Women are essential to the workforce, and Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD) wants to ensure that women are developed and advanced to help strengthen the economic prosperity of the communities it serves.
“WELD is a national 501(c)(3) organization and builds programs, events, and a community to support the leadership development of women and drives business growth,” explains National Chapter Management Officer Deepa Keller.
The founders behind it organization wanted to establish something that would accurately represent female leadership in the community. And they didn’t want to just help women in typical roles, but they wanted to increase the number of women leaders, promote and elevate other women to get a seat at the table and provide programs and connections to advance women to the top.
WELD is a volunteer-based organization that provides opportunities for women to build strong community connections while also paying forward their success. “These connections foster new careers and business-building opportunities for our volunteers and help women find mentors and sponsors,” says Keller. “We are governed by a volunteer board of directors and we have a national office team that executes the operational aspects of the organization and its chapters.”
The history of WELD dates back to Columbus in 2003 as a local organization. However, throughout the last more than 15 years, WELD has established itself as a national organization with chapters that offer a plethora of leadership programs and events.
That growth has now expanded to the Cincinnati market. Keller says the first event in the Southern Ohio/Cincinnati region was held in April 2018.
“We officially launched as a chapter in September 2019, growing to over 50 members this past summer,” says Keller. “We are hoping to expand by reaching women through our programs and events that help develop women’s business and leadership skills, expand their community and national connections, and provide them with opportunities to pay forward their success.”
Keller says that there’s a bonus to having a WELD membership for businesses. “Studies have shown that the more women in executive roles within companies, the more successful the company,” she says. “Research from Catalyst, a global nonprofit with the same goal as WELD, found that companies that have gender diversity are among the highest performing. Attending WELD events provides women business owners the opportunity to invest in their own leadership development as well as that of their employees, and also opens invaluable connections for their businesses.”
There are opportunities to lead within WELD, which also allows anyone to become a member. “WELD also partners with male allies to advance its mission,” says Keller. “WELD has received awards for its diversity and leadership.”
There are several upcoming events for the Southern Ohio region:
Thursday, October 10: Hyde Park Country Club from 7:30-9:30 am. This event will host Krissi Barr, Founder of Barr Corporate Success, where she will be discussing “The Fido Factor: How To Get A Leg Up At Work.” Attendees will have the opportunity to share that attendees of the event will have the opportunity to earn CPE credit – in accordance with the standards of the National Registry of CPE Sponsors.
Thursday, November 14 from 5:30-7:30pm at a venue that’s to be announced. The event will feature Cofi Higgins, Regional Trainer for Chik-Fil-A. She will be presenting “Sow a Seed, Reap a Team.”
WELD also hosts a national webinar every month that anyone can register for and attend from the comfort of their home or office, in addition to in-person meetings.
Keller says a full calendar of events can be found at www.weldusa.org.
WELD will continue to reach women leaders in Cincinnati. The organization says that its always looking for the next location as it’s currently in the research phases for Baltimore, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Southern California.