In 1983, when Jean Brown worked at Security Pacific Bank, she believed the Los Osos area needed a networking organization for women in business to support their individual endeavors and share issues specific to working women.
Brown persuaded Cathy Stalter, Judi Tewell, Connie Framberger, Rosa Metzler, Diane McClish and Linda Villanueva to join her on the first governing board of the South Bay Women’s Network.
Last December the group celebrated 30 years of community support for the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter, including 2013 when $1,500 was raised at the annual Holiday Auction. Metzler reported the first holiday meeting was a wrapping party with each member donating a gift. Current president, Gila Zak, thanked her team of Metzler, Debra Angell and Peggy Zett for gathering community donations for their latest auction supporting the shelter.
“Helping the Women’s Shelter continues to be our major fund raiser, but we also give three $500 scholarships annually for women at Cuesta College,” said Zak, owner of Quantum Wave Biofeedback. “Mainly our mission is to encourage and support each other.”
Past-president Dawn Rodden, owner of Creative Design in Los Osos, explained the networking group commits to doing business with members, including helping women in transition. “One member’s car broke,” Rodden said, citing an example. “Another member helped this single mom replace her car so she could get to work.”
Rodden, who prefers being the quiet worker bee, said she “never thought I might lead the group as president, but with full support from the group, I had the confidence and a great experience.” She is currently the Interim director of the Los Osos/Baywood Chamber of Commerce.
Sally Brooks, owner of The Great Skin Company said, “I joined in 1996 because of the great causes we support, then so many SBWN members support my business. The friendships are invaluable. For me it has been a win-win.”
The group meets the first Tuesday of each month at noon at La Palapa in Baywood. www.sbwn.org.
The group has maintained their dues at $45 so women can afford to join. This year, the group plans to continue raising money for the women’s shelter and support member Paula Ufferherdt’s efforts as a longtime commissioner with the Status of Women, a commission of women appointed by the San Luis Obispo County Supervisors to advocate for women and girls and inform the supervisors of unmet needs in the county. This year both groups will celebrate women volunteers for their countless hours of volunteerism during a luncheon March 15 at the Madonna Inn. Details at http://www.slowomen.org