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Savory Sonoma, by Stephanie Hiller - February 2015

Savory Sonoma, by Stephanie Hiller -
February 2015

What do women need to succeed in business?

The G3 Conference, to be held here in March for the second time, promises inspiration, motivation and information to women of all ages making transitions back into the workforce after raising a family, or starting a new business, or just making a career change.

“We will Gather, you will Grow, and you will confidently GO!” promises the website. Three big G’s, three vibrant women founders, and all the tools you need for success.

The conference offers a unique blend of topics and skills building, says Piper Abodeely, one of the three founders. Piper, a leadership coach, moved to Sonoma with her husband two years ago from Seattle and quickly found two other coaches to collaborate with, Michelle Dale and Anne Marie Sebastiani. Together they assembled a full menu of presenters and topics with an all-you-need-to-know approach to taking that next big step to grow your happiness – and your money.

Topics included health and wellness, fashion, personal clarity, career building, self-confidence and integrative approaches for coping with stress – and more! The first conference was held November 10-12 at MacArthur Place. There were some surprises. Writing exercises were used to assist in the process of conquering personal obstacles. A presentation on accessing intuition involved making collages. The bountiful dinner at Ramekins, with wine, of course, was followed by games and exercises.

It was obvious on the last day that the 50 or so women who attended had had a great time; there was a glow about them, and they were speaking up about what they had learned during three full days of talks, exercises, activities – and networking. Many of the guests were local, but others had come from as far away as Vancouver. Most were women in mid-life, at the full peak of their lives. The energy in the room was exuberant and strong. Something had been kindled.

It was about empowerment, of course, though I did not hear the word used. Empowerment might have sounded too much like feminism, I don’t know; perhaps it is just an old word, out of date. As for feminism, Piper responded fervently that they were NOT feminists.

I was a bit taken aback, being of the generation that fought hard for the rights of these vibrant daughters of ours to step up on the stairway to equality and claim their power; clearly, they had got the message somewhere. They were celebrating their womanhood in a way that we might not have felt free to do in our 30s and 40s when we had to fight for it. And fight we did, sometimes aggressively, not always gracefully, not always crossing our legs, you know, not always thanking those in power (men) for granting us ten minutes for this, five dollars for that.

Some things have changed, but not equal pay, not the rates of rape (1 in 3 women), not the right to choose what happens to one’s body as a result of sex. It’s still all about sex, and that was not a topic at the conference; nor was the delicate art of combining career with child rearing, something all three women are doing – and most women are having to do as more or less the price of our liberation.

But never mind. One conference can’t do it all, can’t solve it all; even if it promises to launch you on the speedway to success – which means money, money, money, and that may be the road to happiness, who knows.

“Together we can change the world,” said Michelle Dale, one of the founders; and we hope they do. It needs changing.

The G3 will be going for its second round in March. The price may seem a bit steep for those most in need of the boost, but it’s a good time and certain to charge up your batteries. There’s nothing like a roomful of women to turn up the energy, and those late nights in the hotel must have been charged with engaging conversation. More power to ‘em! Check the website for info:

While we are talking about women, which does seem appropriate, if not every day of the week, then certainly for this “LOVE Issue” of the Gazette, let me put in a plug for lively Vesta Copestakes and her novel idea to print a paper written entirely by readers. It’s been so popular in the West County, and I hope it’ll get around here a bit more, so tell your friends! And please do write to me and generate some controversy; it’s what the media thrives on, you know. I have strong feelings, which means you’ll find it easy to disagree…

I seem to have run out of space to say much about “Girl Talk,” the quarterly discussion groups initiated by Patricia A. Brooks and sponsored by the Women’s Health Center at Sonoma Valley Hospital (about which much more should be said – aren’t we luck to have it?). Unfortunately I missed the group this month, which was about nutrition. We’ll try to catch up with Patricia soon to find out more about her program for women’s health.

Send me your concerns:

Stephanie Hiller is a writer and life coach. She blogs at