(Photo via Twitter)
About three years ago, networking organization Great Dames celebrated its five-year anniversary. Last year, the organization began to look at restructuring its model to expand its reach. That’s when founder Sharon Hake decided to launch the Rochester chapter, which served as a test site for replicating the Great Dames framework in a different geographic location. With more locations in the works in the future, Great Dames has decided to launch a membership model this year.
But why a membership model and why now? “We’re responding to the requests from the community to have a membership program. They’re looking for greater frequency and more opportunities to connect as women to support each other to become more successful,” explained Hake.
How does it work? Well, the Great Dames network has continued to expand as Hake is a networking machine. The annual dues have been set at $95 and membership model made sense to maintain the growing network of leaders. Now members can weigh in on future programming ideas and vote on submissions for the organization’s Remarkable Ideas competition, in addition to discounted tickets for events (the early bird price will be the set price for members). Those within the Great Dames circle will also get a special badge and business cards to use at networking events.
The membership model was inspired by the Rochester chapter, where a peer advisory group was formed, creating a foundation for a model. As a result, Hake is launching two peer advisory groups, one in Delaware and another in Philadelphia. The groups will be capped at 20 women each. The Rochester chapter has been ripe for experimentation because it’s the newest chapter and well, it’s less risky to try out new methods in a new market.
“They are doing so well, in fact they’re teaching us [new things],” said Hake.
But what does that mean for non-members? They’re still encouraged to join events.
Those interested in becoming members submit their application on the Great Dames website here.