JCGA wants to develop women’s networking group | Company

The Jefferson County Growth Association (JCGA) strives to connect women in business.

The association launched the JCGA of Jefferson County Business Women’s Group in September 2021 and is looking for more people to attend its quarterly breakfasts, said JCGA executive director Sharon Floyd.

Floyd said the meeting always includes a female speaker, who usually shares an uplifting message.

Group president Kami Kimes, 52, of Hillsboro, said he charges no membership fees and there are no meeting admission fees.

She said the JCGA and sponsors cover the cost of each event.

“In networking, you usually pay all the time, and you have to become a member,” she said. “I wanted (this group) to be open to all women.”

Kimes, account manager for Hillsboro Title Co., said about 40 people typically attend meetings.

“We would like to expand it,” she said. “My end goal is a place where women can come and share their failures or come and feel inspired, or just learn from each other.”

Kimes said she felt energized and inspired after each meeting.

“When you go there, you can’t help but smile because you feel so good about yourself, as a woman, as a businessman. You just feel like you can take over the world,” she said.

Realtor Kim Sebaugh, 60, of Hillsboro, said she started attending meetings after Kimes’ invitation and enjoyed the speakers.

“I have confidence listening to what some of these other women have persevered with,” she said.

Even though Sebaugh works in a female-dominated field, she said she enjoys being able to network with other women.

“I think our minds sometimes think more the same way,” she said.

Plus, she says, she likes the way the group focuses on the region.

“We have the women’s council for estate agents but it covers like St. Louis and St. Charles and frankly I’m so busy I don’t really have time to be on it because most of their duties are in place in the St. Louis area,” she said.

Kimes said Floyd asked him to chair the group.

“It’s about sharing knowledge and helping women,” she said. “We support each other and give each other a backbone to be heard and learn from each other.”

Floyd said the idea for the group came from Dan Govero, president of the Growth Association.

“He’s been thinking about this for years, how can he raise awareness among businesswomen in our community,” she said. “We basically want this to be a way for aspiring entrepreneurs to network, to share their stories, how they succeeded and where they are today.”

Floyd said she sometimes felt like the band felt like a support band.

“I think it’s women leaning on women,” she said. “I think women are more emotional than men.”

Both Floyd and Kimes have said the men will not be turned away at the door, but the meetings are not intended for mixed audiences.

“Women share more personally with each other, challenges, needs and desires with each other when it comes to a women’s group,” Kimes said.

Kimes said the next meeting will be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 at Villa Antonio Winery, 3660 Linhorst Road, Hillsboro.

“We have everyone from single mothers to successful business owners. There is a place for everyone,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your profession is, if you’re a mother, if you’re a business owner, it doesn’t matter,” she said.

She said the October speaker will be Cynthia Kirkpatrick, senior adviser at Moneta, an investment group in St. Louis.

Kimes said anyone interested in attending should RSVP to jcgamo.org/businesswomen-group.

Elisha A. Tilghman