Top of the Bay Business Women was born out of the concept that women network differently than men, or even mixed groups do. In August 25, 2009, Laura Mayse, the former Executive Director of the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce, invited 12 women to lunch in Elkton to discuss considerations for a networking group for business women in the area. Because it was exclusive (limited in that men wouldn’t be invited), the Chamber couldn’t sponsor the meetings. The concept was received with high regard at that first gathering.
Our first meeting was held at (then) Susky Grille in Port Deposit on Wednesday, September 23, 2009. We had about 20 women in attendance that day. The meeting was such a success, we decided to offer a monthly meeting, held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. We used the old fashioned method of spreading the word by simply inviting ladies we thought might be interested.
As the interest in our group grew, we realized we needed to get just a bit more formalized, and establish a name for ourselves. At an open planning session the following year, we agreed on the name Top of the Bay Business Women, knowing we had consistent attendance of business women from both Harford and Cecil counties. It was simply a matter of looking at a map of Maryland and getting a little creative. It’s amazing what a group of savvy women can do when we put our heads together!
Top of the Bay Business Women works to network and grow our businesses amongst ourselves and our community. We meet monthly, with a few exceptions based on summer vacations and holiday schedules. We decided early on not to establish a membership fee, and have held to that policy over the years. Our meetings are held at various locations throughout Cecil, Harford, and New Castle counties.
In addition to networking and relationship building, we have incorporated speakers into some of our meetings as well. Topics such as online marketing, financial planning, wellness and professional appearance keep our meetings focused on topics that all women can relate to. We also have an annual Give Back Day and support collections during the holidays for local non-profits.
We have an active Board and are always looking for strong leaders to help us grow even more. Our membership has also grown over the years, and we now average 20-30 women at our meetings, with over 100 invitations being emailed monthly.