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Businesswomen gather to share stories, ideas
Some of Colusa County's most successful businesswomen met at Louis Cairo's in Williams on Sept. 19 to network and share stories and ideas.
The 19 women with diverse career backgrounds attended the Chamber of Commerce's Businesswoman to Businesswoman event. Banking, real estate, massage therapy, farming, quilting, baking, restaurant ownership, interior design and events managing were among the array of careers represented.
Also present were Colusa County's first woman chamber president, Susan Gibbs, and chamber president Donna Phelen.
"This is a Chamber of Commerce sponsored event for businesswomen to get out of their business and meet other business women. It's the third time we've done this," said event organizer Nancy Newlin.
Keynote speaker Jennifer Whitney shared stories of her path to becoming a news anchor in Sacramento, of moving on from the news industry in 2006, and of returning to school to become a marriage and family therapist.
"This is exactly what I was hoping it would be like tonight," Whitney said. "When I started, women were just starting to get on the news sets."
Whitney's description of a male-dominated news industry prompted one of the attendees to ask how business women can compete in male-dominated fields.
"I am in a business that is mostly men, in the fair business. How did you compete with the 'good ole boys' network?" fair manager Carolan Ferreria Meek asked Whitney.
In addition to Whitney, a number of women around the room responded with their own personal experiences and ideas.
"When I used to substitute in junior high, you had to wear tall shoes and a jacket and stare (the kids) down. You had to do that in a man's world," said Newlin on issues she had with classroom control.
"I was told that I had to wear skirts to court, that I couldn't wear pants," said Louis Cairo's owner Cristy Edwards, who started out as a a paralegal.
Edwards said: "I learned that I don't want to be with people or work with people who don't recognize me for my merit. It's not just about recognizing me as a woman, it's about recognizing me for what I do."
Attendee Theresa Bright, co-owner of Jeffreys Ranch Pecans, added, "Groups like this, where you form your own network, are a way to compete with that."