In March of this year, Jess Magee volunteered to join Angelica Parra as co-chair of the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce Women in Business committee after her former partner stepped down to focus on her full-time career.
Now, the two women lead the committee as “complements” to one another.
“She is the peanut butter to my jelly,” Parra said. “We complement each other very well with personalities, weaknesses and talents.”
Like Magee, Parra is an Arizona native and grew up in Ahwatukee, attending schools from Akimel to Desert Vista High to Arizona State University.
“My childhood home was the last to be built in our neighborhood along 40th street and Chandler Boulevard in Lakewood,” Parra recalls, “I remember the cotton field that is now a business plaza at 40th street and Frye Road. It was fun to see Ahwatukee grow and mature into what it is today.”
Parra works as an account executive for Cox Business, where her mentor and manager encouraged her to expand her networking opportunities by getting involved with the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce.
In 2018 she joined WIB and later became co-chair of the group.
But it is through their businesses, not the Chamber, that Parra and Magee first met.
“I grew up in a really musical household and am still very musically active,” says Magee, explaining, “After college I stumbled upon an ad to work as a receptionist for Music Maker Workshops; after meeting the family I knew this was where I wanted to spend my time.”
Magee now manages the studio, which works with 600 students weekly and has just over 30 instructors.
“I originally met Jessica Magee through Cox Business, as a customer of our services, Music Maker Workshops,” said Parra, “Then, I remember seeing her at a Chamber ribbon cutting for Copper Moon Yoga and she convinced me to try aerial yoga – best advice ever!”
The two women got to know each other better through the committee and became acting co-chairs in March. Now they work to enhance the group’s involvement in the community.
“We look forward to expanding the group and making a positive impact on the community and businesses around the valley,” notes Magee.
For WIB, expansion began with reshaping their social media presence.
“We have really amped up our Facebook presence, started a new Instagram page and completely revamped our website page. We have changed a bit of what the WIB looks like, in terms of how the events are run and we’re really trying to make this group very inclusive and inviting,” said Magee.
“Everyone involved is very genuine and kind, I’m proud to be taking part in leading this group of wonderful people and have already learned a lot from them,” she said.
Women In Business embodies roughly 300 members, all of whom are involved in business, often as sole proprietors.
And regardless of its name, the group is open to men looking to “connect and learn from one another.
“We feel it’s important to highlight women in business and to give a voice and a platform to showcase the strong, hardworking and wonderful women in our community,” remarks Magee and Parra.
Although the pandemic was disrupting, the group continues to execute this mission.
“It’s really made us tap into our creativity and think of ways to keep everyone engaged and connected. It’s more important than ever to keep connections in the community because we’re all being forced to distance ourselves physically from one another,” said Magee.
“Since the business closures in March, we have highlighted one woman in business a week within an eight week span, including webinars on financial blueprints, the “new normal” for vacationing, livestream tours from Signarama, music maker workshops and ruby ribbon, to even a virtual yoga class at Copper Moon,” continued Parra and Magee.
On July 23, the committee hosted a virtual happy hour scavenger hunt, where a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Kyrene Resource Center.
Going forward, the group is working to plan monthly luncheons, with each featuring a rotating speaker.
“We try to balance events that are not only great for networking, but are educational, that give back to the community and that can foster lasting relationships,” said Magee.
Attendance at the events is open to anyone and opportunities to become a member and/or sponsor can also be found on the WIB Chamber of Commerce website: ahwatukeechamber.com