Clayton News-Star

Networking group teaches self-improvement

Kelly West, of First Citizens Bank, was the guest speaker at last week's Women in Networking meeting.
Kelly West, of First Citizens Bank, was the guest speaker at last week's Women in Networking meeting. ajames@newsobserver.com

About 30 businesswomen in Clayton have joined forces to create a network, and last week, the Women in Networking group gathered at the Wagner House for lunch.

Kelly West of First Citizens Bank was the guest speaker. She shared advice on how to build a brand, both personal and professional.

“It is important to capitalize on your strengths and develop areas of opportunity,” West told the women.

Even if unintentional, everyone has a brand, West said. Sometimes it’s negative – you’re always late for meetings. Sometimes it’s positive – you’re smart or reliable. But it’s always possible to change a bad brand into a good one, she said, by honing in on positive qualities and talents.

The networking group meets monthly to hear speakers. Sometimes the speakers come from within the group, other times from the community. Either way, the speakers share their experiences with their listeners. In the past, the group has held sessions on how to use Facebook effectively, and each meeting is a chance to network.

Guests are allowed to attend two meetings to see if they’d like to join. Dues are $50 a year.

Letha Sgritta McDowell, a new attorney in town, recently moved to Clayton from Virginia Beach, Va. She came to the luncheon to meet other women in business.

“I’m still trying to get to know the area and make connections, and I think after today I will end up joining and becoming a member,” McDowell said.

Women in the network must already be a member of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.

Female members of the chamber established WIN last April to encourage networking and growth opportunities for women in business. The founders said they had noticed a void in social and enrichment options available to women business leaders.

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