Deb Alcadinho (left) recruited Vanessa Stone to help organize the women’s business network after the group ballooned to 100 members in its first month.

Women’s business group proves popular

  • Feb. 17, 2011 9:00 a.m.

There isn’t a day where Deb Alcadinho doesn’t have a woman asking about her new business networking group.

Alcadinho, an advertising consultant for the Gazette, founded the West Shore Women’s Business Network in January thinking she might be able to get a few dozen women together for monthly luncheons.

Within the first week of announcing the event, she had 35 confirmed attendees and requests have been rolling in ever since.

“I get about 10 e-mails per day from women who want to be a part of this,” Alcadinho said. “It’s a much bigger than I ever could have anticipated.”

She swapped her original 50-seat venue for one twice the size, and still managed to pack the place. And now with around 150 interested members on her e-mail distribution list, she’s expecting another full house at this month’s meeting.

“It’s an opportunity for business women to connect and gain expertise to grow their business,” Alcadinho said. “And they don’t need to drive into Victoria to do it.”

The catered lunch meetings feature two guest speakers. First somebody within the group talks about their business, then a visiting expert or panel speaks on a topic relevant to business growth.

The upcoming event will feature Anna Harvey of Boost Communications and Pauline Penner of Simply Solutions, both offering tips for successful networking.

After the speakers, the women are encouraged to mingle and get to know each other.

“There’s professional women from all sectors in the room, with businesses large and small,” Alcadinho said. “People can come and find mentors or new clients. It’s an non-intimidating atmosphere to meet new people.”

The West Shore Women’s Business Network meets the fourth Thursday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at Kinsmen Fieldhouse, across from Bear Mountain Arena, 1767 Island Hwy.

Registration is required and attendees must pay $20 at the door for lunch. To join the group contact Deb Alcadinho at deb@goldstreamgazette.com or 250-818-7363.

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