Women’s Executive Networking Breakfast Creates Volunteers, Donors in Memphis
By: Laura Poff
The Memphis Area Command hosted the fourth annual Women’s Executive Networking Breakfast, Tuesday, June 13. The event brings together female community leaders to network, listen to guest speakers and learn about how they can become involved in the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army.
“We use this as a relationship building event,” Development Director Aaron Keegan said. “We are building relationships with women leaders who can become donors, volunteers and advocates down the road.”
Keegan targeted local women-owned businesses, sending emails and personal invitations to local leaders. He also invited advisory board and auxiliary members, donors and volunteers, encouraging them to purchase tables for their friends.
In the end, the event drew in 170 women, including 15 residents of the Purdue Center of Hope, who were able to network with business leaders and speak to the impact The Salvation Army has had on their lives.
Local business owner Jewell Gatewood was a member of the Memphis corps as a child, enrolling in Sunbeams and attending camp where she was awarded second place in the Princess Ayita competition.
As she grew older, she stopped attending and lost touch with The Salvation Army until she heard about a women’s networking event being held at the Ray & Joan Kroc Center.
“As I looked around the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center and saw the families coming and going, I couldn’t help but see how many other families they are still connecting with and supporting,” Gatewood said. “The great work they do in every city and town sometimes goes unnoticed but there is such a real need in our communities for more Salvation Armies! They are there to lend a helping hand when you need one, they’re there to share your joys and your sorrows.”
In July, Gatewood is meeting with Keegan to tour the facility and plans to become more involved in the Kroc Center’s youth programs this fall.
“I have always supported the Salvation Army because of the great foundation in Christ they gave both me and my family while I was growing up,” she said. “I am hoping that many of my fellow breakfast networking attendees will follow in this same path. Our children need mentors now more than ever.”