I was approached by a man after our January luncheon who asked me, “You always say ‘ladies,’ but what about the men that come to Women’s Network events?” I told him that not only did he make an excellent point, but that we (in the steering and strategic planning committees) have spent considerable time discussing this very thing.

It can be confusing. The name of our organization is, after all, “Women’s Network.” This leads to a very interesting question — what role do men play in Women’s Network? I think there are at least three vital ones.

1.       They are supporting the women that are important to them.

I know that there are several men that join our group because they not only support developing great women leaders, but they’re supporting their great women leaders.

2.       They recognize the buying power of this group.

The money demo for nearly every marketing plan since the dawn of time has focused on women 25 to 54 years old. We have 500-plus women that are smack dab in this demo.

3.       They think we are cool.

Because we are! We have fun. We support each other and those that support our group. We have informational meetings, luncheons, happy hours, and great parties. And, more importantly, we do life together.

I asked a few men that are engaged WN members for their feedback on why it’s been important to them. Here is what they had to say:

“As the Chair-Elect of the Chamber, I felt it was really important for me to be involved with and understand as many of the different Chamber programs and committees as I could this year. Joining the Women’s Network was a great decision and I would highly recommend it to anyone.  They have great monthly meetings and the quality of speakers and content has been outstanding, and I haven’t even scratched the surface on all of the different programs and other opportunities they offer yet.”

—     David Nivens, Midwest Computech

“Why did I join Women’s Network? Because what guy wouldn’t want to hang out with more than 500 women!?  ’Nuff said. OK, I’m kidding. The real reason is that Women’s Network members are the mall’s primary targeted customer demographic. I am not aware of any other one business organization in Columbia that offers a larger number of our primary guests. Secondly, several of our core team members wanted to personally be a part of Women’s Network because they felt the WN members were a very active and engaged group of our community’s citizens that they wanted to be a part of. Changing The Odds is one such example of a team member’s passion and wanting to give back to her community in a positive way.”

—     Rusty Strodtman, Columbia Mall

“Women’s Network is about more than just women networking with each other. It’s about learning what is, could be, or should be important to women. By educating ourselves on these topics, we better support the lives of the women we know and learn the communication skills necessary to maximize business and personal relationships with women.”

—     Brian Hazelrigg, State Farm Insurance

So, the next time you see a gentleman at a Women’s Network event, you’ll notice them more and hopefully give them a high five as thanks for the support we receive from them.