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EBWN History – Part 4


(Part 4 deals with our most current History and the development of our website)

By Gail McNaughton, September 18, 2011

In November 2006 it was decided that there was more of a need to formalize the EBWN, to have an Admin. Committee, to audit our finances on a yearly basis, to have another signing authority and a need for a formal website contract.

Groups go through transition and change and evolve with the membership.  In January, 2007 Gail McNaughton took on the role of Communications Pivot so that the EBWN members could get information about the EBWN as Janice Norley had resigned and nobody was left to look after the business of the EBWN.  At one time both Janice Norley and Claire Champ performed this function which was very time consuming.

On January 10, 2007 the EBWN membership were sent a note to tell them about a planning meeting on January 17th at the Superstore Community Room and this would be facilitated by Anne Kenny from the ECFDC.  At this meeting we would determine where the EBWN wanted to go and what we wanted, were we going to develop a website, were we going to have an EBWN show and sale, how many of us are members, where will we meet on a monthly basis, do we need roles as Facilitator, Treasurer, Secretary, Communications Pivot, Membership, Special Events.  Our account balance at this time was $1,731.32 which was very healthy for a Network.

At the Meeting it was decided that Anne Kenny would be the group’s Facilitator for a three-month period.  Mary Pfeffer would be Treasurer/New Member Liaison, Gail McNaughton would be the Communications Pivot, Susan Fortin-Smith would do Advertising, and Promotions help out with the Membership Lists and coordinate the EBWN booth at the Chamber’s Small Business Sample Show.  Paula Harris would continue to do the typed copy of the Membership List so would coordinate with Mary/Susan when new members had paid their membership and then could be added to the Membership List.

In early 2007 the website concept was discussed. A website Task Group was set up of Yvonne Ethier, June Ann Reid, Karen Huggett and Donna Lunn.  February 20, 2007 the meeting was devoted to discussions and decisions regarding the website and options were presented by the Website Committee.

A retainer was given to Kim Marcotte of Quantum RBS to begin the website development after a RFP process.  She had done the following to date and that was to register a DNS as www.ebwn.ca.  The original concept of the website was to allow members of the EBWN to post their own promotional highlights and events and have a home page to showcase business.  This was tabled and eagerly received at the home of Sandra England in September, 2006.

Suzanne Ferguson had been acting as the Coordinator to retain guest speakers for our meetings.  Yvonne Brooks had signing authority so she and Mary would now have signing authority together.

The website was up and running March 8, 2007.  Yvonne Ethier was doing the website updates.

Paula Harris resigned doing the Membership Directory and it would take a new format.

Nik Peterson did initial business cards for the EBWN which were handed out to our membership to pass along to other women.

In June, 2007 the Admin. Committee put together a Mission Statement, solidified their roles with Job Descriptions (that keep evolving) and a list of Member Benefits.

In September, 2007 there was discussion of arranging the EBWN membership in “pods” to plan the meetings and deliver presentations.  This was a concept that Suzanne Ferguson put forward.  Our meetings never evolved in this direction.

In February, 2008 Susan Fortin-Smith began work on an EBWN Survey and on May 21st gave an overview of the results.

In February, 2009 an RFP was put out for the redesign of the EBWN website and Ann-Marie Cheung of FG New Media  won the bid so she began our website on June 25th after a revised proposal was accepted.  Ann-Marie was working with Jean Renick who was doing some consulting on the project.  The website team was still in place.   On November 18th Jean Renick updated us with the benefits of our website which got everyone pretty excited.  On December 9, 2009 we had a website launch for our members.

In 2009 the EBWN joined the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and in 2010 we joined the Dutton Chamber.

In 2010 several things happened.  Lori Wall and Linda Crawford joined the Admin Team which had their first meeting on January 20, 2011.  The  Admin. Team was very glad to receive new members so that the roles could be divided.  Mary would continue as Treasurer.  Gail McNaughton will handle the Registration Table at meetings and call upon both Lori Wall and Mary Pfeffer to help.  She will also facilitate the Admin. Meetings and prepare the agenda as well as contact new potential members who have questions or from leads generated off the website.  Facilitation at monthly meetings will be handled by Anne Kenny, Susan Fortin-Smith and Gail McNaugnton.  Face book will be handled by Ann-Marie Cheung and Linda Crawford.  Website will be handled by Ann-Marie Cheung.  The Membership List is compiled and updated by Susan Fortin-Smith.  Pr/Advertising is done by Linda Crawford with Susan Fortin-Smith’s assistance when needed.  Admin. Meeting Minutes is the responsibility of Lori Wall who is also the East Elgin Rep, as is Yvonne Brooks (who is not on the Admin. Team but is connected in this function as the West End Rep.)

The Admin. Team established DIVA awards that are decided upon by the Admin. Team with no set criteria and so far have had Melissa Bishop and Yvonne Brooks as Divas.  Some policies and procedures have been set up and documented.  We had a news story done in the St. Thomas Weekly News by Heather Derks.  We continue to support Salvaide as our not-for-profit of choice helping women in El Salvador with entrepreneurial business opportunities.  Gail McNaughton submitted the EBWN nomination for the St. Thomas Annual Honours program but we were not successful as a recipient.  We have had a variety of different meetings including a Success Meeting, Income Tax Tips, How to Use & Get the most our of our EBWN website, Tips for promoting your business as a group discussion, summer social, Christmas event, Mix and Mingles, tours of member businesses, talks from members of our own group, fundraising for FreshStart at some meetings, participation at the Business Sample Show which is a St. Thomas & District Chamber event, Wedding Acknowledgment as part of a meeting, new postcards done by Ann-Marie Cheung as well as bookmarks, our own show and tell events.

We host meetings at a variety of venues including local restaurants, golf courses, and in homes.  The annual Christmas event has been held a number of times in the home of Karen Huggett.  Karen and her family live in a church so we all enjoyed their ceiling high Christmas tree.  Yvonne from Abbeywood Emporium had us in her store one year and her decorated store was outstanding and a real thrill as we tasted different products.  Susan Fortin-Smith also opened her home to our group and pot lucks are our preferred venue.  Summer fun took us to the home of Anne Kenny who lives in Aylmer and who can forget our Hat parade.  We even attended Mackie’s On The Beach in Port Stanley who was celebrating a 100-year milestone in business in 2011 and we ate lots of fries there.  We’ve been known to dress-up at meetings with themes and award prizes.  The Admin. Team, in particular, dressed as The Lime Green Beans at the Success Meeting and sang a song and Gail McNaughton gave them each a doodle art as a thank you.  We had a bonfire and tour at the farm of Pamela Anderson which was a nice casual atmosphere at Lavender Sense.  The Arts & Cookery Bank was another highlight with members going by bus and entertained with games to play on the bus which were coordinated by Anne Kenny.  Where there are women who come together there will always be lots of fun.  Who said professionals in business can’t have fun.  These are special moments we share as colleagues and friends and April Laroche has diligently taken photos and supplied them to our EBWN website so we can all have Remember When’s

We support all women regardless whether they are in business for themselves, are part of a corporate business or not-for-profit, are retired, just want some friends or are in between careers.  At the time of writing the above the EBWN has over 60 members and between 25-30 attend each monthly meeting.  We are enjoying meeting registration on-line and our website has the capability for us to pay our memberships and meals on-line where applicable.  The cost of membership is $40.00 and that includes a listing on the website, use of the website blog, membership in both the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and the Dutton Chamber of Commerce and attendance at each EBWN monthly meeting and volunteer opportunities both on a casual basis and on the Admin. Team.

If you would like to add to this history or update it with more concrete information please provide it to Gail McNaughton, gail@gailmcnaughton.com.

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