Girls Night Out Networking (GNON), a local group founded in 2008 by Frances Hewitt, has a straightforward mission: to provide an opportunity where women empower each other in a fun and informal setting for the sake of camaraderie and business development.
"What is unique about my group, and this is something that even 8 years later I'm still educating people about, is that you don't have to have a business nor work for a company nor be employed to come to a GNON event. GNON is basically about women gathering together to empower each other and help each other out," Hewitt says. "I get an average of about 50 to 75 women each month at my event and I have women who are self-employed, I have a lot of small businesses, I have women who are corporate employed, and I have women who are stay at home moms and want to get out."
This open door policy, Hewitt says, allows for a greater variety of networking opportunities. "Someone who is a stay-at-home mom may not have a business but she still may want to meet a massage therapist because she likes to get a massage, or maybe somebody in the group needs a plumber and her husband is a plumber," she says. "You never know where the connection and the networking is going to lead you."
GNON will be celebrating its eight years of success on June 6 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at California Collision at 57 California Avenue in Pleasanton. As is also true of GNON's annual holiday meeting in December, spouses and significant others are invited to attend the June birthday meeting, which will also feature a car show, live music, and an opportunity to celebrate GNON's previous accomplishments.
"Also, we try to partner at least three times a year with a nonprofit and for the June 6th birthday party we are partnering with the Valley Humane Society," Hewitt says. "We're really excited about having them participate - I have a therapy dog and I'm a volunteer with them. We'll have some of the therapy dogs there, we're going to have a raffle, and we're going to give Valley Humane an opportunity to talk about who they are and their services. It's really a big celebration. To give you an idea, we had about 150 people attend for our sixth birthday party."
Tickets for the June 6 birthday party are available online and cost just $10 per person, regardless of whether the purchaser is a GNON member or not. For most of the group's other meetings, the fee is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Events are typically held on the first Monday of each month at a member business.
"That is one of the benefits of joining GNON as a member," Hewitt says. "For example, our May 2nd meeting was held at Macy's here in Pleasanton in the women's department because the personal shopper, Julie Bell, has been a paid member of GNON for two years. It's an opportunity for us to bring women to that business, in this case Macy's, and being able to market that business."
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