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The first Professional Women’s Summit fosters community, networking

‘We get to be creative and share ideas’
Comedian and motivational speaker Stephanie McHugh gives the keynote speech at the first Professional Women’s Summit hosted by the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.

FARMINGTON – The first Professional Women’s Summit, held Thursday, is laying the groundwork for a community of mentorship and networking throughout the Four Corners, according to organizers.

Gathering at Artifacts Gallery in downtown Farmington, local area women discussed the power of mentors, tips on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, dealing with impostor syndrome and how to develop networks with community business owners and leaders. The event, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, also featured professional comedian and motivational speaker Stephanie McHugh, who grew up in Durango but now lives in Denver.

Jamie Church, president and CEO of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, said there are quite a few professional networking events in the Farmington-area but there seemed to be a gap in an event or group specific to women.

“We really wanted to make it about connecting,” she said. “A couple people commented they’re seeing a room full of people they don’t usually see, that they’ve never met before.”

Annette Randlemon, a womens health practitioner and owner of Pelle Spa in Farmington, said she came to get more involved and connect specifically with women in the community.

“I think women face different challenges than men,” Randlemon said, citing a speaker who discussed passing up a job because she had children. “I think we have unique experiences.”

Women network at the first Professional Women’s Summit. Organizer Jamie Church said she hopes to turn it into an annual event.

While there aren’t formal plans for a summit next year, Church said she hopes to make it an annual event. Church said there seems to be interest since this year’s event sold out at about 55 participants.

The summit didn’t shy away from getting personal, either. One of the presenters, Addie Betancourt, shared her journey to sobriety. She talked about removing the stigma around alcoholism and recovery.

“I speak on my journey, especially through my professional path, how I navigated my private drinking and my public drinking and raising children and having a career that would periodically bottom out because I would drink,” she said.

“We’re all doing the same thing. We’re all trying to be better people, to be more in our career, and we’re all carrying several different hats with us,” Betancourt said. “We come together, we get to be creative and share ideas.”

lweber@ durangoherald.com

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