Instead of a spotlight speaker this Wednesday, the board took the 30-minute spot to discuss Connect, past, present and future. As we have added a lot of new members the board wanted to share with the newer members that Connect is a very exceptional network and mentoring group. Also for those members that have been around we are celebrating 30 years as an organization, which says a lot about our networking group.

Connect was founded in 1987 and here are some other fun facts about that year – Three Men and a Baby was the hit movie of the year, while Fatal Attraction and Beverly Hills Cop II were second and third. Harry Hamlin was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” (Really!??). On TV – Cheers, The Golden Girls, and Growing Pains were among the top 10 most-watched TV shows.

Cell phones were just coming into popularity and were about the size of a brick and cost about 50 cents a minute to use, which did not include the $100–150 monthly service fee. This was also the year that President Ronald Reagan gave his famous “Tear down this wall!” speech in West Berlin.

Our original founders, Robin Gilbert and Devonna Sykstra were steadfast in their desire to keep the networking group local. We have no affiliation with any national leads group, which at that time many national leads groups took part of the local dues. Notice that in our printed information, TIPS was capitalized – until recently – as reinforcement that leads was a bad word. At least to the women in Connect, we don’t pass leads, we pass tips.

Juli joined Connect in 1988. Juli joined Connect right after opening her business, Table Mountain Travel, as a way to meet other women in the local area that would help build her business. Juli is still in business today and gives credit to this group that helped make that happen.

Remember it wasn’t that long ago that women seldom had a leadership role in business. It was important for women in the work place to have a place to meet and greet. The focus of Connect from the beginning has always been to help other women succeed in their businesses through the networking for our other members. This is a group of diverse women with the goal of success for all.

Edna joined toward the end of 1987 after buying The Hair Place, with the hope of increasing her customer base. Through Connect, Edna has made life-long friends here, but more important she has made business partners that she feels very comfortable referring to her clients and friends, knowing that they will all receive great service.

There is a saying “It is not what you know, but whom you know that is important.”  How true that is and getting to know people often comes through networking. Growing our businesses is the goal of Connect, but networking isn’t just coming to the meetings and passing tips, it also requires us to get to know each other. Connect has two outside parties each year that gives us the opportunity to do just that. This helps us to each get to know each other and you might be surprised what you find out.

Joan of JB Decorating, joined Connect after leaving a leads group had both men and women. In the other leads group, it was not as cohesive as Connect also in that group you had to have leads every week or you were fined, if you were late to the meeting once again you would be fined. The main issue that Joan had with this group was since they were fining for lack of leads led to many of those leads were not legitimate. That has never been an issue in Connect.

Connect has been through many in the last 30 years, which says a lot about the women who had the original idea and all those women who have joined over the years to keep this vivacious group of women together for all these years and the basics haven’t changed. The changes that we have experienced over the last ten years are the website which gives us a place to direct our clients and friends to when referring them. Then more recently the Facebook page and Blog give you other place that you can direct people to find the right need for their business.

We are a “we’ve got your back” organization. This group will continue to grow and offer all of us more opportunities in the next 30-years.