Something unexpected happened when Great Dames had to reschedule all of its in-person programming as online events in 2020: It set off an international growth spurt, quadrupling the number of members and making its events and resources accessible to countless more.
Today, the women’s professional networking group has eight chapters: a virtual global chapter, a virtual national chapter, and chapters in Delaware, Philadelphia, New York’s Rochester and North Country, and South Jersey, plus a DC chapter launching soon.
That’s good news, but it’s led to issues that the Delaware-based nonprofit never had to think about — like time zones. More than that, its growing base wanted to connect with each other on a regular basis, not just during Great Dames events.
So, as President Sharon Kelly Hake told Technical.ly, “we are responding to that and launching something we’re calling the Great Dames Hub, which is an online platform to bring our members together whenever they would like to do it.” The hub will also include a directory so members can find each other to connect further.
The hub, which is being built on the Club Express platform, will include a forum where members can chat about current topics, as well as a marketplace where entrepreneurs, companies and nonprofits can share and sell their goods and services, and spread awareness for causes.
You can find out more about the new Great Dames community at a Zoom event on Oct. 26 featuring Joanne Litz, founder of sustainable fashion brand Steel Pony; Allison Garrett, founder of Newark-based Pampered Perfect Spa; and Pamela Baker, managing partner with Barbacane, Thornton & Co., all of whom are already in the marketplace.
During the event, Great Dames will offer beta testing opportunities on the new platform for anyone interested; membership in the organization is not required. The hub will have its hard launch in January.