In 1981, a group of business women gathered at a Santa Fe College conference in Gainesville, Florida. 

Guest speaker Mary Scott Welch, author of Networking: The Great New Way for Women to Get Ahead, spoke with enthusiasm, passion, and conviction. Her message, women get ahead by working together. And she struck a chord.

For the women in attendance, that strong resonant chord led to musical harmony.

So began the Gainesville Area Women's Network.

We're a bit different from other business networking groups. We believe in, above all else, cooperation, collaboration, and community.

GAWN's mission: To promote a spirit of cooperation and support among women and those who support or target women in business, provide a strong network of business contacts, and enhance members' professional and personal advancement.

We encourage an environment of trust, openness to build relationships, laugh, have fun, make friends, and feel accepted regardless of profession.

Business is not all business. It's also human and personal.

"Gawn is innovative in its approach in serving women and impacting the community. Bringing together like-minded people who are authentic and honest, GAWN's culture is progressive in a world that is predominately occupied by men."

-Sherry Houston, Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida

At GAWN, our monthly luncheons are a myriad of women from different industries looking to connect with others. Each month, a graduate of the Displace Homemakers Program shares her personal story of renewal. There are tears, and there is laughter.

GAWN is a safe space to be professional and to be a women. We believe that is where authenticity lies, and where true connections are made.

GAWN has no dress code. Wear a suit. Wear jeans. Dress business casual or wear your work uniform.

At GAWN it is not about how you look. It's about who you are, how you relate to others, and how you connect, collaborate, and support. Our members do that with bells on.

We know that business women who connect, collaborate, and support each other are more successful.

GAWN’s purpose has always been to:

  • Inspire cooperation among women in business
  • Create a strong network and community
  • Encourage women to grow professionally and personally
  • Meet regularly to collaborate, share, promote, and learn

Our members sing our praises as we impact their lives, personally and professionally:

"The speakers at the monthly luncheons are always interesting, and I can easily apply the things I learn. Employing millennials can be challenging, but the speakers really help me with that. Plus, I get to socialize, connect, and collaborate with other entrepreneurial, like-minded women."

-Brinn Strange, Owner, Barre Forte

"GAWN is a tremendous resource to connect you with women entrepreneurs. In addition, the organization is focused on giving their members skills that will help them in their professional lives which is a huge asset."

-Philip Geist, Area Director, FSBCD at the University of North Florida


"I joined GAWN because of the camaraderie of the women. I'm here for personal support first, but then the business came. Within four months of joining, I've booked meetings with potential clients through the new year, and because of that, I've been able to sponsor a woman through the Displace Homemakers Program. GAWN exceeds my expectations!"

-Linda Sherman, Pinpoint Consulting

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