“They learn to stand on their own two feet and not take 'no' for an answer,” said Linda Sauceda, president of the Reno-Tahoe Express Network Chapter of the American Business Women's Association. “They have just blossomed.”
The small group of 30 women will meet at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa on Wednesday for their monthly meeting, hearing a presentation from one of their own as well as a presentation on how to "Work Effectively, Live Exceptionally and the Five Keys to a Life Worth Living and Work Worth Doing," presented by David Stipech, general manager of public radio station KUNR.
“The biggest need is to help support each other not only on careers but also in our personal lives,” Sauceda said. “Many of us have been losing our jobs due to cutbacks.”
Women have been holding their own in the turbulent labor market, with the lowest unemployment rate of any major working group, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ January Employment Situation report.
The report continues to state that in January, women made up 49.9 percent of total nonfarm payroll employment, compared with 48.8 percent when the recession began in December 2007.
The nationwide women's organization aims to “bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition,” according to an official mission statement.
But what makes women a group of business people apart from others?
“When we come together it is for a common goal,” Sauceda said, adding that she saw no significant difference between a business woman's needs and interests versus a man's.
The members of the Reno-Tahoe Express Network chapter come from a variety of career fields, according to Sauceda, ranging from accountants to real estate agents to financial administrators to purse makers and photographers.
“They want to learn about basic day-to-day things about running their businesses,” Sauceda said of the group's needs. “How do I help and retain good employees, how do I motivate or how do I run an in-home business ... etc.”
Although women are more likely than men to work in professional and related occupations, according to a 2009 report from the BLS, they are not as well represented in the higher paying job groups within this broad category.
In 2008, only 9 percent of female professionals were employed in the high-paying computer and engineering fields, compared with 45 percent of male professionals. Professional women were more likely to work in the education and health care occupations, in which pay was generally lower. Sixty-eight percent of female professionals worked in these fields in 2008, compared with 29 percent of male professionals.
Women working in full-time management, business and financial operations jobs had median weekly earnings of $941 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than women earned in any other major occupational category. The second-highest paying job group was professional and related occupations, in which women earned $867 per week.
But, according to Sauceda, the group doesn't exist simply to raise paychecks or help women climb corporate ladders, although those things may come.
“We are friends first,” she said. “Then, when we refer people to others, we know who we are referring. Sometimes you don't know the person who is asking you for a professional recommendation all that well. ... When we refer, it is a heartfelt referral.”