Mary Relotto created Dames Bond to fulfill a simple mission: to help women in business connect to consumers and resources.
Relotto launched Dames Bond in Central Ohio in 2006 and its success spurred her to establish another chapter −in Northwest Ohio under the direction of Joy Skarupa− in June. However, she hasn’t stopped there.
A new website reflecting Dames Bond’s new national reach, as well as a Nashville chapter, will launch in January 2012, and a Dames Bond nonprofit will help its first beneficiary next year.
DamesBondNationwide.com is scheduled to go live Jan. 1.
“Women all over the United States who don’t have a chapter in their city, and who have the ability to sell their products and services online, will be able to join the Dames Bond community and take advantage of all benefits, except for attending monthly Bond events,” says Relotto, adding that women with a chapter in their area, and products or services they can offer online, will also be featured on the site, which will serve as an online business directory.
Other site features include expert articles and a calendar for virtual events.
In 2010, Forbes Woman named Dames Bond one of the “Ten Best Career Sites for Women” and, as a a result, Relotto was contacted by women across the country asking where they could find a local chapter, confirming her suspicion that a community is needed wherever women are striving to help their families thrive.
“Dames Bond is needed in every community where women are in business,” she says.
However, finding the right director to run a chapter is another story.
“We opened in Northwest Ohio because there was great interest, the right people were in place to make it work, and it is small enough to manage, get the kinks out and learn what it takes to have a chapter outside of Central Ohio,” she adds.
The Nashville chapter of Dames Bond will be led by Phyllis Nichols, a former Columbus resident who experienced Dames Bond networking events first hand, understands the organization’s mission, and is passionate about helping women in business.
“Her experience as a marketing and sales strategist, and the connections she has in Nashville give her the ability to help advance our brand and advance our members,” Relotto says.
Celeste Raines will serve as the chapter’s co-director.
In addition to expanding into other markets, Relotto has been busy getting bondAID off the ground.
The 501(c)(3) organization is dedicated to helping women women who need additional monetary support to start or maintain their business, and helping local nonprofits whose missions are to advance women.
“I’ve always wanted Dames Bond to have the capacity to give back to the community in a way that is meaningful and meets a need, aside from offering affordable memberships or participation in a community whose focus is to help women stay in business,” Relotto says. “It is clearly evident that while many women have great ideas and want to start a business, they don’t always have the resources and support to make it happen. I want to give them the chance to succeed and stay in business.”
Dames Bond’s first conference, Dame On!, was held in October. Several corporations wanted to help support the conference with a sponsorship but, because Dames Bond isn’t a non profit, that wasn’t possible.
“Now it will be and we look forward to their support,” Relotto says.
To learn more about Dames Bond, visit DamesBond.com.