By Jelani Gibson

For the Prosper Press

The Prosper Chamber of Commerce wants to provide women with a sense of community and mentorship by providing more conferences centered around how businesswomen can thrive and empower one another.

Ladies in Leadership, a division within the chamber, is leading the charge on that objective.

The group empowers women by providing an environment of mentorship, said Tracy Heckel, chair of the Prosper Ladies in Leadership group.

“It’s about getting to know other businesses and being able to work with other businesses that are in your community,” she said.

The committee focuses on monthly meetings with a theme. The February meeting focused on successful traits of a businesswoman.

Meetings centered on such topics create a sense of valuable collaboration, Heckel said.

“The energy … just pushes us forward to go out and just embrace the day and feel empowered just to know we can do things and know we have challenges,” she said, “that we can accomplish those things and overcome the obstacles and just grow this network, we have each other.”

Growth in relationships is just as important as growth in membership, Heckel said.

“That’s the basis of the approach,” she said. “We just create good relationships and are able to be together (and) encourage each other to grow together,” she said.

The meetings can address the needs of multiple women who are in different stages of their careers, said Lee Ann Colbert, Prosper Chamber of Commerce liaison.

“Just learning how to have confidence, get purposeful, be successful, reach your full potential, whether it’s as an employee or an employer,” she said.

That sense of learning is critical, Colbert said.

“I think it’s very effective and I think the women are enjoying it,” she said.

Mentorship for vendors who are both self-employed and run traditional businesses impart a sense of inclusivity for the business community, Colbert said.

“I think it helps them to be the best they can be whether it’s at work or at home,” she said.

Creating a network of businesses that help one another can improve the community as a whole, Colbert said.

“I think it creates a neighborhood of businesses that uplift each other and that network together, and I think this committee just reaches another level on that purpose,” she said.

Tosha Flores, a brand specialist for Risland Homes and member of Ladies in Leadership, said the organization helps ground women in a positive manner.

“In a world of competition … we’re always trying to compare ourselves,” she said. “I think it’s good to get back to the real world with real women.”

The environment encourages a positive sense of self, Flores said.

“The positivity, the laughter, it’s contagious, happiness is contagious,” she said.

“Women get closer, it makes it more welcoming,” she said. “As a whole, I think we accomplish a lot with multiple women together. It’s a female world.”