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For more than 50 years, a Cedar City group has provided support, education and scholarships to women in the Iron County business world.
The group, called Cedar City Women in Business, is an arm of the Cedar City Area Chamber of Commerce. Deniece Allred, executive director of the group for the last three years, said the organization’s mission is to provide business and professional women in Iron County with a venue for networking, education and community involvement.
Although she doesn’t know much about the organization’s history, Allred does have a scrapbook from the 1950s with pictures of social events the group attended.
“I think women formed this organization back then because they weren’t allowed to do things in business,” she said. “Although it looks like it was more of a social thing back then, it has really evolved over the years.”
Currently, there are about 30 active members of the group, but more than 80 women have signed up through their chamber membership, which is a requirement to be a part of the group.
The organization hosts a monthly luncheon with a different guest speaker each time. Topics range across all areas of business. September’s luncheon will focus on the five most overlooked public relations items that can instantly improve a business and business owner’s image.
“The women in our organization are professional women,” Allred said. “Our goal is that women feel connected in a man’s world. They can bring their strengths to the organization and help strengthen their weaknesses through help from other women.”
Allred said just because Cedar City and Iron County are considered rural areas, it doesn’t mean the business women are any less professional.
“Just because we live in a rural environment doesn’t mean we can show up not prepared and not dressed properly for a meeting,” she said. “This organization gives women tools, education and support so they can be successful in their business.”
Allred said the group is also available to women who are just starting a new business, because women in the group are able to help support them by getting the word out that there is a new business in town.
The organization holds two fundraising events each year so that it can gift scholarships to women who want to pursue business in education.
In February, the group hosts an expo for women that includes several educational classes, such as the importance of LLCs, customer service, how to beef up resumes and how to dress appropriately for business meetings. Each fall, the group hosts an event called the Pumpkin Festival, a community-based carnival.
Through these events last year, the group was able to give $4,500 in scholarships to seven Iron County high school seniors as well as a non-traditional student in May.
“This is a really positive organization to help benefit women,” Allred said. “It doesn’t matter where you are in your business life. All women can glean something from the group. Even if you are already a professional and know a lot, we can all learn something and network with one another.”