Published May 21, 2013
Volume 21, Number 5

Growing GNON Confirms Women Are Natural Networkers

(Photo courtesy of GNON.)

The Girls Night Out Networking group (GNON) will celebrate its fifth anniversary on June 4, but what it is really celebrating is the natural talent of women for networking and founder Frances Hewitt’s instinctive ability to create the ideal setting for interaction.

GNON hosts monthly gatherings designed “to provide an opportunity where women empower each other in a 'fun' and 'informal' setting for the sake of camaraderie and business development,” according to the group's mission statement. The events take place in a rotating variety of venues with a standard but casual format, crafted to encourage engagement among all participants. Borrowing from other business models, an ambassador program makes sure every woman is welcomed into the group. Trade shows two times a year give members the chance to make their businesses more visible.

Yet Hewitt, the owner of FHI Marketing Consultants, insists it is not specifically a business-to-business gathering, as attested by the diversity of the typical attendance. “We have women ranging from the self- or corporate-employed to retirees and stay-at-home moms to job-seekers who arrive resume in hand,” she notes, adding, “Women empower women.  It’s hard to explain the energy that occurs, but you just don’t feel it at other events.”

Women also like to do business with other women, she observes. The effectiveness of “the law of reciprocity” is regularly confirmed when Hewitt asks GNON members who have a business if they have been experiencing growth. The number of affirmative responses is going up steadily as they meet more people through the network, she reports. 

Not surprisingly, GNON has been experiencing its own growth—at a rather explosive pace. Rising interest in all corners of the Bay Area has triggered an expansion into multiple chapters. The original Tri-Valley Hometown chapter debuted in 2008 to an audience of 12 women. Today, the organization has an overall email distribution list of 1,200 women. To accommodate the geographical spread, three new chapters—Diablo Valley, South Bay, and East Bay—are now hosting events of their own.

GNON has also added a philanthropic component to the productive, fun-filled mingling. The July 17 event, held outside Hairlights Salon, will feature a fundraiser for the Valley Humane Society (VHS). The September 12 meeting is dedicated to a gift drive for Pleasanton Military Families. “It’s our third time partnering with this group. Our venue will be decorated in red, white, and blue, and members bring items like magazines, protein snacks, and movies to go in the pack-out for members of the military.”

On December 5 the group will host a holiday celebration for seniors at the new Club One of Pleasanton. Drawing on her own volunteer experiences bringing her VHS Pet Therapy dog to local nursing homes, Hewitt convinced the GNON Board of Directors that the outreach would be much appreciated.

GNON’s upcoming birthday party, which will take place on June 4 at Girasole Grill in Pleasanton, provides a perfect introduction to the group for prospective members. For details, visit www.gnontrivalley.com.  

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