‘Leading Ladies of Fort Dodge’ Responds to the Need for Professional Networking Opportunities for Women
1 Aug 2022
Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance launched Leading Ladies of Fort Dodge to address the need for networking expressed by area professional women, especially after the restrictions of the pandemic. Leading Ladies fosters space for socializing, learning, and forging connections.
“The purpose is to create a network for women in the community to connect them with each other and to have speakers with valuable information that they can take into their personal and professional lives,” said Lydia Schuur, communications specialist for the Growth Alliance.
Networking has long been valued as an avenue to share ideas, cultivate opportunities, improve creative intellect, expand resources, and grow in confidence. When Webster County women come together to share their talents and knowledge, dynamic benefits for the whole community have the chance to develop. Conversions sparked by innovative speakers can fuel ideas and initiatives that can positively impact the businesses and quality of life in the Fort Dodge, Iowa, area.
Kelly Halsted, Growth Alliance Economic Development Director, and Leah Glasgo, RN, BSN, MHA, UnityPoint Health–Fort Dodge CEO, were instrumental in establishing the quarterly Leading Ladies lunches.
“We are blessed to have some very talented and smart female leaders in our community, said Glasgo. “It has been a wonderful experience to meet together to share experiences and grow our network of support. We look forward to continuing to support women leaders in our community through the Leading Ladies of Fort Dodge.”
Representative Ann Meyer for House District 9, including Fort Dodge, Badger, Clare, Duncombe, and Vincent, spoke to dozens of women at the July lunch held at Iowa Central Community College’s Triton Cafe Board Room.
“I think these networking opportunities are important as we all have different issues and goals in our careers, and it's helpful to interact with others in different areas,” said Meyer. “It's a great chance to meet women you may not otherwise meet and develop relationships.”
“I am serving my second term in the Iowa legislature and currently serve as the chair of Human Resources Committee. My focus is increasing access to health care throughout Iowa, especially behavioral health care. I was happy to give Leading Ladies an update about what legislation has been passed and signed by the governor this year.”
The previous lunch featured Jen Pullen, a licensed mental health counselor and UnityPoint Health- Berryhill Center executive director. She shared her expertise in finding balance by understanding its role in mental health.
Shaunna Abrams, real estate loan officer at the United Bank of Iowa, attended that lunch. “The event looked interesting, and I also thought it would be a good way to meet new ladies in the community. I will be attending more of these events.” Abrams said she would be interested in having daycare in Fort Dodge and Webster County trails covered during future events.
“The one thing I learned was that you never know what the person sitting next to you or the person behind the counter is going through, so always be patient and courteous,” said Abrams.
Abrams said initiatives like Leading Ladies are important because “we need to have social interaction with friends, a way to meet new friends, and a way to learn more about our community, especially after two years of limited interaction. The networking was great; I talked to ladies I have not seen for years!”
Ann Feser, ARNP, attended the same lunch that focused on mental health information.
“Coming from the medical field and listening to another health professional show her passion, not only for her employer but for her patients and coworkers as well, was comforting, knowing we are in this together,” said Feser. “She also informed us about what she and her clinic have to offer for patients, which was helpful in the referral process as well. I was able to talk to women from all over the community, both familiar and those I made new connections with.”
“Getting women together to learn about our professions is important for personal and professional growth both locally and state-wide,” said Feser. “Staying informed improves your knowledge of what our city and state have to offer us and those we take care of.”
“I love hearing about the medical fields, but I am also interested in politics and legal information and would love to hear from local business owners as well.” Feser plans to attend future lunches as her schedule allows.
The Growth Alliance has also created a space on social media for this initiative to share information and news of upcoming events. The Leading Ladies of Fort Dodge Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/FDLeadingLadies.
Check out the June issue of Greater Fort Dodge Business Connection to learn about women across Webster County in leadership roles.