ConnectW Thriving in Re-Opened Community


ConnectW events are a unique blend of business women coming together to support each other in business, along with socialization — just simply enjoying each other’s company,” says Dianne Porter of Primal Plate Wellness and board member of ConnectW.

ConnectW, established in 1986 in Bend, is running strong and is organized by a board of directors who bring backgrounds in nonprofit management as well as resumés from their business verticals.

As Central Oregon has re-opened post-pandemic, more businesses, consultancies and coaching practices have emerged and the desire for networking face-to-face has increased. “We were so happy to be offering in-person events again this spring. We never faltered during the shut-down; throughout the months of isolation, we continued our programming on Zoom to make sure our members stayed in touch and didn’t lose opportunities to network,” says Ginger Weeden of Set In Motion Marketing & Media and the newly-elected president of ConnectW. “Being new to Bend in 2019, it was such a blessing to have these ties with the community. The support was warm and inviting.”

The ConnectW membership runs the gamut from attorneys and financial advisors to integrative nutritionists, marketers and a plethora of other professions that adds substance and dimension to the group.

The organization provides three events per month, varying in structure from Munch and Mingle, a lunch at a local restaurant, for members and guests, on the second Thursday of each month, to the Monthly Meeting with an educational program and lots of networking time, every third Thursday. An additional members-only evening event, Cocktail Connections, is held in a member’s store front, office, home or restaurant and represents another opportunity for the members to socialize and celebrate their successes.

The programming co-directors, Tia Weinstein of Univox Media and Blythe Kelly of Divine Refine Experience, invite speakers from throughout the West Coast to present to the Monthly Meeting audience. 2022 topics have covered a wide range from improving productivity to improving communication interpersonal skills.

Recent speaker Allison Keeley, owner of Lioness Life and Communication Coaching of Oregon City, commented, “I found the ConnectW audience to be engaged and authentic. They had interesting questions and a willingness to learn. I’ve had several follow-up conversations with members who were eager to learn more about improving their communication skills with employees, children and spouses. Communication is such an obviously vital part of our human experience; we forget that it takes effort to perfect our skill as an empathetic listener.”

Local businesswoman Kris Prochaska of Align Your Design, LLC, will address the group on September 21. Ms. Prochaska’s topic is Drawing the Truth From Within, a workshop experience assisting audience members in tapping into their inherent strengths and identifying their unique challenges with the ultimate goal of designing a more natural way to success in life and business.

The meeting will be held at Open Space Event Studios, 220 NE Lafayette Ave., Bend, from 5:30pm to 8pm. Interested guests can register at; the deadline for registration is September 16. A catered meal will be served as a part of the $25 member registration fee. The non-member registration fee is $35.

Sponsorship opportunities are numerous and are good investments in helping members highlight their businesses. Patricia Nelson, attorney and owner of Two Spruce Law, has been a long-time member and finds sponsorship to be a consistent way to support the organization as well as being highlighted in all of the organization’s communications to the members and broader community.

“I originally joined ConnectW in 1995 and have enjoyed meeting other businesswomen and making life-long friendships. The programs are engaging and the networking is the best value for me,” Nelson has commented. Nelson is a large corporate sponsor of ConnectW.

Professionals interested in presenting a topic of personal or professional development to the Monthly Meeting audience can apply to the speaker’s bureau at Community businesses and nonprofits interested in attending an event can register for the current slate of events at


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