Great Dames launches in Rochester - Delaware


Great Dames launches in Rochester

A group of Western New York women is testing the scalability of the organization, which supports female leaders, entrepreneurs and execs.

Nine out of 11 participants of Great Dames Rochester's first meeting.

(Courtesy photo)

We told you all about what’s ahead for Great Dames. Well, the organization held its official Rochester expansion last week. The idea is to start out with a small group, just like the first group in Delaware a few years ago. Eleven women were invited to participate this year in Rochester with a commitment of three hours a month.

The age of this chapter’s participants range from 25 to 50 years old. Backgrounds are a mix of corporate women and entrepreneurs who are interested in tackling business challenges with their peer advisers.

But how does the chapter run? The upstate operation is helmed by Kathy Palokoff and joined by leaders Nance Goyette Duncan and Heidi Trost. Membership is $120 a year and participants have to finance their own materials. Why? Since Great Dames programs are focused on philanthropy, the dues will go towards a nonprofit that falls within the organization’s mission of supporting woman-powered entrepreneurship.

“We do not only advance ourselves personally and professionally but also give back to the community,” said Great Dames President Sharon Hake.

Rochester, the home of once-mighty Kodak and a slept-on talent pool of innovative knowledge workers, is a good market for Great Dames’ first expansion. Hake says it could lay the framework for additional chapters in the U.S. and abroad.

“We used this Rochester chapter as an opportunity identify what the transferability of our model is,” she said.

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