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“Connecting for Women” event continues to promote unity among women in the workplace

Taylor Nunley
Around 20 women attended the Thursday, Sept. 21 “Connecting for Women” breakfast networking event in the lounge of Grinnell College’s golf course.

The Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Connecting for Women” series returned this past Thursday, Sept. 21 in what was the first event of three. Around 20 local Grinnell women interested in business and professional development showed up to chat and network in a breakfast social at the Grinnell College Golf Course lounge — women of all ages and life experiences were in attendance.   

The “Connecting for Women” series started in 2019 almost strictly as an information session for women in the Central Iowa area. 

Kendra Vincent, Grinnell chamber member engagement coordinator, said the series was originally started by Des Moines’ chamber of commerce, as part of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Nearby communities of women in Newton, Knoxville and Grinnell were invited. 

Grinnell’s chamber decided to start hosting events in their own town after seeing that most in attendance at these events were local to Grinnell. 

Vincent also said the Grinnell chamber received feedback from women asking for more opportunities to connect with other women. Therefore, “Connecting for Women” expanded from just one Keynote information session to two networking events — starting and ending the series with the same Keynote session hosted in between. 

This year, the first networking event featured question prompts centered around business and workplace topics. 

“This is our first session that we’ve had more structured kinds of questions for people,” said Rachael Kinnick, president and CEO of the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce. 

“I think that really helped, because networking  can be hard … It can be a really intimidating experience.” 

Many women at the event said they had either attended past “Connecting for Women” events and knew some of the other women in attendance, or they had seen each other around town. 

Networking can be hard … It can be a really intimidating experience.

— Rachael Kinnick

Some were newcomers, though, like 27-year-old Caitlin Butcham from Grinnell Mutual Insurance Company. Butcham attended with coworker Barb Baker, director of advertising and community relations at Grinnell Mutual insurance.

Kinnick said the whole reason for the start of the programming was to provide a place where women could connect further, in the workplace and beyond. 

“I think that women don’t typically ask for help,” Kinnick said. “And so I think this allows women to realize that there are other people just like them in similar positions. So if we can lean on each other to become better in whatever way — whether that’s in the workplace, the family, the home life — whatever that looks like. Just building that connection and relationship.” 

Grinnell’s  chamber will continue with their “Connecting for Women” series with their Keynote presentation at Grinnell Mutual on Thursday, Oct. 12 — tickets are required. The presentation will feature speaker Tina Bakehouse from Grinnell Mutual talking on “3 Tips to Become a More Magnetic Communicator.” 

Another networking social at Solera will conclude the set of three for this year on Thursday, Oct. 26. 

Both Vincent and Kinnick said they welcome Grinnell College students to these events. 

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About the Contributor
Taylor Nunley
Taylor Nunley, Community Editor
Taylor is a second-year Classics and English double major from Huntington, West Virginia. Her life-long goal is to ride as many forms of transportation as possible.
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