Women's Networking Groups Thrive In Venice

The Sassy Sisters Have Expanded To Five Chapters; The Business And Professional Women Of Englewood And Venice Celebrate Centennial

Article by Tony D'Souza

Photography by Stephanie Snow Photography, Prion Photography

Originally published in Venice City Lifestyle

Founded in July, 2015, the Sassy Sisters social networking group began as a partnership between friends Kari Myroniuk, a network marketer with her own company called Wow! Marketing, and Kim Smith, owner of Kim's Connections, Kranenburg Painting, and an AAA Independent Travel Agent. These two energetic and lively Venice residents met through hostessing for another social networking group, and quickly discovered an affinity for friendship, leadership and independence. 

“Kim and I work well together,” explains Kari. “She is very detail oriented and practical, and I am very creative and good at thinking strategically. When that networking group went through some changes, we saw an opportunity to branch off on our own and take a direction that was more suited to who we are, to add the social element and have more freedom and fun. Kim came us with the name ‘Sassy Sisters’ and I came up with the logo. We both have big ideas and you cannot hold us back.”

“We wanted our group to be less rules-oriented and more fun-oriented,” Kim adds. “Sassy Sisters is where we get to be ourselves, and where our members get to be themselves in a relaxed, friendship-focused environment.”

Starting their group from the scratch, this dynamic duo has built the Sassy Sisters into five chapters (Venice, Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Englewood) with over 150 active members. Membership requires filling out an application online or at a monthly chapter social, and costs $89 per year.

“The only thing we require for membership is that you need to be ‘sassy,’” Kari says and laughs. “We pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t have a lot of rules or requirements. Women join because they want to promote their businesses, socialize, and build relationships with one another. When we started this, our vision was to have events where we could have glasses of wine, where we could be silly and laugh, and where we could network.”

The Sassy Sisters quickly discovered that they were filling a need in the community. 

“I could not imagine we would become anything more than just one chapter in Venice,” says Kim. “But once we started, people just kept asking us to grow and do more, and we kept branching out. It’s been so exciting and rewarding. Sassy Sisters is all about women helping women, networking, mentoring, and helping one another build our businesses. If someone needs something, everybody jumps in and helps. It’s not all about, ‘What can you do for me?’ It’s more about, ‘How can I help you?’”

In their own words, the Sassy Sisters are, ‘The most fun you'll ever have networking! We are an informal group of sassy (bold, lively, spirited, jaunty) savvy and successful ​women who are committed to building relationships, growing their business and helping others do the same. What better way to relax and catch up on each other’s joys and struggles than by kicking back and sharing a glass of wine at the end of the work day? Come laugh with us and meet a group of FUN, sharp and lively professional women. You might just meet your new best friend!

The monthly chapter socials are held at well-known area restaurants and hotels. The Venice chapter meets at the Hotel Venezia. The organization supports the nonprofit Our Mothers House (featured in the Good Times section of this issue) which provides housing for single mothers. Last year, the Sassy Sisters donated $14k to the charity.

“We believe that face-to-face networking is the true heart of building any business,” Kim says. “It grows relationships and builds friendships.”

“Sassy Sisters is something I love to do,” Kari adds and laughs. “Through Sassy Sisters, I feel that I have made 150 really good friends.”

PO Box 252, Venice FL 34293. Kari: 941.350.6101. Kim: 941.468.8377.

The Business And Professional Women of Englewood and Venice began in 1960 as a local chapter of the national organization that was founded in 1919. The organization’s mission is to ‘achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information.’ The Englewood and Venice chapter pursues its mission through a monthly meeting at The Plantation Golf & Country Club, various fundraising and social events such as its annual golf tournament, and awarding continuing education scholarships to women in need. 

“When we have our monthly meeting, we have dinner and really treat ourselves,” explains Syd Gibson, president of the chapter. “We each stand up and introduce ourselves and give a 30-second ‘commercial’ on what we are doing in our professional lives or what we are currently involved in in terms of volunteerism or nonprofit work. These are strong, accomplished, intelligent women. It’s an honor just to be in the room with them.”

Joyce McCaffrey, owner of Venice’s go-to eyewear boutique Eyes On You, heads up the group’s annual wine tasting event, with wine provided by a distributor and sold to members and friends as a fundraiser. Proceeds provide scholarships for women reentering the workforce. At Christmas, funds are raised for struggling single parents and donated to the Salvation Army.

“We are not simply a networking organization,” Syd explains. “We have a 100 year history through the national organization of working towards empowering women; we’re focused on helping other women however we can. I joined BPW after my husband passed from cancer in 2000. It took me a couple of years to really put myself back together again after that, and then I began looking to become involved in the community and to help women. A couple of the BPW ladies invited me to attend a meeting and I found the other women to be very uplifting. It’s wonderful to work with other women to help those who are in need. The good work we do at the Business and Professional Women of Englewood and Venice always gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling.” 

PO Box 611, Englewood, 34295.

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