Albany chamber to present 'PROPEL: A Women in Business Program'

·3 min read

Aug. 6—ALBANY — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, as a component of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, will host an Aug. 24 women in business forum, "PROPEL: A Women in Business Program."

PROPEL is designed to connect, engage and inspire women in the community and provide them with the tools they need to design their future. The luncheon will feature a moderated Q&A panel with local women in business and facilitated table conversation for participant connection.

Featured discussion panelists are Brianna Wilson, CEO of Southern Point Staffing; Karen Cohilas of Karen Cohilas State Farm; Sheri Barlow, CEO of Englewood Health Care, and Staci Willson, creative director at Sunnyland Farms.

"At the Albany Area Chamber, we connect, convene and collaborate; we nurture and provide, and we design the path," Albany Area Chamber President/CEO Bárbara Rivera Holmes said in a news release. "PROPEL is aimed at designing a path for women in the work force, to better empower them to excel professionally and to be engaged as business leaders."

The Albany Area Chamber spearheaded a business-led focus group on Diversity Equity and Inclusion beginning in 2020, and has since developed an organizational division based on the initiatives identified by the task force.

The division is represented by the Chamber's DE&I Committee, chaired by Jeretha Peters, branch manager and first vice president of investments at WellsFargo Advisors in Albany.

"The Chamber's DE&I Committee increases economic opportunities for businesses and people, and engages more members of the citizenry into the work force," Peters said. "Women represent an important segment of that citizenry, and the DE&I committee and the new PROPEL program will serve to target this specific sector of the local work force, providing them with the tools needed to advance through the life cycle of their careers, and ultimately become more effective members of the business community as a whole."

The DE&I Committee comprises Albany Area Chamber members who are invested in advancing Albany as a regional leader for industry and business by expanding access and inclusion in the business community through intentional efforts that ensure the best utilization of the regional labor pool.

Brianna Wilson is an active member of the committee and also will serve as a panelist at the upcoming PROPEL event. Wilson leads the chamber's Business Development & Investor Engagement Committee, which is also supporting PROPEL.

"As a professional in the staffing and recruitment industry, I can speak to the importance of empowering women to be successful in their careers," Wilson said. "COVID has resulted in a significant portion of women exiting the work force, and it's vital that we take steps to re-introduce and re-equip women to contribute and succeed professionally."

The PROPEL program kicks off with the Aug. 24 event at the Dougherty County Northwest Library Event Space and is open to members and prospects of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. Visit the Chamber's Web site at albanyga.com for registration details.