The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce Women in Business seeks to enrich the community and its businesses through assorted programs and events.

Women in Business provides a monthly educational series and luncheon on the third Tuesday of the month. The group meets at the Foothills Golf Course from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for most events. Women in Business is an evolving, fluid group that looks for topics and presentations to meet the needs and interests of the business community as a whole.

Each month the speakers and presentations are varied. Topics include information to promote professional development, personal growth and business enhancement. This year the topics include: The benefits of using interns in your business, Cardio Crusaders with Dr. Chan and heart health and a workshop on ”Learning to Respond instead of React.” Future topics include improving networking skills, self-defense and a business planning workshop.

Anyone from the community, both men and women, are invited to attend the luncheons. You do not have to be a chamber member to attend. If you see a topic that intrigues you, please join us! Each luncheon includes an opportunity to network with business within the community. We are always open to input, feedback and suggestions for future programs and presentations.

In addition to the monthly luncheons, Women in Business hosts Red, White and Beautiful, a fashion, beauty and health fair in May. It is a night to browse assorted vendors, checkout the latest fashions and learn about products and services to improve your health and well-being. Again, the community is invited and encouraged to attend. All the proceeds from Red, White and Beautiful go to support the community fireworks Red, White and Boom.

Women in Business present a September Business Expo to promote businesses in the community—both chamber members and non-chamber members. Businesses of all sizes and types choose to participate and present in a mini trade show atmosphere. A plated luncheon and guest speaker create a platform to enhance and round out the event.

The annual chamber fundraiser, The Palo Verde Award Gala, is planned and hosted by Women in Business. It is an elegant evening that includes silent and live auctions, dinner and live entertainment. The program includes the presentation of scholarships from Women in Business. These scholarships are awarded to women who are advancing their education, whether in college, trade school, online courses or continuing education classes. There are no age restrictions, and the scholarships are open to high school seniors, college students, and women who are re-entering the education system. The selection committee looks for dedicated women with business experience that already are giving back to the community. Women in Business raise funds throughout the year to build and grow the scholarship that is supported by a donation from SRP.

The highlight of the evening is the recognition of the Palo Verde Award nominees and their accomplishments in the community. The Palo Verde Award was created by the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce Women in Business in 2005 to honor women chosen as a role model and an outstanding businesswoman in the community. Palo Verde Award nominees are known for their passion to serve, desire to succeed and their ability to manage. The Business Woman of the Year selection is based on each candidate’s leadership, professional accomplishments, mentoring and volunteerism. Her commitment to business excellence and achievement and community involvement are among the common characteristics.

AFCC Women in Business started back in 2000. The charter members of the group were looking for an opportunity to provide programs and opportunities in leadership, development and education as well as networking with businesses in the community while creating lasting friendships. As the group grew, so did the opportunities. In 2014, Women in Business look to continue to grow, broaden their reach into the community to both men and women and become a valuable asset to the community and its businesses.

We encourage you to be involved in the community - it’s easier to do business with someone you know and trust.

• Janet Schwab is owner of Elements Massage, co-chair of Women in Business 2014, and a member of the 2014 Chamber Board of Directors.

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