The beauty of supporting each other

by | Sep 2022 | Franklin County, Franklin County-Feature

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ON THE FIRST TUESDAY of every month, a group of women comes together to meet. They come from all walks of life, in business suits and yoga pants, of all ages, and of all professions. They come to lift each other up, support each other, share ideas and give advice.

These women are a part of the growing networking group, “Beauties in Business.” A grass-roots organization that saw its beginnings six years ago when two friends came together and decided that they wanted to create an atmosphere where women could come and be supported and grow from that support. While it would take time to cultivate such a group, group co-founder Laura Knight said she felt like the group was needed here locally.

“For me, what sparked it is that in the business that I am in, which is Mary Kay Cosmetics, we’ve got a community driven by sharing and a place for everybody,” she explained. “And what I realized when I was going to other networking events, was that they lacked a community that I really desired and that other women could benefit from. So I struggled with trying to find it and kept looking. What I have been taught is that if you can’t find it, you create it. So around 2012, on a whim, I tried to create something that never officially took off like I had hoped for.”

Knight added that at this point, Cassie Fulmer would come into her life, and through conversations a revitalization of her original dream would be born.

“Low and behold, God brought me Cassie,” she said. “That was in 2016. We both talked and then we’re like, here’s what we’re experiencing, here is what we really wish could happen with networking and community, especially for females, and giving them a place to network. And thank God for her, because she had fresh ideas and a fresh look at connecting and social media and all the things that I had not even thought about. We both wanted a place for women to be able to build community and learn from each other and also just socially to have some fun with other professional women.”

Photographed by Brooke Snyder.

While the meetings started out small, both Knight and Fulmer said that they knew that they were headed in the right direction.

“For the first few meetings, we were gathering with maybe four or five people,” said Fulmer. “But they were just as like-minded and hungry to share ideas and so happy to find a place to connect. I mean, it’s intimidating to walk into a group of women that you’ve never met before. You don’t necessarily know what to expect, but when you come in, our group is so supportive and welcoming. It’s the most important group of ladies I’ve ever met.

Knight added that thanks to those few handfuls of supportive women, word about the group quickly got out, and before they knew it women from outside of Franklin County were showing up.

“Thank God for the first four to eight [women] that we had [to come] through the door, because what happened was they went back and said, ‘oh my gosh, I’m so glad I went. It was totally not what I was expecting,’” she explained. “And I think that’s why it’s been so successful, because they… the community has created it. We knew what we wanted, but it has taken on a life of its own.

Photographed by Brooke Snyder.

The group now has over 200 local members and looks forward to continuing to spread the message that anyone can come and have a place at the table.”

According to Fulmer, for each meeting a guest speaker is featured that speaks about a topic of their choice.

“Everybody kind of has a niche that they are really good at so we started doing guest speaker spots where they would speak about topics such as self-care or social media. It’s about 20 minutes, and we get to learn something, connect, and grow,” she said.

Fulmer added that with the group’s continued growth, they have now extended the group and meetings to Manchester and Tullahoma.

“With our Winchester location, it was crazy how many people were coming from Tullahoma, Shelbyville, Manchester, and everywhere in between. We are now blessed to have some ladies going to multiple Beauties events every month.”

Photographed by Brooke Snyder.

Both Knight and Fulmer said the meetings follow the same formats and offer the same support and growth.

“We knew there was something magical about this triangle we have with Winchester, Manchester, and Tullahoma. And if you could build a community of those women, that’s really something special. We realized that these women were driving from Manchester and Tullahoma. We got to expand and make this a little bit more doable for the mom that needs to drop off at soccer and catch the meeting and get back.”

Grateful for the group’s success thus far, both Knight and Fulmer are excited about what the future holds for the group.

“We knew we wanted a safe, laid-back place for women to come and gather, that’s going to benefit them professionally but also be a heck of a lot of fun socially. We’ve just done these things over the last six years and it’s taken on a life of its own, and we are so excited to see where it goes,” said Knight. GN

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