There is no shortage of professional and business women in Squamish. They are bankers, lawyers, realtors, doctors, nurses, administrators and shop owners - just to name a few. Now a new organization is hoping to bring these women together to improve the lives of women and girls in the community and throughout the world.
Organizers of a new Soroptimist club announced this week they will hold an informational meeting for business and professional women Thursday (Feb. 26) at 7 p.m. at the Hotspot Community Resource Centre.
"The name Soroptimist means 'best for women,' and that's what our club will strive to achieve," said organizer Melissa Sheridan. "Our club will offer opportunities to participate in programs that change lives, as well as to develop lifelong friendships and a network of business contacts."
Sheridan, a mortgage broker with Garibaldi Mortgage, said she got the idea to establish a local club after hearing about her sister's experiences in a Banff club.
"My sister... talked about the many ways her club has been able to provide support for women in the Banff area. So I researched the organization online and then met with the Region Governor for Western Canada, Angela Bunting about the possibilities of starting a club here in Squamish."Members of the new club will determine its areas of service based on the needs of the community, according to Sheridan. Soroptimist projects can range from renovating domestic violence shelters, to providing mammograms to low-income women, to sponsoring self-esteem workshops for teenage girls.
"The Soroptimist mission is exemplified by its major project, the Soroptimist Women's Opportunity Awards," she said. "Each year Soroptimist gives more than $1 million to women who need to improve their job skills through education and training. Most are single moms and many are domestic violence survivors."
The club will be part of Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA), an international volunteer organization for business and professional women with almost 40,000 members in 19 countries and territories. Soroptimists volunteer their talents and energy to help women and girls live their dreams every day by giving them the resources to create positive change for themselves, their families and their communities.
The Squamish club will be part of this international network of clubs and membership provides access to 95,000 business and professional women worldwide who face the same challenges of balancing career, family and volunteerism.
Interested women that are unable to attend the initial meeting Thursday (Feb. 26) are asked to contact Sheridan at Melissa@mygmi.com or by phone at 604-892-4321. There will also be more opportunities to join with additional meetings in the near future.