Women in the Temecula Valley are finding new ways to connect, grow and make new friendships thanks to the new networking group, Women’s Peer Connection.
Previously known as the Temecula Valley Express Network of the American Business Women’s Association, Women’s Peer Connection had its first monthly meeting Thursday, Aug. 9.
As a national charter, the group felt hampered by the higher membership dues and processes inherent in such a large organization. By organizing a smaller, member-run organization like that of Women’s Peer Connection, they hope to create a more intimate atmosphere that will establish stronger connections that will better benefit members.
“We decided to replace it with a new local organization with its own mission statement and agenda that is designed to meet the needs of the women currently in our group and community,” said Women’s Peer Connection Chairperson Nichole Albrecht of Temecula Valley Express Network. “We want to work on deeper relationship building rather than networking.”
Women’s Peer Connection meets from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second Thursday of every month at Bailey’s in Old Town Temecula. First time guests may attend for free. Members pay $15 and returning guests pay $25.
Much of the focus in typical networking groups is on surface “mixer” type networking, but the Women’s Peer Connection intends to build relationships through small group conversations and discussions of both business and personal topics as part of its regular agenda.
“In our busy, stressed-out, over-committed lives we rarely communicate as often as we would like,” said board member Carolyn Kahla. “When we reach out to other women, it’s usually because we need something, when it should be because we wish to stay in touch. Establishing a bond before you actually need something will greatly increase your chance of positive communication.”
At each monthly meeting a guest speaker will discuss a new topic. Thursday’s speaker was Tim Beck from The New YOU Academy. He talked about personal goals, life goals and how to be on the right track.
“We usually have phenomenal speakers,” Albrecht said. “Not everyone in the group is a business owner. Some are stay-at-home moms. Sometimes it’s just a nice way to spend time with other women. I have a lot of nice relationships I’ve formed.”
Upcoming speakers include Jonnie Fox Flanagan from The Magnolia School of Etiquette and Protocol and style expert Marija Maxfield.
Flanagan will talk with the group about business etiquette and protocol. Maxfield will discuss everyday style and plans to bring several outfits that will show the group how they can pair outfits and jewelry from their own closets to create new, exciting looks.
Some of the upcoming guest speakers will focus on business, while others may appeal to a broader female audience.
“Business and professional networking groups typically associate with each other focusing on business and career growth,” Albrecht said. “WPC intends to emphasize deepening connections with other women for relationship and personal growth. Many of the founding members have already established lifelong friendships and devotion to one another. WPC is a way for us to meet consistently and continue to extend and broaden our circle.”
To learn more, visit http://www.facebook.com/WomensPeerConnection.
Jennifer Dean is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.