RECENT research in the Harvard Business Review found that women who had an inner circle of close female contacts were more likely to land executive positions with greater authority and higher pay.
A clutch of women business-leaders in Kurrajong are realising firsthand the benefits that come with having female peer support networks, and are keen to share with the community what 'women supporting women' can do.
Five successful businesses - Kurrajong hairdresser Blissful Hair and Beauty, delicatessen The Deli LaNa, lifestyle boutique Carey n Co, homewares and giftwares outlet Whispering Elk, and North Richmond gourmet treats vendor Itti Bitti Treats - are inviting community members to attend their Kurrajong VIP Night for Women in Business.
The event will showcase a range of products and services from local businesses, and attendees will be able to mingle, enjoy nibblies and bubbly, go in the running to win prizes, and take home gift bags filled with goodies.
Clare Sharples, beauty manager at Blissful Hair and Beauty which will celebrate its first birthday on the night, said it was a way for the ladies to "give back" to their clients and the Hawkesbury community who had supported them.
"There are so many women in the Hawkesbury who own businesses and it'll be great to come together as a collective," Ms Sharples said.
The women had been supporting their neighbouring businesses with recommendations, word of mouth and joint marketing strategies and deals.
"We bounce marketing and business ideas off each other and have struck-up a real professional relationship," Ms Sharples said.
"It's about providing positive PR for each other. [For example] when someone comes into the [hairdressing] salon and says 'where can I get a good coffee around here?' we'll say 'The Deli LaNa', and vice versa.
"It's recommending businesses rather than sending people online, and supporting local shops rather than sending people away from the area.
"The VIP night is a way of highlighting the 'women supporting women' movement - women lifting each other up."
Melissa Page, owner of The Deli LaNa - which will also celebrate a year of operation - said the female business owners made her feel welcome on the shopping strip and helped ease the transition into her new career as a shop owner.
"I was in a corporate career when I had a health scare [in the form of] a breast lesion, and it changed my outlook on life. I opened the shop at Kurrajong so I could work closer to home and spend more time with my daughter," she told the Gazette.
"I think it's a challenge to be in business sometimes and get support. It makes sense for Kurrajong businesses to work as a team, because we can't always compete with the big supermarkets [for example]."
The Kurrajong VIP Night for Women in Business and joint first-birthday celebrations will take place on Friday, July 19, 6.30-9pm at Blissful Hair and Beauty, Shop 4, 1147 Grose Vale Road, Kurrajong.
RSVP (for catering purposes) to The Deli LaNa on 4573 0900 or Blissful Hair and Beauty on 4573 2448 by July 12.