The story of Impactful Women NW.
Hi, my name is Erika Laws and I have chosen to be an Impactful Woman. I have been in consultative sales for over 19 years. From inside to outside, from call centers to retail, from food service to insurance.
In October 2013, I started my outside sales career; Networking was part of the job description. I noticed immediately that connecting was very easy for me. I realized that all of my life I had been a connector in one way or another. From recommending restaurants and hairstylists, to matchmaking my friends in relationships and careers. I started going to every event possible. Spending a lot of money and sitting through a lot of presentations. I made a lot of connections very quickly and was able to meet many amazing people. I could not find any groups that really gave me everything I enjoyed. You see, I wanted to be social, and only listen to presentations that interested me. I also paid for a lot of my own events, so I needed them to be affordable and also have no formal obligation to attend. I decided to create my own event, The Social Hour was born.
Networking and Connecting
At first I was hesitant about only having women attend; I had only really worked with men for the most part and was considered “intimidating” to a lot of women. However, meeting so many like-minded women opened up my mind to exploring this all women business networking opportunity. The events were a success, growing from 20 attendees, to sometimes 50 or more.
I noticed that a lot of the other groups were divided by location. Why? Traffic? I wanted to have a group that “bridged the bridge” between Portland and Vancouver, so I decided to alternate between the cities. I focused on women owned small local businesses to host the events. After I started, I realized that I found myself more interested in helping people meet each other than “selling” my own business. After this went on for a year, I saw some significant trends in the women I met at the beginning. They had all either done business, referred, or created amazing friendships with one another. This made me feel so great!
Conferences and Workshops
What else could I do to help? I gathered a group of fantastic women I had met networking to brainstorm on what we think Impactful Women could benefit from. We concluded that taking the speakers out of the social hour left a void. We then formed the Conference Series. We wanted to have speakers that are experts in different areas of life come and share their experiences with other women, with the idea that it would be a very low cost form of self development. We wanted to provide women from all income types to learn how to be successful in all areas of life. Self aware, confident and prepared women mean so much to the community, our children and each other. I wanted to invest my time and all of the effort I have put into my own self development for the good of our future, the women of our community. My plan is to keep going.
Who knows what the future holds, I just know that it will be IMPACTFUL!