AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce partners with U.S.-Japan Council for Leadership today for a special discussion on women in business across cultures.

Leaders in the area met at First Baptist Church to focus on stories of local and regional women in global leadership and their collective impact in the CSRA. 

The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business program kicks off its year with “Womenomics Across Cultures”.

“Gender diversity is no longer an option in the workplace, but an economic and business imperative,” recited Aiko Harris, Program Manager of U.S.-Japan Council, as she welcomed guests.

Businesswomen from Augusta and beyond engaged in passionate conversations on how they effectively build relationships to increase economic opportunity for themselves and other women across the world.

“Just the rich history that they bring with them and these different perspectives,” said Nozomi Morgan, CEO of Michiki Morgan Worldwide. And that…when people get exposed to that, it ignites, inspires these different parts of them that they didn’t even know. So, it’s really so important to bring these diverse voices, diverse experiences to the community.”

Chamber President Sue Parr has found that the panel discussions have had a great professional impact on women in the area.

“They get to hear the stories,” said Parr. “Sometimes keynotes are really important, but I think the content really comes with personal stories where women just share their hardships, the challenges, their struggles, the balance that they need to keep in their lives. And that is really the purpose of Women in Business – is to provide for women in business the opportunity to understand how they can improve their professional careers as well as their personal opportunities. So, we’re excited. We’ve set the bar high this year.” 

Panelist Shalanda Morris, business manager at Universal Plumbing, believes that the community she’s built has helped her growth and better connect with the world.

“You have someone that you’ve made a connection with and you feel comfortable and, I guess, safer to be able to talk about business business things,” said Morris. “If you have questions or curiosities or even if you need help or support in a way.  So, I’ve found that my participation just, you know, a listener, you know, just as a visitor has been fantastic. And it was great today to be able to share a little bit of the story as well – my personal story. Hopefully there are things that people can take away from that as well.”

“Women in Business” has been in service for 25 years. President Parr says she finds the program continues to be well-received and impactful for women in the community. For more information on Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s “Women in Business” program, visit augustametrochamber.com.