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‘Women-in-Business’ Series Is No ‘Old Girls Club’

Actually, it kind of is. And that’s why the Lexington Chamber of Commerce’s monthly midday forum is looking for a few good men.

 

It’s that time of year again, when thoughts turn toward New Year’s Resolutions. The holiday is still a few weeks away, but Mary Jo Bohart, executive director of Lexington’s Chamber of Commerce, has her resolution ready.

In 2013, Bohart hopes to introduce more men to the Chamber’s “Women-in-Business” lunchtime series, a monthly midday forum in which attendees participate in a roundtable discussion and take in a presentation from a featured speaker. In its seventh year, the series is almost exclusively attended by women.

“The overall concept of the series is to profile successful businesswomen from a broad range of professions,” Bohart said. “These speakers describe not only their specific field, but also their personal career path.”

The Latest Luncheon

The most recent “Women-in-Business” event was held last  Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Youville Place and the featured speaker was Joanne Domeniconi, co-founder and chief discovery officer of Daily Grommet, the Lexington-based online marketplace.

Addressing a crowd of a few dozen women – including bankers, retailers, town employees and small business owners – Domeniconi spoke about herself, and about her business.

It started with the story of how the daughter of a Lynn pharmacist went on to climb the corporate ladder at Stride-Rite before venturing out with a co-worker to launch a startup in 2008, the same week Lehman Bros. crashed.

The co-worker was Lexington resident Jules Pieri and the company, Daily Grommet.

Daily Grommet is an online marketplace that launches a new consumer product at noontime every day by broadcasting its creator’s story across the interwebs. The Lexington-based company, with offices in the center, has grown from 15 to 30 since August, when it closed Series B financing.

Domeniconi explained Daily Grommet looks for unique products “that make life better,” be it a toy or snack or service and believes that, with the 500,000 unique visitors per month, the company has the heft to impact the trajectory of these products.

“This could be a very meaningful enabler of innovation,” said Domeniconi, noting the online tools and message boards allowing consumers to interact with creators in real time. “We don’t sell, we engage. We talk about the product creators – it’s sharing.”

Moving Forward Past Misconceptions

While successful businesswomen are the centerpiece of the Chamber’s “Women-in-Business” series, the name and subject matter are not meant to exclude men from attending the monthly forums, which are typically brownbag luncheons held in the lower-level meeting room at Cambridge Savings Bank. 

Bohart said she has attended similar forums in other communities, which have had several men in attendance. That’s something she hopes to replicate here in Lexington.

“One misconception is that this event series is for women only, which is not so,” Bohart said. “Both men and women are encouraged to attend, since so much can be learned from the stories shared by the professional women who are featured speakers.”

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