Professional Women of East Cobb

Welcome to Cobb County brick sign at Henderson Road on Veterans Memorial in article about CFR Thanks for GivingCobb County welcome sign (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Women who own businesses and/or are pursuing professional careers in East Cobb have a new voice-and resource.

A group calling itself Professional Women of East Cobb has formed as a forum to discuss common concerns and issues, provide support and build relationships and knowledge. The group has already had two maximum-capacity-attended meetings and has drawn attendees ranging from restaurant owners to social media specialists to real estate agents to an author.

Organizers Rosan Hall, and Pam Oldaker, both realtors, and Jennifer Starks, a community relations director for a law firm, began planning the group earlier this year. Hall said the organization is designed around small businesses, unlike a chamber of commerce whose membership can include larger corporations.

She added that the idea came out of her attending an online meeting of another business association. The newly-minted  group is a branch of the more-established East Cobb Business Association.

“I thought this was a great way to get women together to talk about things more of interest to their lives than to the general public,” she said.

“I think women are perceived as juggling more things.” she said as one example.

Co-founder  Starks agrees and thinks that the COVID-19 pandemic has made that juggling act more problematic.

 “I think that when all this went down over the last few months it’s been double work for women who are trying to be in their gender roles and also further their careers. Being able to talk about it among women who get it and share commonality is great.”

At one of the meetings, she said, she brought her children and sat them down at a table.

“I wanted to be totally transparent that this is what it looks like for me now. I have four kids ages four to 12 that I am taking care of and homeschooling and they’re distance learning while I am trying to grow professionally.”

In addition to being a forum for hashing over common concerns, organizers said that education, empowerment and networking are also behind the group’s formation.

Starks said at the last meeting, someone spoke about her social media business and dispensed tips on how to utilize such connections to boost the fortunes of small enterprises. She said plans are for each meeting to feature a member sharing the story of her business or professional career, their specialization and challenges they have overcome.

One challenge, said Hall, is that a small business with one, or two, or five employees doesn’t have the resources that a large corporation has in terms of training or having people available to solve specialized problems. The implication is that the women’s organization can help level that playing field.

 And on the empowerment piece, Starks said “One of the top things is that some women don’t feel worthy of a higher paycheck. It’s an innate or cultural thing going on that women can feel like they’re ‘not enough’ so they struggle with it.” She said such attitudes can come into play in asking for a raise, for example.

Women who own businesses and/or are pursuing professional careers in East Cobb have a new voice-and resource.

A group calling itself Professional Women of East Cobb has formed as a forum to discuss common concerns and issues, provide support and build relationships and knowledge The group has already had two maximum-capacity-attended meetings and has drawn attendees ranging from restaurant owners to social media specialists to real estate agents to an author.

Organizers Rosan Hall, and Pam Oldaker, both realtors, and Jennifer Starks, a community relations director for a law firm, began planning the group earlier this year. Hall said the organization is designed around small businesses, unlike a chamber of commerce whose membership can include larger corporations.

She added that the idea came out of her attending an online meeting of another business association. The newly-minted  group is a branch of the more-established East Cobb Business Association.

“I thought this was a great way to get women together to talk about things more of interest to their lives than to the general public,” she said.

“I think women are perceived as juggling more things.” she said as one example.

Co-founder  Starks agrees and thinks that the COVID-19 pandemic has made that juggling act more problematic.

 “I think that when all this went down over the last few months it’s been double work for women who are trying to be in their gender roles and also further their careers. Being able to talk about it among women who get it and share commonality is great.”

At one of the meetings, she said, she brought her children and sat them down at a table.

“I wanted to be totally transparent that this is what it looks like for me now. I have four kids ages four to 12 that I am taking care of and homeschooling and they’re distance learning while I am trying to grow professionally.”

In addition to being a forum for hashing over common concerns, organizers said that education, empowerment and networking are also behind the group’s formation.

Starks said at the last meeting, someone spoke about her social media business and dispensed tips on how to utilize such connections to boost the fortunes of small enterprises. She said plans are for each meeting to feature a member sharing the story of her business or professional career, their specialization and challenges they have overcome.

One challenge, said Hall, is that a small business with one, or two, or five employees doesn’t have the resources that a large corporation has in terms of training or having people available to solve specialized problems. The implication is that the women’s organization can help level that playing field.

 And on the empowerment piece, Starks said “One of the top things is that some women don’t feel worthy of a higher paycheck. It’s an innate or cultural thing going on that women can feel like they’re ‘not enough’ so they struggle with it.” She said such attitudes can come into play in asking for a raise, for example.

Gender equality issues could also come up for discussion down the line, she said

Organizers said the gatherings have been somewhat informal so far without defined membership roles because it’s been seen as a conduit to attract businesswomen and professionals to the parent business group, but that the future could bring a more formal structure.

As Hall put it, “We want to get people together because when you get people together and break bread and have a conversation it takes us a long way.”

In addition, she said they’ve been in touch with the Northeast Cobb Business Association to talk about creating an affiliate women’s’ group there.

The East Cobb group’s next meeting is set for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.  Friday, Oct. 2  at J Christopher’s, 2100 Roswell Road

For more information: Rosan Hall at rosan@rosanhallteam.com or 770-509-0700

 And on the empowerment piece, Starks said “One of the top things is that some women don’t feel worthy of a higher paycheck. It’s an innate or cultural thing going on that women can feel like they’re ‘not enough’ so they struggle with it.” She said such attitudes can come into play in asking for a raise, for example.

Gender equality issues could also come up for discussion down the line, she said

Organizers said the gatherings have been somewhat informal so far without defined membership roles because it’s been seen as a conduit to attract businesswomen and professionals to the parent business group, but that the future could bring a more formal structure.

As Hall put it, “We want to get people together because when you get people together and break bread and have a conversation it takes us a long way.”

In addition, she said they’ve been in touch with the Northeast Cobb Business Association to talk about creating an affiliate women’s’ group there.

The East Cobb group’s next meeting is set for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.  Friday, Oct. 2  at J Christopher’s, 2100 Roswell Road

For more information: Rosan Hall at rosan@rosanhallteam.com or 770-509-0700

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