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Leadership, Empowerment Go Local: Inspired Women Network Provides Resources, Networking For Leaders

Using the wider platform of ATHENA International as a springboard, a group of women took the lessons and training in leadership and empowerment and applied it at a more ultra-focused community level in Shiawassee County by launching the Inspired Women Network.

The professional development and networking program of the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce is designed to serve as a repository of resources and support for women leaders to assist in their efforts in enacting positive impact at the local level.

“I told the other Athenians that we should do more,” said Carrie Rathbun Hawks, chair of the network’s steering committee and president of Rathbun Public Relations. “And we’ve been working on this for the better part of two years, researching the best ways we can help and asking what other community leaders would like to see.”

Inspired Women Network is run by a committee including Hawks, Ruthann Liagre, Sue Ludington, Laura Archer, Erin Huska, Bailey Cook Leppert and Ashley Connelly. The organization currently has programming and events planned through June. In March, it is hosting a webinar on financial planning and literacy.

“In April, we’re doing what’s called Champions for Change,” said Hawks. “That will be a community- building and networking opportunity to give women a chance to show just how much impact we can have when we join forces. So, we’ll be working with maybe a handful of nonprofits to do service work or provide mentoring, something that’s going to make an impact on the community.”

In May, Inspired Women Network will be hosting a social hour with a cash bar and food available for purchase. There will be no programming, just an opportunity for people to be social and network together.

“Everyone is welcome. We’re here to build a community that kind of brings women together and even brings in allies of women,” said Hawks. “We want to give women the new opportunity for leadership that maybe they haven’t had — to be around other women and to learn about how they built their businesses, how they’ve gotten ahead in their career and what they’ve learned.”

To stay up to date with all the Inspired Women Network is up to, join the network’s mailing list through the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce website, or call the chamber at 989-723-5149 and ask to be added to the list.

Lifestyle