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  • Thursday, March 09, 2017 4:05 PM | Leslie Merryman (Administrator)

    Darin Damron has been an employee owner for Jasper Engines and Transmissions for over eleven years, and his company has been in business since 1942. He has four children,  He is active with the jail ministry in St. John's county, and is a busy father, spouse, coach, leader, and career-man.Darin has an extremely hectic schedule, so he feels blessed to have an understanding and goal-oriented fiancé in Kaci. He doesn't currently live in Gainesville, but has been servicing the area for over three years. Before working with Jasper, he was an automotive shop manager for five years.  Prior to that position, he was a communication sales representative for Knology. At Jasper, three of their unique factors are their people, their customer service, and their commitment to continuous improvement. Their biggest change in the past year has been growth in customer penetration, as they've added three new drivers and two new sales representatives.

    "It is a wonderful thing when like-minded and progressive business professionals can come together to strengthen themselves, each other, and their community and that is what I enjoy the most about GAWN. Personally, I would tell a new business that 80% of your success is how you treat other people and to make sure they consistently stay engaged with their customers and employees. Also, keep score." 


  • Monday, February 13, 2017 12:51 PM | Kristy Moffat (Administrator)

    We will be hearing from Rachael Wacha, owner of City Auto Repair, at our February luncheon.  She will be discussing what it's like to be a female business owner in a male-dominated industry. 

    She'll also discuss our "Bill of Rights" in the automotive world:

    • The right questions to ask
    • How to save money by knowing your rights
    • How to go from helpless to empowered when your vehicle is in the shop

    Rachael was born and raised in Gainesville. She started working for her father at City Auto Repair in 2010. It didn’t take her long to fall in love with the business and follow in her father’s footsteps. She doubled sales in a year and in 2013 was written about in a nationwide automotive magazine, "Ratchet and Wrench." Since then Rachael went from managing the business to owning it in 2016.

    Rachael is the President of the Automotive Service Association in the Gainesville/ Ocala area, and the business is an AAA approved repair facility. She is extremely passionate about educating women in automotive repair, which is why she started hosting free Car Care Clinics, “Lipstick and Dipsticks” for women.

    City Auto Repair is a full service automotive shop. From oil changes, brakes, heating and air conditioning repairs, tires, alignments, and even engine and transmission overhauls, they can do it all. City Auto Repair has been in business since 1981.

    Come join us for a presentation full of knowledge and empowerment!

  • Tuesday, February 07, 2017 9:47 AM | Leslie Merryman (Administrator)

    Brinn moved to Gainesville from Hattiesburg, Mississippi in January 2015, and before that she lived in Central California where she attended Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. Upon moving to Gainesville and realizing that such an active and vibrant community did not have a Barre studio, She knew it was her calling to bring her favorite fitness format — Barre — to the area! Brinn opened Barre Forte in May of 2015. It took a few tears, a lot of sweat, and a TON of support from friends, family, the Gainesville community, and, most of all, her husband Greg who undertook many of the studio renovations. Brinn's background is in communications and English and before moving to Gainesville she taught freshman composition at the University of Southern Mississippi, but she has always had a passion for fitness and for celebrating women. She ran a small space within a larger day spa before moving to Gainesville to embark on opening a studio she could really put her stamp on.

    Barre Forte offers much more than just fitness, it provides a space where women can “meet their best.” We celebrate each other’s successes, hold each other accountable, and get to know one another on a deeper, familial level. Additionally, Barre Forte is extremely invested in the Gainesville community. We hold donation-based classes to help raise awareness and funds for local, women-centered non-profit organizations and take advantage of opportunities to help local women feel stronger: inside and out.

    For those of you just starting out, Brinn encourages you to remind yourself WHY you got into the industry you are in and let your passion fuel the long hours and large risks it takes to own your own business. GAWN has been a tremendous asset to Brinn in offering a safe space to fellowship with other women. "Together we brainstorm ideas, provide valuable referral resources, and offer each other advice (or just an ear to listen). I am extremely grateful for the professional development opportunities GAWN has provided, and I look forward to sharing more about my business with you at our next meeting!"

    Barre Forte

    4994 NW 39th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32606

    (352) 727-7800



  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017 11:51 AM | Kristy Moffat (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Julieanne McGuiness, Director of Operations at Crosslinear Consulting, for winning our January Spotlight Award! She will be speaking at our luncheon this week.

    Julieanne has been in the Gainesville area for eight years and is a graduate of the University of Florida. She volunteers at both The United Way and the Ronald McDonald House and attends Meadowbrook Church in Ocala, where she lives.

    Julieanne has experience working in property management, project management, account management, consultative sales, outbound sales, marketing, and consulting. Having worked in retail, small business, and franchise organizations, she understands how businesses work and grow.

    Julieanne has a passion for helping others achieve their highest level of success and brings a unique level of excitement to her engagements, which in combination with her avid sales focus and understanding of the inner workings of business, help her assist her clients in achieving greatness. 

    Julieanne loves to work with businesses that understand the value of investing in their people, working towards long-term goals, and creating programs for positive success along the way. Strategic Planning, creation of SOP's, defining culture and empowering decision-making at every level of the organization are all areas where Julieanne likes to work, so contact her immediately if you or your organization need help.

    Julieanne can be reached at 352-895-7461 or Julieanne.McGuinness@crosslinear.com.

  • Tuesday, December 20, 2016 4:05 AM | Anonymous


    Making a great first impression can be tough, especially if you’re a little on the shy side. It can be uncomfortable to try to meet people we don’t know. How do we get past that initial awkward greeting? And how do we make sure that we aren’t a forgettable face in a sea of business cards?

    There are a few key steps we can take to make a great first impression, and what’s more, we can do it in a fun and friendly way. Here are a few things you can start implementing immediately:

    Focus on Them

    When you take the focus off of yourself and put it on someone else, you immediately make them feel special. Believe it or not, almost everyone likes to talk about themselves. Not because we’re particularly narcissistic or self-centered, but because it feels good to be noticed. Show someone that you genuinely care about getting to know them, and what they’ll take away from having met you is how you made them feel. Don’t overthink this, you can make it fun by saying things like, “I love your shoes, and I’ve been looking for a pair just like them! How do you like yours? Do you mind if I ask where you got them, and do you mind if we both show up to the same place wearing them?!”

    Adjust Your Body Language

    This one is critical. Our body language says more than our words ever do. Show you’re approachable and friendly by smiling, making and holding eye contact, and not slouching or standing too rigid. Also, keep in mind that crossing your arms is putting up a barrier. However insecure you’re feeling, try to put your hands on your hips or down at your sides. Be sure to lean in and nod your head to show you’re actively listening.

    Be Prepared

    When you’re going in to a situation where you know you’ll be meeting new people for the first time; conferences, networking events, trade shows, it’s a good idea to be prepared with a short introduction about yourself and what you do. Keep this to less than 10 seconds, but also find a fun way to explain it. Maybe instead of saying, “I own my own store”, how about, “I opened a great little boutique not far from here, and I get to spend my day showing people how to pair cute boots with a great pair of skinny jeans.” After introducing yourself, immediately shift your attention back to them.

    Read

    This may seem a little strange, but yes, read. Whatever you can get your hands on, as long as it helps you stay up on current news and trends. You don’t have to be a voracious reader, or be well-read. Hemingway is lovely, but what you need is a quick snapshot of what’s going on in your industry and in the world around us. It can be something as simple as a short article or blog post. That way you’ll be in the loop when people are talking about the latest Seth Godin book or what just happened in Japan. Even if it’s something as silly as what the Kardashian’s are up to, being up on current events helps you appear knowledgeable and sometimes fun, and also provides some common ground to get started on.

    Do the Approaching

    It may feel more natural to wait to be approached, but you’ll risk missing out if you don’t take the initiative to do the approaching. Look for someone who is alone and go ahead and introduce yourself. Or, if you’re already in a group of people and notice folks hovering around the periphery, open the circle and invite them in. Talk about letting someone know you’re friendly!

    Be Kind

    While this would appear to go without saying, I’m betting we’ve all experienced a few first impressions of folks who came off as anything but kind. It’s too bad, but that’s exactly what happens when we’re not allowing our interaction to be fun. Even in an interview, it’s okay to come across as fun and friendly. Warm, approachable people appear more trustworthy and honest. That sounds like a great first impression to me.

     

    Remember not to make this more difficult than it has to be. You can make a great first impression in a fun, friendly way by being yourself, and putting others at ease. Smile, take the focus off of you, be genuinely interested without any expectations of what you can “get” out of the encounter, and you’ll be making excellent first impressions in no time.

  • Monday, December 19, 2016 12:54 PM | Kristy Moffat (Administrator)

    Susan Davenport, President/CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, will be GAWN's featured speaker at our luncheon on January 18.  Please join us for lunch and learn more about the Chamber's vision and mission for this area. Registration is available here.

    The Gainesville Area Chamber is a five-star accredited Chamber of Commerce with more than 1,300 members. Susan oversees the strategic operations of the Chamber, and guides a team of vice presidents and directors in the oversight of the organization’s programs, initiatives and day-to-day operations.

    In 2015, Susan was promoted to her current role after serving for two years as the Chamber’s Vice President of Economic Development. Since her arrival in 2013, the Chamber’s Council for Economic Outreach has announced the creation of more than 1,000 jobs and more than $400 million in new  capital investment.

    Susan came to Gainesville in 2013 after spending 13 years with the Austin Chamber of Commerce, most recently as Senior Vice President of Global Tech Strategies. While there she served as a key team member for the Opportunity Austin strategy which created over 174,000 new jobs and enhanced regional payrolls by $8.7 billion over an 8-year period from 2004-2012. During her tenure in Austin she developed and executed Austin’s regional business retention and expansion program, Portfolio Austin, where over 4,800 regional retention visits were undertaken with 520 regional expansions tracked. She also developed and managed the Central Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization, which resulted in assisting 34 companies accessing $60 million in funding with an additional $30 million for local research and university projects. Susan also developed the Greater Austin Technology Partnership and Austin TechLive, which engaged over 100 regional technology executives in various economic development activities and supported entrepreneurism through a downtown co-working technology hub partner.

    Susan received a Master of Public Affairs from The University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from The University of Texas Medical Branch. She is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is associated with the International Economic Development Institute.

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