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Female entrepreneurs find connections
Womens group meets monthly
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Forsyth County News

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Any woman interested in attending a Joy of Connecting meeting in Cumming, should visit to make reservations and pay the $25 fee. Payments can also be mailed to Annette Walden, 5400 Larch Lane, Gainesville, GA  30506.

A local women’s networking group is celebrating its fourth anniversary.

The Cumming chapter of the Joy of Connecting meets monthly and is open to female entrepreneurs, merchants and other professionals interested in growing their businesses, said Phyllys Crowe Ransom, chapter founder.

She said unlike some networking organizations, the Joy of Connecting is geared specifically to women.

“Women network differently than men,” she said. “Women like to socialize while networking, but they like to socialize with a purpose.”

That is why every attendee has three minutes to present her business or organization.

“That’s a lot different than some groups where you only get 30 seconds or a minute,” Ransom said. “Women need to know more. They want to find out as much as they can, that’s why we give a full three minutes.”

The extended time is also why attendance is capped at about 25 women per meeting. The group also limits its activities to one monthly gathering.

While nonprofits and charities present information at each meeting, Ransom said the Joy of Connecting does not hold other outside events.

“Women are busy,” she said. “This group is different in that we’re relaxed and dedicated to only having the one meeting a month so we don’t take up any more of women’s time.

“If they’re inspired by something they hear from a nonprofit and they want to help that group, they are welcome to do that, but on their own time.”

During its meeting Tuesday night, about 25 women gathered at the Columns at Pilgrim Mill clubhouse for casual dinner and networking, followed by the three-minute, round-robin presentations.

Attendee Vikki Condry, owner of a hair salon in Dahlonega, enjoys the gatherings.

“In my business I see hundreds of people in a week,” she said. “They sit in my chair and ask, ‘Do you know, do you know?’

“Here I get to meet people that I can refer to my clients. I can say, ‘Yes, I do know someone for that.’”

Added Susan Stewart, who owns her own Web site-building company: “You can come here and not feel or be like, ‘I’m going to kill my children.’”

“And everyone here is so supportive and it just makes you feel so much better about whatever is going on in your life,” she said. “No matter what’s going when I come in here, I’ll always leave with a smile on my face.”