Women's networking group provides resources for women business owners. Women in Motion featured in July 20, 2016 Mt. Airy Messenger
Women’s networking group provides resources for women business owners
(as published in the Mt. Airy Messenger)
By J.A. BURKE . Messenger Staff
Sheri Cates and Robin Cooney founded Mount Airy Women in Motion in 2004, a networking group of “Women business owners helping women business owners advance, encourage and grow their businesses,” said Cooney.
Sheri Cates who has owned a State Farm Insurance business in town for 32 years, came up with the idea while she was participating as a business owner at a business fair at the senior center in Mt. Airy in 2004. She observed that most of the people at the booths were women.
She took time to walk around and speak with each one to see if they were interested in a networking group to help women business owners. By the end of the fair, people were telling others there is a women’s business group in town, Cates said.
Cates’ family had been in the insurance business with State Farm in Wheeling, W. Va. where she grew up. Her father, brother and other relatives were agents. When she moved to Maryland, she contacted State Farm and they told that she could have the Mt. Airy office but there were no customers and she would have to start from scratch.
For 32 years Cates has built a solid business, and since 2004 when she formed the Mt. Airy Women in Motion networking group, she has been giving back to the community for treating her so well and doesn’t ask for anything in return.
Cooney is a regional vice president with Arbonne, has been with the skin care and nutritional products company for 13 years, and just returned from a convention in Las Vegas. Cooney said their products are all natural, and they have recently launched a skin care line for men. She grew up in Clarksville in Howard County and has lived in Mt. Airy for the last 11 years.
The operating philosophy of the group is to help other women succeed and grow their businesses. Cates said o the 100 members, about 40 percent are home based businesses, 40 percent are professionals and 20 percent are retail.
Cooney and Cates are the force behind the organization, devoting time and talent to make sure other women succeed. Cates said members do not pay any dues and she often takes money out of her own pocket to buy gifts for speakers at their monthly meetings. This is just another way she gives back to the community.
Women in Motion is also a proponent for fundraising causes. They are a major fundraising organization for the American Cancer Society and raised over $6,000 last year from a couple of events. One of those was a unique “Butter Aerobics” event held at the Farmers’ Market in June which raised $1,000. She said when participants were finished, they were able to take home the butter they made while exercising. The group is also a sponsor of the November Food Drive to benefit the Mt. Airy Net.
One of their members, Linda Koonz, branch manager at the M&T Bank in the Twin Arch Shopping Center, has been generous by providing meeting space in the board room on the last Friday of each month from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. for the members. Cates said that it is this kind of cooperation among members that makes the organization successful.
Cooney and Cates agree that what they like best about the work they do is the networking, making connections with other business owners and developing great relationships that have an impact on their business and lives.
Cates readily admits one of the challenges they face is to continually keep the meetings fresh with new dynamic speakers who can add value for the members. For more information on becoming a member, contact Sheri Cates at 301-829-9660 or Robin Cooney at 301-471-1852.
This article was published in the Mt. Airy Messenger on July 20, 2016 and is on Page 2 and Page 14.