During Women’s History Month, our thoughts naturally turn to the women who’ve been trailblazers in our nation’s history.
At the Newnan-Coweta Chamber, we can’t help taking pride in the fact that many of these accomplished women were businesswomen. Madam C.J. Walker, born in 1867, created hair care products for African American women and is one of the first women to become a self-made millionaire. Fashion designer Coco Chanel created an empire that made her brand legendary, and on the more casual end of the fashion spectrum, Palm Beach’s Lilly Pulitzer turned a multicolored print dress worn at the juice stand into a classic shift that became her company’s signature garment.
Fast-forward to the modern era, and women continue to make their mark in the business world. Mary Barra of General Motors is the first woman to serve as CEO of a major global automobile manufacturer. And of course, many women today can thank Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg for teaching them to “Lean in” to a leadership role in business.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, women make up 47 percent of the U.S. labor force and 59 percent of the college-educated, entry-level workforce. Women earn almost 60 percent of undergraduate degrees and 60 percent of all master’s degrees. More than 9.1 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people.
Here in Coweta County, we take pride in the accomplishments of our women business leaders. Women are serving in vital positions in education, health care, politics, manufacturing, the retail world, and in the nonprofit sector.
As part of the Chamber’s Business Women’s Network, this year we launched a new mentoring program for women, Stepping into Success. Our goal is to provide a training platform that combines mentoring and coaching in a unique way, one that inspires women both personally and professionally. We’re already hearing great reports from the women in this program, and we look forward to seeing new leaders emerge as a result, writing new chapters in women’s history.
We are grateful to live in a community where we are supported in our efforts to nurture and inspire women leaders, and we look forward to honoring our own women leaders for many years to come.
(Candace Boothby is the president and CEO of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber.)