Kimberly DeMile wants to empower and support women business owners in the community. That’s why the owner of Federal Way Jazzercise fitness center started a local chapter of the Business Among Moms networking group last month.
Despite the name, BAM is open to any woman, regardless of motherhood status.
DeMile was in other networking groups in Federal Way before getting into BAM.
“I loved the networking group I was a part of,” she said. “I was in it for two years, and then it just happened that my schedule changed, and I was ready to try something new.”
BAM has more than 14 chapters across the country, including in Seattle, Redmond, Lynnwood and Renton.
There was a lack of networking groups geared toward women in the South Puget Sound area, DeMile said.
“We have great networking groups, but they are also full of men,” she said. “Women just connect differently. We really need that relationship piece. I think that can be lost sometimes in more traditional networking groups, especially in mixed company.”
Gayle Von Holt, of Auburn, who has sold Scentsy for eight years, was a member of BAM attending meetings in Renton before the Federal Way chapter opened. Von Holt is happy to have a closer location.
“It really has been more about networking and building relationships,” she said of her involvement in BAM.
DeMile had the perfect space — her Jazzercise studio — to host the monthly meetings and other events.
“It sits empty when we are not using it, and I am always trying to find creative ways to use it,” she said. “Part of the main challenge when starting a group like this is finding a location where you can meet once a month and not have it cost an arm and leg.”
Nicol Askew, a Healthy Edge coach, and Zakiya Cita, owner of The Chayah Movement – a company focused on sustainable fashion, are assistant leaders of the local BAM chapter.
BAM differs from other networking groups in that it does not limit the number of members from each profession, DeMile said.
“It is not exclusive. You could have five real estate people in here. You could have three fitness people in here,” she said.
BAM offers affordable rates. A yearly membership is $169. Monthly and lifetime membership are also available. Any woman can drop into the monthly meetings, which are from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at Federal Way Jazzercise, 2016 S. 320th St., Suite C. The meetings are free for BAM members and cost $15 for drop-ins.
Each meeting starts with a time for networking.
“You are walking around, shaking hands, getting out of your comfort zone,” DeMile said. “What I like to do — I can usually spot women who are on the shyer side — is say ‘hey, this is so-and-so. This is so-and-so.’ Just breaking the ice a little bit.”
The meeting also includes an educational program presented by a BAM member.
At the February meeting, Federal Way resident Rashida Gaye, a business coach who owns MindShift Life, spoke about the power of mind set.
“Every month there is a topic, and we try to pull from our members so that they can highlight (what they do),” DeMile said. “We have so many talented people between the chapters that exist now. I am excited about seeing who else is out there.”