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B.O.S.S. Lady makes its debut in Elizabethton

BY LYNN J. RICHARDSON

More than three dozen women gathered at The Coffee Company in downtown Elizabethton on Tuesday morning to make new friends and develop and strengthen their connections in the business world.

The occasion was the debut event of B.O.S.S Lady (Building Our Strengths for Success), a new networking group. Hosted by the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce, it is designed for women from entry to executive level.

The brainchild of the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber Director Joy McCray, McCray says she plans to make the group’s gathering a monthly event.

“We will meet monthly for a networking event and quarterly for a workshop around a specific topic that provides insight, positive action and a new perspective,” McCray said. “BOSS Lady is open to all women in our community, not just chamber members. Whether a lady is serving as a leader in our community and in her career or is just starting out, BOSS Lady is a great place to be inspired.”

McCray added that women who are retired from their careers and still want to be engaged and for women who’ve changed paths completely, BOSS lady is a place to grow. “Women on all walks in their career journey are welcome to join us as we grow in our endeavors together.”

 The idea for BOSS Lady came, as the result of a conversation McCray and several “very smart women” that she says she has aligned with her own life.

“The concept came from an idea of what would we have said to our 25-year-old selves, knowing what we know now. Would we have pushed ourselves in a different direction? Would we have taken different risks?” McCray said.

“The topics of who was in our corner, who were our cheerleaders, who was on our personal ‘Board of Directors’ always came up,” she added. “I would not be where I am today without these smart women, those hard conversations, and the support of BOSS ladies who blazed the trail before me.”

One of those women with years of experience is newly-elected Judge Teresa Murray Smith. With 42 years in the legal profession, Smith says she hopes she can add to the conversation, while also learning new things from others in various professions.

“For so long we had no way to network, no way to cross professions,” Smith said. “I think BOSS Lady is a wonderful idea, and I learned a lot from different people. I hope I can pass along some of the things I’ve learned over the years to younger women.”

Smith says that if she had one word of advice for younger women entering a new job, it would be not to assume they know everything.

“Seek the advice of older professional women and listen to them,” she added. “There is a lot of wisdom there.”

Andrea Lewis, Business Development Coordinator for Northeast Community Credit Union is one of those “younger women” Smith referenced.

Four and a half years into her first job, Lewis says she found it inspiring to see women come together and make an impact for the betterment of the community.

“Partnership is really important because I believe together we can grow and in the end all that really matters is friendship, partnerships and growth,” Lewis said. “No matter how many years you have in the workforce, the biggest takeaway I remember is how someone treats others. We need to all have that same respect for one another.”

Jennifer Greenwell, Public Relations and Event Manager for Carter County Bank, also said she thought the meeting was wonderful and long overdue. She has been with Carter County Bank for two and a half years and in marketing and public relations for 15 years.

“I thought it was great, and what a wonderful turnout,” Greenwell said. “It shows that women really do want to support each other, network and be part of the process.

“As women, we can really help the younger women who are starting their careers,” she added. “Being there for them is important and it empowers all of us when we work together.”

Greenwell also says she is looking forward to the next BOSS Lady event, Leadercast Women, scheduled for Friday, October 2, 7:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Tickets are available at elizabethtonchamber.com.