Women in Rural provides new networking opportunity | SteamboatToday.com

Women in Rural provides new networking opportunity

Routt County’s new female-led group, Women in Rural, launched Thursday with the tagline, "Badass women doing extraordinary things in unordinary places." (Courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — What started as an idea is now becoming a reality for Kirstie McPherson and Reed Jones.

"There was something missing," said McPherson, CEO of Edeveco Relations and Development, owner and furniture designer of The Find, Co. in Hayden and marketing director at Golden Shovel Agency. “There were a variety of regionally-specific programs yet there wasn’t anything that specifically focused on women in rural communities across the U.S.”

After reading 406 Woman Magazine, which was dedicated to women in Northwest Montana, the idea was hatched to create Women in Rural, a resource and networking group focused on connecting like-minded women in rural areas.

The tagline, "Badass women doing extraordinary things in unordinary places," defines what McPherson and Jones hope this new group will create by providing support, education and resources for personal and professional development.

Women in Rural was introduced to the community Thursday during a Launch Party at The Barley in Steamboat Springs. The event brought together women of all professions, ages and education levels to build the foundation of what Reed and McPherson hope will become a strong and diverse network.

The plan is to start in Northwest Colorado and then move to other rural regions to build a national presence.

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"There wasn't anything on a broader scale like this,” said McPherson, who lives in Craig. “Creating a platform for women to engage with other women across community and state lines was incredibly important for this effort."

Meeting with about 50 to 60 women each, Jones and McPherson sought to figure out what the needs were of the women in Routt County. The question they focused on was, "What do women in rural communities really want and need and how can we provide that?"

Those needs ranged from discussions about challenges in the workplace and personal life based on living in a rural town to women wanting to be a contributing resource whether through workshops or a digital platform like the Women In Rural website.

"We're building it, but it's really our job to really listen to people and bring them what they are asking for," McPherson said.

Their five-year vision is to have women coming together from rural communities across the country to contribute to Women In Rural shared resources, gain knowledge and take what they learn back to their communities.

"We're looking for everybody under the sun,” said Jones, who lives in Steamboat. “We want the master brewers, the entrepreneurs, designers, real estate agents, the teachers – to create a diverse cross-section of women with the different views, knowledge and resources that each brings to the table."

To get involved, women have to apply and pay an annual $99 membership fee.

Membership benefits include access to the Facebook group and LinkedIn page, as well as resources on the website, including blogs, articles based on specific topics and information on upcoming events or retreats.

Visit womeninrural.com for more information.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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