices for the November 6 symposium are $25 for members and $50 for non-members. Price includes dinner, networking fun, and Strachan’s interactive presentation. Contact Lesa Michel for information and tickets by calling (530) 926-2334.  

Skye Kinkade
About Skye Kinkade

Skye Kinkade is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and mother of four lively children. She enjoys being part of a close-knit community that is so generous and kind in difficult times.

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