The local Women in the Workforce luncheon welcomed business women in person for the first time in over a year.
The nearly two-hour event, Sept. 9 at The Foundry on Shawnee, was hosted by the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and coordinated TACC Operations and Events Manager Gabrielle Perry, and Angela Tinsley of Remax Select.
“The Women in Business luncheon was perfect," said TACC CEO-President Nathan Reed. “The Chamber is so excited this event is back to support women in business in our community, and this event specifically, women in the workforce.”
Over 40 local business women attended the luncheon and were told how the pandemic presented new challenges and opportunities for women in the workforce.
Morgan Scholz, director of programs and partnerships at Startup Junkie Foundation, was the luncheon guest speaker.
“She’s really great at what she does, and this is the type of things she does for a living,” said Perry. “She said mentorship is a huge thing for her and she would like to continue to be a part of that. It's her way of doing something she loves while giving a positive impact on the community.”
Scholz spoke about career advancement during the pandemic and beyond, and said success and advancement are measured differently.
“She said a lot of it is how you personally see it, and how the people in your office see it. She said you can have a great office relationships and that you can always be the person who stays late, does all of the tasks. It’s still not going to put you a step above everyone else,” said Perry.
Scholz said what can put employees a step above the others is when they begin to understand their value and what they bring to the team.
“The pandemic presented its challenges where a lot of people had to work from home to homeschool their children, and that may look different for everyone, but you can still do those things when you’re not in an office setting,” Perry said.
If it’s easier for some people to perform through a compute screen, then develop skills so they can channel them in person, Scholz said.
Scholz touched on the subject of human resources – reassess recruiting and retention – and reminded the group it’s been an unprecedented time for everyone.
“She said if you’re in that HR position where you have to spend, it costs money to hire someone because it’s going to cost you money to leave the seat open and then recruit someone to be able to retain,” said Perry.
Scholz believes it’s important that every person on any team feels valued. An example would be asking those who haven’t left the job to explain their biggest reason for staying.
“A lot of people during the pandemic, they were looking for a job because they were turned out of a position they had been in for awhile,” said Perry.
Those individuals ended up taking jobs that weren't necessarily career-oriented, but that can open the door for other possibilities or opportunities.
“The negative side to that where they’re just there for the job and they’re not going to be there for a long time,” said Perry. “It’s just going to be a temporary position, and if that’s not something you’re looking for, you have to be able to identify that early on so you can retain those good employees who are going to make your company better through the pandemic.”
The Mingle & Jingle luncheon is slated for Dec. 9, and Perry said planning for it should begin sometime this week.
“We are looking forward to bringing this event back quarterly and will see everyone in December for the next one,” said Reed.
For more information about Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce membership and events, visit www.tahlequahchamber.com.