It’s who you know: women talk networks

BU Women’s League discusses how businesswomen thrive by making contacts

By Sally Ann Moyer

Networking is one of the first steps to developing a successful business, area businesswomen say, but gender can play a role in holding potential entrepreneurs back from getting started.

Baylor Women’s League hosted its annual Women in the Workplace event Wednesday in Morrison Hall to encourage women in entrepreneurship.

Margaret Ferguson spoke about starting her own catering company, Festive Occasions, Inc., and God’s role in her business.

“The first thing I should say is I had no clue what I was getting into. The second thing I learned is what I couldn’t do alone, God could strengthen me through,” Ferguson said.

She began catering for events at her church and soon expanded into her own business.

“I’m an exception to the rule: I’m a terrible business woman. … Basically, I’m a mess. I’m an example of what not to do, but also an example of what God can do in your business,” Ferguson said.

Bridgett Moore, Mary Kay Cosmetics independent sales director and president of Women of Waco, offered advice on networking.

“For the first three or four years, I did not network. I didn’t even know what the word meant,” Moore said.

“I found people in my industry who were very successful at what they did and I did anything I could to hear from them.”

She now mentors more than 100 women and serves more than 500 customers.

“I love what I do and I’m very passionate about it, and because of that I don’t feel like it’s a job,” Moore said.

Both women emphasized that their advice was applicable to any career.

“It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what your passion is, it all works the same,” Moore said.

Ferguson opened her presentation with a prayer and peppered her speech with Bible verses and encouragement to find strength from faith in God.

“Some people shudder about putting God into the business world, but when you believe in God, he is in your business,” she said.

“Here’s something I can tell you, the four P’s: passion, preparation, pride and public service — four key elements that will help you in your journey,” she said.

Ferguson also reminded women of the value of hard work, especially in what she said is still a man’s world.

“You need to be willing to do anything that you require of your staff,” Ferguson said. “If you don’t or won’t do what you expect of them, then how can you expect them to do it?”

Moore cautioned women against getting caught in the emotions of business.

“Rejection is not personal, it’s business. You’re just rejecting what I’m offering you; you’re not rejecting me,” she said.

La Feria senior Christina Robles, vice president of Baylor Women’s League, said the event’s purpose was to promote professional growth.

“By hearing the stories of women who have achieved professional success in a certain profession, we hope that will inspire all women to diligently pursue success in whatever profession,” Robles said.

The women in attendance left the event with information about getting started in the business world.

“I think [women] gained the encouragement and the know how to go about starting their own business,” Robles said. “I think a lot of times it’s hard to know how to get to started.”

Since January, Moore has served as president of Women of Waco, an 80-member organization geared toward serving female business owners.

“Men do their business on the golf course, but for us as women we decided to have social time, that’s where we find our best networking,” Moore said.

Women of Waco meets the second Friday of every month at 11:30 a.m. at Gratziano’s restaurant at 217 Mary Ave. in downtown Waco.