Cham­ber host­ing Women to Women biz sum­mit

Sec­ond an­nual event con­tin­ues to grow, en­gage women lead­ers

Maryland Independent - - Business - By DAR­WIN WEIGEL dweigel@somd­ Twit­ter: @somd_bized­i­tor

It started as an hour­long break­fast be­tween women busi­ness lead­ers and own­ers in Calvert and St. Mary’s coun­ties, but has since grown into the Women to Women Re­gional Sum­mit at­tract­ing women from around the re­gion and state.

The sum­mit, now in its sec­ond year, is hosted by the Women to Women Com­mit­tee of the Calvert County Cham­ber of Com­merce. In­stead of an hour, it’s sched­uled for more than five hours this year with a catered con­ti­nen­tal break­fast and lunch from Brick Wood Fired Bistro in Prince Fred­er­ick.

This year’s event, sched­uled for Wednes­day, Aug. 3, runs from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land Prince Fred­er­ick Cam­pus and in­cludes keynote speak­ers, ven­dors and break­out ses­sions geared to­ward women in the work­force and in busi­ness.

“You can meet other lo­cal women in busi­ness in the South­ern Mary­land area and de­velop re­la­tion­ships with these women to help fur­ther grow your own busi­ness,” sum­mit chair­woman Stacy John­son said. “It’s also for sea­soned women in busi­ness, whether you work in a cor­po­ra­tion or whether you own a small busi­ness or whether you work from home as a free­lance pho­tog­ra­pher. Any­body can at­tend and help grow your net­work.”

The Chap­tico res­i­dent has been in­volved with the Women to Women Com­mit­tee for three years, but this is her first as the sum­mit’s chair­woman. As a mar­ket­ing co­or­di­na­tor for Ra­di­ol­ogy Imag­ing As­so­ciates, John­son ini­tially got in­volved to pro­mote breast health but was quickly drawn into the re­la­tion­ship build­ing the group — and the sum­mit — pro­motes.

“I de­vel­oped per­sonal re­la­tion­ships with these ladies that I re­ally love,” John­son said. “I’m get­ting mar­ried and I’m us­ing one of the peo­ple from the group as my pho­tog­ra­pher for my wed­ding. We help each other grow in our busi­nesses as well as our per­sonal lives.”

The sum­mit kicks off with a con­ti­nen­tal break­fast and an hour or so of net­work­ing. There will also be ven­dor ta­bles geared to­ward women’s health, cloth­ing, in­sur­ance and real es­tate as well as a free “swag bag” of gifts.

The open­ing speaker is Shelby Tuck-Hor­ton, a bridal con­sul­tant and wed­ding plan­ner in the re­gion, who will talk about goal set­ting and de­vel­op­ing achiev­able goals.

“Then we’ll go into our break­out ses­sions where you can ei­ther go to ‘Be Your Best: Dress­ing for Suc­cess,’ ‘Be a Bet­ter Pub­lic Speaker’ or ‘Work-Life Bal­ance,’” John­son said. “You can do two.” The ses­sions are 45 min­utes long and will lead into lunch.

“We’re go­ing to end the day with Cindy Allen — she’s the keynote speaker. She’s the chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor with Am­trak Po­lice and she’s go­ing to talk about ca­reer chal­lenges for women in the work­force,” John­son said.

Allen, who is from Calvert County, was the county’s first fe­male sher­iff’s deputy when she joined the Calvert County Sher­iff’s Of­fice in 1983, ris­ing up the chain of com­mand over 21 years. Af­ter a stint at the St. Mary’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, she joined the Am­trak Po­lice Depart­ment, where she was cap­tain of strate­gic plan­ning and re­search from 2013 to June of this year, ac­cord­ing to her bio.

Bill Cham­bers, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Calvert cham­ber, said the Women to Women Com­mit­tee is the largest com­mit­tee at the cham­ber and reg­u­larly at­tracts the largest crowd for its monthly lun­cheon.

“It gets any­where from 50 to 60 women at­tend­ing [ev­ery month]. It’s dou­bled since I’ve been here,” Cham­bers said of the group that meets ev­ery sec­ond Wednes­day of the month at Springhill Suites by Mar­riott in Prince Fred­er­ick.

“I think a lot of it is just get­ting qual­ity speak­ers,” he said. “It’s mor­phed into a com­mit­tee with a lot of ed­u­ca­tion in mind and is very sup­port­ive of busi­ness. Their meet­ings are real meat-and-pota­toes kind of stuff with solid speak­ers backed up with a lot of in­for­ma­tion.”

The first sum­mit last year drew 105 women, mostly from the re­gion, but 11 dif­fer­ent Mary­land cham­bers of com­merce were rep­re­sented at the event as well, in­clud­ing peo­ple from the East­ern Shore, Western Mary­land and Bal­ti­more.

“We’ll ex­ceed that this year,” Cham­bers said. “I was re­ally happy with last year’s num­ber. Even with it be­ing Au­gust — which isn’t a good time for these kinds of things — we’ve got­ten a re­ally good turnout.”

He said he could see the sum­mit grow­ing into a full day af­fair fur­ther down the road and ex­pand­ing into other re­gions of the state.

“We don’t have any plans for that right now, but I could see it hap­pen­ing,” he said. “We’re start­ing to get peo­ple from the East­ern Shore and Western Mary­land.”

Reg­is­tra­tion for the event is due by Mon­day, Aug. 1, and the cost is $45, which in­cludes break­fast and lunch. For reg­is­tra­tion, go to www. calvertcham­ or call 410-535-2577.

Speak­ing of the sum­mit as well as the Women to Women Com­mit­tee, John­son said it’s one of the best things busi­ness women can get in­volved in, whether new to the busi­ness world or work­force, or with years of ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It en­gages you within the com­mu­nity and can make you feel em­pow­ered as you go through­out your work day — meet women, grow your busi­ness, feel em­pow­ered to be the best woman you can be,” she said.


Stacy John­son of Chap­tico is the chair­woman of the Women to Women Re­gional Sum­mit. She joined the Women to Women Com­mit­tee of the Calvert County Cham­ber of Com­merce three years ago.

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