"The purpose of the event is to provide women with information about their health and finances and the choices that they have, as well as introducing them to the latest in skin care, cosmetics, fashion, jewelry and accessories, products for their home, and services that are available that they may not know about," said Event Coordinator Karon Mauney. "It's a great opportunity for small businesses to meet face to face with their target audience and to educate women on the products and services that they offer.
"Our hope is that women leave this event with a sense of renewal to take control of their health and their finances. We hope that they will leave inspired by some of our exhibitors like Tammy Stafford, author of 'Labeled by Humanity, Loved by God,' and 93-year-old Dr. Gwen Perkins, author, sculptor and world traveler. These women have accomplished a lot in their lifetime and will surely challenge all of us to do great things. We hope that women will look at the opportunities around them to help others -- whether it's providing meals or supplies to the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter or purchasing items from Rahab's Rope, an organization that provides food, shelter and education to women in India. At the end of the day, we simply hope that everyone who attends has experienced a day that will leave them saying, 'I'm so glad I came.'"
The Women's Expo initially began in 2009 as a benefit for the American Red Cross' Bartow Service Center.
"As the chapter's financial development director, I was looking for a community event that would benefit small businesses as well as the women attending and ultimately raise funds for the local chapter," Mauney said. "I coordinated the event for the second year in 2010 with proceeds again benefiting Red Cross even though I was no longer with the organization. Although the Expo raised more than $5,000, the organization simply didn't have the staff or resources to continue the event. Recognizing the importance of an event like this to our community, I decided to continue my efforts and established the Northwest Georgia Women's Expo.
"While the expo is a for-profit business, a number of organizations have benefited from the event. One thousand dollars will be donated to the United Way of Bartow County on March 26. The Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter Board of Directors is selling tickets with half of those proceeds being donated to support the shelter. A youth bowling league out of Paulding County, with members here in Cartersville, are also selling tickets, raising funds for a trip to a national tournament in hopes to win college scholarship funds."
For Jennifer Wiggins Matthews, being a member of the event's organizational committee has been a rewarding experience over the past few years.
"What I enjoy most is being a part of the organizational committee who puts on this expo that is beneficial to the women of this community and surrounding communities," Matthews said. "I like being a part of something that is specifically geared toward women -- so that they can have a day of one-stop shopping. As a new mother, I realize how precious time is every day and that you have to be super organized. So it's nice to have so many different vendors at one venue.
"We have a great committee. Karon Mauney does a wonderful job of being very organized, very efficient and proactive. She literally starts next [year's event] the week after we finish this one. We strive to offer booths and admission at a very reasonable price. We're not out to make a huge profit. We're out to make enough profit to have it next year and that's our goal because it's more important for us to have the expo."
Tickets to the event are $5. For more information and a schedule of the seminars, call Mauney at 770-365-8310 or visit www.nwgawomensexpo.com.