From the desk of Ronnie Noize, WEO President
April 1, 2016
Ask any WEO member who has been in our organization for over two years why she renews, and chances are that she'll tell you she stays because of the relationships she's developed at WEO.
Of course, she'll probably also say that she enjoys the high quality programs and speakers, the delish meals at the Heathman, and the increased visibility in the local women's business community that WEO offers--I mean, who doesn't love all that about WEO?
But the real reason members stay in WEO is usually for the relationships and connections with other like-minded entrepreneurial women.
Being the curious type, I've also chatted with women who have chosen to let their memberships lapse, and here's what I've discovered: The main reason women leave WEO is that they failed to make meaningful connections with others. Not the expense (which, let's face it, is minimal in the big picture), not the timing, not that they don't appreciate the benefits, but that they simply didn't forge the relationships they'd hoped for and expected.
Of course, sometimes members drop out for other reasons that have nothing to do with WEO, but the connection thing is something we can fix, so let's do it. Here are my suggestions for what we all can do to help other women experience the joys and support of the strong sisterhood here at WEO:
1. Reach out to new members for coffee or lunch--but leave the samples and sales kits in the office! Extend the hand of friendship by getting to know other women at WEO outside the regular meetings. Make your agenda simply to make a friend, and learn about how they got started in business, find out what drives them, and what they hope to get out of WEO. You may even want to share your insights and experiences with WEO--they'll no doubt appreciate your perspective.
2. Make a point of sitting with and introducing yourself to new members (and guests) at WEO's monthly meetings. Yes, I know how lovely it is to sit with our own little coteries at meetings to catch up and connect, but why not include the new gals, too? Remember that WEO meetings can feel intimidating and overwhelming to newbies, especially those who found us on their own and have no friends in the group, so lets make the effort to make them feel welcome and included because that's the WEO way.
3. Show up at the wonderful WEO Women on the Side coffee and happy hour events. These casual, friendly meetings are perfect for connecting on a social basis, are easy on the budget and the calendar, because there is no meeting fee (other than the cost of your beverage), and typically last only 60-90 minutes. These short little socials are a great way to get to know members as well as introduce prospective members to WEO, so do make it a point to put these on your calendar.
Ladies, it is in all of our best interests to make every member feel welcome, included and connected, because that's how we create a strong organization.
Thank you for supporting women in business--we're here for YOU! #WEORocks!