Sacramento Area Women's Chamber of Commerce

By Laura Braden

Whether you’re leaning in, banning bossy or opting out, there’s a new group focused on supporting and promoting local businesswomen: the Sacramento Area Women’s Chamber of Commerce (Facebook, Twitter).

SAWCC’s mission is to promote economic empowerment of women in business, leadership development, relationship networking and advocacy in private and public sectors. They want to advance access to opportunity for a diverse section of women and girls in business, the public and private sectors, that raises their numbers in influential roles. And they’re taking on the entire region, including Sacramento, Yolo Placer, El Dorado, Sutter, Amador, Caleveras and Solono.

Board selfie :)
Board selfie 🙂

Board of Directors:

  • Velma Sykes, President/CEO
  • Alice Scott, CA State Treasurer’s Office
  • Tracy Saville, CleanWorld, Inc.
  • Tammy McNiff, University of California, Davis (UCD)
  • Elaine Ernst-Stall, K.O.O. Construction, Inc.
  • Terri L. Speed, DDS
  • Marilyn White, Private Wealth Management
  • Deidra Thorpe, Microsoft
  • Bobbie Singh-Allen, CA Lodging Industry Association

Even though they’re insanely busy right now, they were kind enough to answer a few of our questions…

What made your board decide to organize and launch?

We decided to organize and launch because women are still significantly underrepresented in influence roles, particularly in STEM and Next Economy growth sectors, in the public and private sectors equally. We also still see a need to bridge the gap between younger women and seasoned women of influence, transferring the skills and perspectives between generations in a way that strengthens our regional economy!

What do you hope members will get out of joining?

There are a variety of benefits listed here. We are also launching a survey so we can respond to what women tell us they need most. 

Do you plan on doing any annual events or galas?

Yes – we’ll do an awards event to recognize outstanding women in business, recognizing women of influence in Next Economy job growth sectors, the leaders in those sectors who are  making the most inroads in positive growth for women. In addition, we will hold a summit with workshops and seminars on the latest business trends and entrepreneurial training

Do you plan on partnering with female-centric nonprofits in the community?

We are reaching out to collaborate and partner with organizations, schools, public and private sector businesses that have the same goals and vision in order to increase opportunities for women.

What challenges face businesswomen in Sacramento?

Equity inequality such as equal work for equal pay in business, corporate and government settings. More contracting opportunities for women in business, as well as lacking equal opportunities to build investment equity and access to it for venture building and growth. We want to help local businesswomen focus on investment opportunities, equity partnerships with deals such as the Kings Arena by being at the table when negotiations happen and having “C” suite positions such as CEO, CFO and COO positions.

Which Sacramento women-owned businesses do you admire?

Just look at our Board members who are leaders in corporate, public and private sectors, all of whom are thought leaders in their perspective fields. In addition we have some obvious leaders in the region such Michelle Wong with Synergex, Joyce Raley Teale, Carla Vasquez with CV Logistics (a national logistics company based in Sacramento region) and Council member Bonnie Pannell.

In 10 years, how do you want the SAWCC to be viewed in the community?

We will be the go-to organization for women and girls in the region to have opportunities and visibility through relationship development, education, mentorship, partnership and alliances; and offer valuable connections to women of influence.

Membership/Launch Party:

Check out their membership levels ($50-850) and be sure to attend the launch party (March is Women’s History Month after all) at the State Capitol (Eureka Room in the basement) on Thursday, March 27 from 5:30pm-7:30pm. Easiest to enter on the north side/L Street entrance.

They’ll have free food, entertainment, beverages and wine. Come and network with other leaders in business, government and politics – state and local officials are also expected.

More details/RSVP:

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