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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2019 5 months ago

West Orange Chamber of Commerce to host event celebrating women

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In honor of Women’s History Month, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce is hosting another Celebrating Extraordinary Women event.
by: Danielle Hendrix Associate Editor

Just in time for Women’s History Month, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to host an event that celebrates women and their achievements.

On Thursday, March 28, women from all walks of life are invited to join the chamber at Lakewalk at Hamlin for an inspiring evening of networking, sharing stories and camaraderie.

The chamber has been hosting its Celebrating Extraordinary Women event for a few years now. WOCC President Stina D’Uva said her staff’s goal is to invite women who have made an impact on their respective career paths to speak with and encourage other women in their own walks of life.

“We look to find women that have made a mark on diverse types of industries or career paths, so these women definitely all demonstrate that in different areas,” she said. “We really just want to cover different types of careers and women’s experiences.” 

During Thursday’s event, guests will meet three extraordinary women: Marva Johnson, vice president of the state government affairs for Charter Communications’ south region; Ellen Korbin, a one-woman entrepreneur and owner of Hill of Beans Coffee Company, Creative Culineers and Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ; and Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey.

Johnson has more than 20 years of experience in the communications industry and serves as the chairwoman of the Florida State Board of Education, as well as chairwoman of the Global Board of Women in Cable Telecommunications.

As a mother of two small children, Korbin spread her expertise from the Orlando Convention Center to Walt Disney World Resort and back to Ocoee — all while building her businesses and raising her family along the way.

VanderLey, a mother of three, spent time as a business-development consultant and assisted engineers and land developers. She became more involved and active in her local government while doing so and was appointed to Orange County’s Planning and Zoning Commission prior to her election as an Orange County commissioner.

In the past, these events have varied in structure from roundtable style to panels of anywhere from one woman to three or more, D’Uva said. The goal is to gather women for an evening of honest discussions, shared experiences and networking.

“It was really just trying to find something specific to women and give them an opportunity to be able to have conversations with other women that were honest and open and not so structured,” she said. 

D’Uva hopes women who attend will enjoy a night of women celebrating one another, as well as be encouraged by and learn from experiences shared throughout the evening.

“It’s just an honest opportunity for women to get together and really understand what each of us is going through, how we’ve all gotten to where we have in our career paths and to be able to help other women achieve greater depths,” she said. 

Danielle Hendrix is the Associate Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She is a 2015 graduate of the University of Central Florida, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in world comparative studies. ...

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