Inaugural Women in Business Dinner a success

Published 11:12 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

A capacity crowd came out last week for the Bell County Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Dinner at the Rendezvous Event Center in Middlesboro.

“The Women in Business Dinner was an incredible celebration of women’s achievements here in Bell County. We are incredibly thankful to everyone who joined us and contributed to making the event a resounding success,” said Melissa Turner, executive director of the Bell County Chamber of Commerce. “As I looked out at the room overflowing with accomplished women, I couldn’t help but see the sheer strength of our community. I challenge us all to carry forward this empowering spirit as we pave the way for the future generations of women here in Bell County and beyond.”

The event was highlighted by a panel discussion, led by Chamber of Commerce Vice President Rian Johnson, that included  Rebecca Akers from the ARH Women’s & Family Health Center, Janet Jackson from JACo, Jennifer Williams from the  Redmond Auto Group, Jennifer Yankey from Partners for Rural Impact and Dr. Audrey Kinder from Kinder Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.

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They discussed a wide range of topics including: how women’s roles in the workplace have evolved, the importance of  networking and mentorship to women in the business world, overcoming obstacles such as gender-based discrimination, managing to balance work life and home life as well as several others.

“We are blessed in Bell County to have such incredible female leaders,” Johnson said in wrapping up the panel discussion. “It’s been a pleasure talking to you all about your experiences and advice.”

Cater It! Catering provided food for the dinner with members of Pineville’s Interact Club acting as servers. Elevation Physical Therapy sponsored a wine bar and there was a silent auction throughout the evening.

Chamber President Alex Gambrel opened the dinner with a speech welcoming everyone. She thanked all of the event’s sponsors, which included Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Middlesboro Coca Cola Bottling Works, Partners for Rural Impact, Kinder Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, Redmond Auto Group, Middlesboro ARH, JACo , Elevation, Hearthside Bank, Jessie Moberg Law, the Middlesboro, Bell County, and Pineville Boards of Education, Beacon of Light Family Chiropractic and the Middlesboro Housing Authority.

Gambrel closed her opening remarks with a toast.

“Now we raise our glasses to the inaugural Bell County Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Dinner, to the trailblazers and the visionaries, to the leaders and the innovators. May this evening be the first of many memorable gatherings where we come together to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women in business,” she said.

The evening concluded with a surprise presentation of the Women In Business Leadership Award to former Bell County Commonwealth’s Attorney Karen Greene Blondell.