Women Empowering Women grows in popularity among local professionals

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Peachie Thompson knows what it takes to be a success. She has been chief operating officer at companies large and small and has worked in the insurance industry for more than 23 years. Today, she is owner of Peach Insurance Services in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Throughout her career, she has taken the initiative to mentor other women.

So, when she saw that a friend had written a post on Facebook about difficulties at work and seeking a support system, Thompson was quick to respond.

She recruited Stephanie Bewley and Tanya Cosmini, and they created a Facebook group to address the needs of professional women.

“Women Empowering Women was born out of that,” Thompson said.

The immediate response to the formation of such a group validated the women’s efforts. The group was formed in March, and at its inaugural meeting, more than 25 women attended. Just seven months later, that number has grown to 218.

“I don’t know how big this is going to get,” Thompson said. “All we know right now is we want to give back.”

The criteria for becoming a part of Women Empowering Women remains simple.

“If you’re a woman, if you’re a professional and you want a support system, you want to get educated, you want to network, you want to make friends, you want to have fun — then, that’s basically what we’re trying to do,” Thompson said.

The members recently had a “speed networking” program where they were encouraged to bring business cards and practice their “elevator speeches.”

Of course, Women Empowering Women is a social group as well.

“This is a group where you can be yourself as a woman, and you can expect very positive energy and learn from each other and support each other,” Thompson said.

Another component of the group is its charitable giving. At each meeting, members are encouraged to donate to a selected charity. The first charity the group chose was K9s For Warriors.

At this time, Women Empowering Women is not an official nonprofit. Rather, it’s an opportunity for women in all walks of life, whether they be executives or business owners or someone simply seeking employment, to gather for mutual support.

On Oct. 6, the group held a conference at the link in Nocatee, where they talked about Women Empowering Women.

Speakers were: Manisha Joshi of the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center on personal brand strategies, Alexia Lewis of Keeping Healthy Simple Club on self-care for busy women, global business leader Sara Frasca on innovation, Beverly Whitman of Highland Investment Advisors on financial literacy and Johanna Lawson of Sapna Academy on raising children that empower women. The designated charity was Port in the Storm, a safe place off the streets for homeless and unaccompanied youth in crisis.

Anyone who is interested in the group can email Thompson at peachie@peachinsurance.net.

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