|By Lori O'Brien|
Hampden resident Shana Ferrigan Bourcier is an energizing woman who loves to see empowered women do what they love and live a lifestyle of their own design.
"Having a gift of seeing the 'big picture,' I also love to cast vision to challenge women to think big and achieve lofty goals, reaching far beyond the status quo," she said during an interview with Reminder Publications.
Ferrigan Bourcier is the founding managing director of the newly established Western Massachusetts chapter of eWomenNetwork, a professional women's networking organization based in Dallas that is committed to helping women and their businesses achieve, succeed and thrive in the new economy. She is also founder and "chief visionary catalyst" for her own company, Infinite Worth Enterprises.
She explained that the company she is currently developing is her "entrepreneurial baby."
"It is a reflection of my own strengths, experience and passion," she said, adding "the vision is grand and the overall mission is to drive transformational change in the culture through a broad scope of initiatives that will contribute to more life-giving, sustainable, holistic, empowering, integrated models for life and work, both locally and globally."
Ferrigan Bourcier noted that through her own entrepreneurial startup, she came in contact with eWomenNetwork.
"We live in an era of unprecedented opportunity and hope for women and families and I want to serve as a catalyst to the dynamic, opening doors to new possibilities," she said.
The local chapter sponsors "accelerated networking" events monthly, which also includes strategic business introductions that help connect smaller groups of women in a more intimate setting. Diane Darling, founder and CEO of Effective Networking Inc., will be the guest speaker on April 24 at the Delaney House in Holyoke. Darling will discuss "Keys to Success for Entrepreneurs." Ginny Wilmerding, entrepreneur and author of "Smart Women and Small Business: How to Make the Leap from Corporate Careers to the Right Small Enterprise," will lecture on May 22 at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke.
"I am a natural networker, and I derive great satisfaction from helping women make the connections they need to advance their potential, in business and in life," said Ferrigan Bourcier. "eWomenNetwork puts me right in my element."
Ferrigan Bourcier emphasized that she too needed to connect with other women who had the experience, talents and connections that could help her materialize her own dreams and visions.
"Mentors and networks are key to business success, and eWomenNetwork has carved out a powerful niche, connecting women and their businesses throughout the United States and Canada and offering events that cater to the way women like to network," she said, adding "our culture tends to foster fierce independence and isolation, and eWomenNetwork is rebuilding a community of motivated yet also very generous women, who want to share what they know to help each other succeed."
Ferrigan Bourcier also noted that women can pull each other up more quickly through this process than by trying to figure it all out on one's own.
A typical accelerated networking event includes participants sharing and exchanging who they are, what they have to offer, and what they are specifically looking for, and what they are planning to spend money on.
"We benefit tremendously from fresh perspectives and ideas," said Ferrigan Bourcier. "We ask others at the table to focus on listening and giving, considering whether they or anyone they know might be interested in this woman's product or service and thinking of ideas, resources and connections that would be of value to her."
Ferrigan Bourcier noted that eWomenNetwork members not only have access to networking events but also the largest photographic database of women in business in North America.
"Whether for mentors, potential clients, business partners or just as a resource for ideas, a database of 15,000 women in business is a tremendous asset for someone in business," she added.
eWomenNetwork members add their business profile to the database, and also receive two coaching sessions with their choice from a panel of "premier business coaches," according to Ferrigan Bourcier.
"We want to power women up to be all they can be, in business and in life," she said, adding "we can't do it alone."
Ferrigan Bourcier stressed that the monthly "events" are inspiring and energizing a time for women to be themselves and celebrate their ventures together.
"High-fives, 'you go girl,' and hugs are to be expected, and the women who attend are dynamic and on the move," said Ferrigan Bourcier. "Women all have a dream and we want to help them materialize it."
Whether entrepreneurs, artists, business owners, professionals or nonprofits, working in a traditional setting or building a home-based business, Ferrigan Bourcier said the local chapter wants to support them and get them connected for empowerment and success, and to do business with them.
"When women thrive and prosper, it changes the culture for the better, having a ripple effect far beyond their personal venture," said Ferrigan Bourcier. "If we can release this potential and fuel the growth, we will see the kind of transformational change that we are all yearning for."
At each event, women not only have a chance to meet other women, but can also promote their businesses in two ways.
"Women can reserve a business showcase display table which allows them to not only market their product or service, but also entitles them to a brief 'live ad' at the gathering," said Ferrigan Bourcier. "Women can also make a donation of their product or service to our Foundation raffle, and thereby not only supporting our fundraising but also sample their business to another woman, providing more exposure."
Ferrigan Bourcier noted the huge potential for women to do business in the valley (and beyond), and she reiterated how she wants to help be a catalyst to help other women succeed.
"When we are working together to nurture and blossom the gifts of every woman in the valley, then my personal dream will come to life and my heart will soar," she said.
For more information on the local eWomenNetwork chapter, visit www.ewomennetwork.com or call Ferrigan Bourcier at 566-8443.