The smell of freshly baked goods drifted through the air of Little Fox Bakery as women mingled and chatted over doughnuts, coffee and mimosas. When Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler organized the event called “Flourishing Females,” they had one main goal in mind: connection.
Wooden and Butler wanted local women to gather and connect with one another in a comfortable space. Their idea came to life on Saturday, Nov. 10, when over twenty local women came together to discuss entrepreneurship.
“Flourishing Females” was a panel and workshop designed for both established and aspiring female entrepreneurs. The event was hosted by Pare and Flourish, a team created by Wooden and Butler, to connect and inspire women. It started about two years ago as a blog but later grew into something more.
“We quickly realized that we wanted to find a meaningful way to get in touch with other women and to network with them,” Butler said.
The two women then created “Flourish Roundtables,” which are small networking events that include up to 10 women and two moderators. They would choose a topic and then gear the conversation toward that topic in a meaningful way. After reaching out to other female entrepreneurs and collaborating with them on the “Flourish Roundtables,” they realized other women could benefit from getting to know them. “Flourishing Females” was their first larger panel and workshop event.
“What we’re really hoping for is that this event and future events will help women to break that glass ceiling,” Butler said. “We want them to feel like they have a network of women that they can reach out to for any questions, for help if they need it, if they need a contact. Sometimes it really feels like it’s a man’s world.”
The day began with a networking session where women were encouraged to introduce themselves and exchange business cards. Then, a panel of local female entrepreneurs spoke about how they got their businesses started. The panel included Michelle Young Darnall of Beet Box Produce, Mary Duke of My Sunshine Birth Services, Allison Brown Millet of Bowling Green Backyard Bootcamp and Teresa Christmas of Art Matters. After the panel, there was a workshop about putting ideas into action.
“I think that bringing female entrepreneurs in Bowling Green together is extremely important because they can all be working together,” Wooden said. “And just seeing so many women in one room who either own a business or want to own a business is a powerful thing.”
Wooden also acknowledged the community support that helped bring “Flourishing Females” to life.
“We are lucky to live in a place with such a strong community aspect to it,” Wooden said. “Local businesses are so willing to help each other, and that’s really exciting.”
Morgan Trask traveled from Leitchfield to attend the event after seeing it advertised on Facebook.
“I didn’t realize there was going to be so much socialization and networking,” Trask said. “So far I have gotten some interesting connections. I work in digital marketing, and I’ve been able to get some more content ideas.”
Casey Bray also saw the event advertised on Facebook and is hoping to start her own business.
“Helping women is a passion of mine,” Bray said. “Seeing all these women come together was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.”
The women on the panel continually expressed the idea that there is room for everyone in business, and it is not a competition.
“I love how they say there’s room for everyone,” Bray said. “That’s the encouragement we need in Bowling Green, because we’re growing so fast, and sometimes you feel like there’s so much competition. But it’s not really competition, it’s women supporting women.”
Bray said she thinks there should be more events like “Flourishing Females.”
“This can only lead to good,” Bray said.
Sarah Gust, a local artist who owns Folksense Arts, was brought in by Wooden and Butler as a collaborator and helped organize the event.
“I just felt like there was definitely a need in Bowling Green for females to have a platform to connect and to not feel like we’re competing all the time,” Gust said. “All I hope for this event is that people, specifically women, learn to lean on each other a little bit more without a competitive edge.”
Pare and Flourish hope to hold more workshops in Bowling Green in the future.
Features reporter Kelley Holland can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]