On International Women’s Day, the newly relaunched Women’s Chamber Of Commerce generously hosted us as guests at their International Women’s Day luncheon held at Atlanta’s Historic Swan House. To describe the afternoon as transformative is an understatement. Women from across metro-Atlanta, and as far away as Palm Beach, Florida convened to network, engage and collaborate on the advancement of women. With a theme centered on “where do we go from here?”, the lively and often lighthearted conversational tone of the luncheon, still underscored the critical need for women to mobilize for action and continue the quest for gender equity and inclusion. It was evident that each woman in the room understood how grateful they were to be in a room with other inspiring, successful, and intelligent women. Thanks to Jill Goodrich, the president of The Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the organization is managing to successfully bridge the gap between professional women in Atlanta. We had the pleasure of speaking with Jill, to ask about her experience relaunching the WCC, what brings her the most joy doing this work, and what members have to look forward to.
Before we began, can you tell us a little about your entrepreneurial background?
I’ve been an entrepreneur since the age of four. My first entrepreneurial endeavor was picking raspberries, putting them up by the street and selling them to cars going by. My goal was to get a strawberry shortcake book bag that I really wanted to take to kindergarten. I sold raspberries until I earned enough to go get my book bag.
In a few sentences, can you sum up the goal of The Women’s Chamber Of Commerce?
The goal of The WCC is to promote women in business, women in the workplace, and women striving for positions on boards. We want to help women reach places where we are under-served. That includes community organizations as well. We want to provide resources and point women in the right direction. For example, one of our upcoming programs is based on negotiation. We want to teach women how to negotiate for better programs and better pay in the workplace. We sometimes take what we are given, and we don’t negotiate, if we teach women to value their product or their work we come one step closer to closing the gender gap.
Why was it important that you reorganize The Women’s Chamber Of Commerce?
I’ve been a small business owner myself for nearly 20 years, and I see the struggles of the ladies employed or partially employed. I see the struggles of women who have start-up business they don’t know what do with and don’t know how to get funded. I was there myself, so I see the struggle. I want to do what I can to assist. I’ve always worked, worked, worked and when I stopped everything to take care of my mother when she was sick it opened my heart a little, and I realized I needed to be giving back.
What do you love most about being president of The Women’s Chamber Commerce?
What I enjoy the most is bringing women together, it’s extremely uplifting.
What are the benefits of being a member of WCC?
I think the biggest benefit of being a member is gaining a supporting system! I am promoting business to business support, networking, education programming, and mentoring. Also, we have a very diverse group, not just race wise, but age and experience. We come from all different backgrounds. That gives the group a unique vibe and creates a unique experience for our members.
What kind of things is the Women’s Chamber of Commerce looking forward to in 2017?
We’re looking forward to giving back to the community, mostly through scholarships.
What are some things you want readers to take away from this?
I want them to know that we’re ready to make a change, a bold change. A lot of organizations will take your money and add you to a list, and that’s it! We’re here to really support the women in our network! For example, one of the first women to join the WCC is an author. We’ve all gone together, to several of her book signings, just to support her, and that is something we want to do for everyone one, support them whether it’s through educational programming, mentoring, or moral support. If the women are successful, then the WCC is successful.
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