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Chamber leaders offer advice to working women

POSTED: March 25, 2009 4:00 a.m.

The presidents of the chambers of commerce in Hall and Dawson counties are predicting a bright future for women in business.

  

Kit Dunlap and Linda Williams were featured in an hour-long dialogue that was part of a program for female entrepreneurs March 10 at Featherbone Communiversity in Oakwood.

  

“I’m a chamber of commerce executive that just happens to be a woman,” said Dunlap, who has headed the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce for more than a decade.

  

Williams said she backed into her job as a volunteer, an assistant and ultimately as president. It was something she couldn’t imagine as a young girl.

  

“I can remember growing up in the ’50s and there were three occupations for women and I knew them well,” Williams said. “I could be a secretary, nurse or teacher, and that was it.”

  

The 70 women in attendance peppered them with questions about women, leadership roles and operating in a world once dominated by men.

  

“I didn’t pay much attention to it,” said Dunlap. “I had a job to do and I wanted to move on so I didn’t let those things bother me.”

  

Dunlap came to Gainesville as a student at Brenau College. She entered the work force briefly and then became a stay-at-home mother. As a single parent, she re-entered the job market at a bank, then in printing and in her current role as head of the business organization.

  

Both Williams and Dunlap said more and more of their counterparts are female.

  

“With particular skills of communications and working with people, I think you’ll see more women in chamber executive positions,” Dunlap said.

  

DeDe Gossage of the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, which sponsored the event, said the program was designed to bring together women in business.

  

“We wanted to encourage women business owners and better equip them for challenging times through networking,” Gossage said.

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