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A Guide To Local Women's Professional Groups

By Johanna Cano, posted Sep 6, 2019
Women’s business and networking groups like The Inspiration Lab (shown above) have increased in the area in recent years as women seek out different professional development niches (Photo C/O The Inspiration Lab)
The number of local groups to help women grow professionally and in the community continues to expand. Here is just a sampling of some of them. A regularly updated list of groups as well as a monthly business and networking events calendar is available on the website of the Business Journal’s sister publication WILMA magazine (WILMAOntheWeb.com).


Cape Fear CREW

Year Founded: 2010
Description: “Cape Fear CREW is the leading organization for commercial real estate in the Cape Fear region in North Carolina … Members represent every aspect of the commercial real estate industry, including, but not limited to, law, leasing, brokerage, property management, finance, acquisitions and engineering.”
Current President: Connie Ronner
No. of Members: 54
Membership Cost: $325 annually
Events: Monthly luncheons with guest speakers or panels and networking opportunities; socials and lunch and learn-type opportunities; annual Cape Fear CREW Awards of Excellence luncheon to honor stand-out commercial real estate projects in the region as well as individuals
Info: capefearcrew.org or [email protected]

 

Cape Fear Women in Tech

Year Founded: 2014
Description: “Our vision is to make the Cape Fear Region the No. 1 employer of women in technology careers per capita in the country. We do this by championing opportunities for women in technology, empowering women to strive for these competitive positions and inspiring women to lead in those roles.”
Founders: Emilyanne Atkinson and Audrey Speicher
No. of Members: N/A
Membership Cost: Free
Events: Monthly events and/or meetups featuring speakers, workshops, community outreach or casual networking focused around STEM topics
Info: cfwit.com or [email protected]
 


Coastal Women Attorneys
(N.C. Association of Women Attorneys)

Year Founded: 2013
Description: “CWA was formed to serve women attorneys in Southeastern North Carolina in the Fourth, Fifth and 13th judicial districts, which includes New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen, Duplin, Onslow, Sampson and Jones counties. CWA is committed to increasing the participation of women attorneys in the legal profession, protecting the rights of women under the law and promoting and improving the administration of justice.”
Founder: Katy Lewis Parker
No. of Members: 36
Membership Cost: Various levels of membership with different fees
Events: Monthly networking events, which alternate between after-work social events and Continuing Legal Education lunch events. Events are open to all attorneys and the public. The CLE luncheon fees are $15 for members and $45 for nonmembers, which includes lunch and one hour of CLE credit.
Info: ncawa.org/cwa or [email protected]
 


The 3W Series
(Wilmington Women’s Workshops) 

Year Founded: 2019
Description: “Informal group of women that convenes quarterly for workshops to provide hands-on leadership development for Wilmington area professionals.”
Organizers: Alexandra Lysik and Ruth Ravitz Smith
No. of Members: N/A
Membership Cost: No charge, small fee to participate in workshops
Events: Quarterly half-day training events to help develop leadership skills; events include facilitated training sessions and time for networking
Info: [email protected]


 
The Inspiration Lab 

Year Founded: 2015
Description: “The Inspiration Lab was built for working women passionate about personal and professional development. We offer teachings and tools to improve your skills, productivity, creativity, emotional intelligence and well-being. We also provide opportunities for networking and connection with mixers, squads and meetups. We represent a variety of backgrounds and careers, but we’re all like-minded in being serious about success, maintaining a manageable worklife balance and supporting one another’s growth.”
Founder: Stephanie Lanier
No. of Members: 220+
Membership Cost: $9 a month and up
Events: Annual conference in the fall, quarterly-planning workshops called Banner Year Blueprint, monthly member meetups, expert-led workshops, interestbased small squads (such as small business owners and new to town) and member-only special events
Info: theinspirationlab.co
 


The Junior League of Wilmington

Year Founded: 1952
Description: “The Junior League of Wilmington is a women’s organization designed to empower women and to improve the community through the leadership of women as trained volunteers.”
Current President: Brittany Hughes
No. of Members: 80 active, 100 sustainers (now accepting new members through Sept. 9)
Membership Cost: New member $200, thereafter $185 yearly
Events: Monthly general membership meetings, personal development programs, social events and service learning programs, opportunities to attend national conferences
Info: jlwnc.org or [email protected]
 


Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County

Year Founded: 2011
Description: “WIN is a collective philanthropy nonprofit that makes yearly grants to nonprofits within the county. The focus of these grants rotates annually among four areas: education, health and wellness, the environment, and arts and culture.”
Board Chair: Kristine Moore
No. of Members: 100+
Membership Cost: $600 per year for next grant cycle
Events: Events focused on educating members about the year’s grant theme, on introducing its grant finalists each year and featuring updates from prior grant recipients; annual grants luncheon and annual meeting in addition to several social events per year
Info: winofnhc.org
 


Women to Watch Leadership Initiative

Year Founded: 2015
Description: “WILMA magazine launched a program in 2015 to help develop more women leaders in our region. The Women to Watch Leadership Initiative seeks to do that through a variety of programs and events throughout the year.”
Co-Directors: Maggi Apel and Vicky Janowski
No. of Members: Not membership based; 70+ WILMA Network members
Membership Cost: Programs range from free to tuition-based for Leadership Institute; sponsorships have various levels
Events: Nine-month Leadership Institute program, mentorship, board training and web-based board connector at wilmasgetonboard.com, annual women’s awards, annual conference, editorial platforms to feature area women and WILMA Network with regular events for sponsors
Info: wilmastowatch.com
 
 

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