Stockton Womens Network was founded in 1982. SWN is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a forum for members to support each other in business, professional and personal growth.
We offer opportunities for networking, education, leadership, self-promotion and relationship building through member involvement, publications, luncheon meetings, mini-mixers and special events.
Then and Now... It is 1982, and a handful of business women in Stockton, California, decide to join together to provide personal and professional support, as had been available for their male counterparts for many years. Their loosely-structured organization finds a home for monthly luncheons where they can share business techniques, challenges, contacts and referrals. A network is born.
Today over 150 dynamic women thrive and grow their businesses through Stockton Womens Network. Owners, CEOs, entrepreneurs, middle managers, technicians, salespeople and many others from a diverse list of businesses make up the membership.
The Record once made these comments about the premiere womens organization in town:
The OLD BOYS network has been an asset to professional and business men for generations. Now women are tapping into similar support systems to gain similar benefits â€“ contacts, idea sharing, opportunities for professional and personal growth. Stockton is one of the communities across the United States where women have begun to weave a net of these special channels of communication through a formal organization, Stockton Womens Network.
The Shoe Does Fit!
All professions are a fit in the Network because there is a common denominator linking all: People like to do business with people they know â€“â€“ they like to recommend those same people to others.
Stockton Womens Network was the essential starting place for my community involvement. I often tell my new employees that, through SWN, I met every contact I would later need to become active as a board member and officer of many community organizations including President of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce. Most importantly, while SWN can provide you with important contacts in business and the community, it remains an organization that is just plain fun to be involved in!
Attorney & Partner, Herum, Crabtree, Dyer, Zolezzi & Terpstra (SWN president, 1992)
Stockton Womens Network has proven to be a significant force in building the reputation and growth of my business. Network members have provided a basic foundation of support both financially and emotionally as my business has grown and prospered during the past thirteen years. SWN is networking at its very best!
Ann Johnston - Mayor of Stockton
President & General Manager, The Balloonery, Inc.: Stockton City Councilwoman,
(SWN president, 1990)
In 1982, a group of five women, who met periodically for lunch to offer each other support and reinforcement, decided it was time to create and enlarge their group to include other professional women who might be feeling the same sense of isolation in the business world they each experienced.
These founders began meeting in earnest to create by-laws for their organization, which they dubbed, appropriately enough, - Stockton Womens Network. One of their primary goals was to keep the organization informal and friendly and to focus on each individual memberâ€™s professional needs.
The group adopted the monthly luncheon meeting format alternating with a bimonthly cocktail event. The first luncheon meetings were held at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Stockton, and the cocktail events were held at the Prime Rib Inn. Additionally, a summer-time evening of frivolity was planned. Originally dubbed - Jazz and Jeans, this event evolved into the much-anticipated Hoedown. In 1994, it became - Moonlight Rock â€˜N Roll.
The fundraiser moved to September in 1995. A new theme every year kept the event fresh.
After less than one year in operation, Stockton Womenâ€™s Network boasted 50 members and 150 on its mailing list. The birth of the newsletter, entitled The Web, included news about members and other information of note for business women.
Numerous locations have been utilized in the past for Stockton Womenâ€™s Network meetings. In 1985, the group selected Le Bistro Restaurant as its meeting location. Both the luncheons and the bimonthly cocktail events were held there.
The Board of Directors had ambitious goals to expand SWNs membership and networking opportunities. In 1993, they voted to relocate the luncheon meetings to the Stockton Hilton, (beginning in March, 1994) to accommodate a greater number of members and guests. (The hotel became the Radisson Hotel Stockton in 1998.)
The organization grew in size and sophistication. With the decision to establish an ongoing network office and telephone number in 1986, Stockton Womens Network began its unprecedented growth.
In 1994, SWN realized a long term goal by launching the citys first womens business conference/trade show, Women On The Move Expo.
In 1995, the SWN by-laws were amended to include corporate and associate memberships to provide an incentive for large businesses to enroll a group at a package rate.
In 1996, SWN provided the opportunity for members to network in smaller groups. Member-hosted Mini-Mixers were initiated and held quarterly at hosts businesses with free attendance for members and guests .
Interested in maintaining current standards of communication, Stockton Womens Network established an E-Mail address and its own WEB page in 1996.
In 1998, SWN explored the viability of evening meetings in addition to luncheons. The goal is to make SWN accessible to those who are not able to attend daytime meetings and increase networking opportunities for the general membership.
In 1998, SWN focused on the importance of members doing business with members and the Biz Bucks program was born. Every January SWN members shop at the Biz Bucks Boutique with their SWN script (Biz Bucks) for great merchandise.
In 1999, SWN set its sights on the benefits of education by allocating monies for scholarship purposes and proudly awards one scholarship per year to a deserving female, re-entry student.
In 2000, SWN increased its visibility and particpation in the community with the opportunity to work at the Asparagus Festival. In 2001, SWN took on the responsibility of Hospitality at the Festival and fed 5000+ volunteers over the three day event. SWN received rave reviews and members had a great time volunteering and networking at San Joaquin Countys biggest festival.
SWN reinvented their Women On The Move expo, calling it The SWN Business Expo. The Business Expo takes place on a regularly scheduled meeting date (in 2001, September). The event has over 40 business exhibits, free workshops and health screenings. This well-attended event is open to the public and admission is also free.
Today, the membership of Stockton Womens Network nears 150, and many of these members come from towns other than Stockton. The monthly newsletter, Network News, has evolved into a sophisticated publication that is distributed to 400 businesswomen each month.