Women’s Networking Alliance (WNA) is a national organization with six chapters in the Bay Area—including one in here in San Jose. It provides a forum for education and encouragement to help women-owned businesses increase their bottom line and business owners reach their full potential both professionally and personally.
“We have a passion for making sure women-owned businesses have what they need to thrive,” said WNA President Carla Bohnett, who also owns CB Photo Design Studio. “Both Tracey and I have built our own businesses from fledgling companies to where we are now. WNA has been integral to both of us in our ongoing success. We want to pass on the benefit of WNA to others while they grow.”
WNA was founded in 2007 by Debbie Quintana and grew under her leadership to include nine chapters throughout Northern California and in Peoria, AZ. Quintana is now stepping back as Bohnett and WNA Vice President Tracey Lee Davis, owner of ZingPop Social Media, assume ownership of the organization effective June 1, 2018.
“We plan to expand the organizational structure and create additional avenues to support women-owned businesses in the Bay Area” Bohnett said. “Debbie [Quintana] will no longer be involved in the operations of WNA but will focus on growing Arizona chapters under our leadership as the new owners of WNA.”
Plans for the immediate future include a new WNA chapter located in the East Bay led by Elyse Tager and an Arizona chapter in Peoria led by Quintana. In addition, WNA is actively looking to connect with community partners whose vision aligns with theirs to expand opportunities for women to grow in their business. Davis and Bohnett plan to pursue not for profit status over the next several years.
“There are so many women-owned businesses in the Bay Area,” Davis said. “We are committed to giving them the encouragement, education, camaraderie and referrals they need in order to succeed. We want to take what Debbie started and move WNA into the future, even beyond her original vision. So much has changed over the past several years in the way we do business and WNA needs to adapt to those changes to effectively support women-owned businesses.”
Bohnett and Davis plan to continue the networking functions of WNA while expanding educational opportunities and involving WNA in regional events to connect with a wider range of businesses of all sizes. They also plan to add mentoring services for women in the initial stages of building their businesses, along with support services for members who need help and advice – no matter the size or stage of their business development.
Cecily Whiteside is a member of WNA’s San Jose chapter and owner of Sora Creative Imagining. For more information, to visit a local chapter, or to join WNA go to www.womensnetworkalliance.com, email [email protected] or call 669.244.4620. Opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].