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Takin’ F.I.V.E. at 5

Chamber’s annual mixer celebrates businesswomen

Clayton County business leaders mixed and mingled at the county Chamber of Commerce's fifth annual "Take F.I.V.E. at 5" networking event at the Arts Clayton Gallery Thursday.

Clayton County business leaders mixed and mingled at the county Chamber of Commerce's fifth annual "Take F.I.V.E. at 5" networking event at the Arts Clayton Gallery Thursday.

— Dolly Parton may have once said working from 9 a.m., until 5 p.m., was a way to make a living, but what do buisinesswomen do after 5 p.m.?

Well, for one night every year in Clayton County, they mix and mingle, do a little networking and enjoy some artwork at the Arts Clayton Gallery in Jonesboro. It’s a little event the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Council call “Take F.I.V.E. at 5.”

“The F.I.V.E. stands for fun, interactive, value and exchange,” said chamber Vice-President Crystal Black. “It’s a place where our members can network and exchange [information] and it’s a great way to support Arts Clayton at the same time.”

The chamber held its fifth annual “Take F.I.V.E. at 5” event with a crowd of about 100 people Thursday. This year, Black said the business leaders decided to do something a little different and combining it with the graduation ceremony for its Women in Business mentoring program.

That lets the graduates get an introduction to the business community and do some networking with other businesswomen after the ceremony, she said.

The program can help participants overcome obstacles that may have previously held them back, said Clayton County Water Authority Compensation and Benefits Coordinator Michelle Mirzaiee, one of this year’s graduates. Mirzaiee explained that working with her mentor, Fidelity Bank Branch Manager Veronica Elie, and participating in Women in Business Council events helped her feel more at ease in front of large crowds.

“I had a really big fear of public speaking,” said Mirzaiee. “This program proved to be a really good opportunity for me to be introspective and take a look at myself on the inside. I realized I’ve got what it takes to be successful.”

Female leaders of business has been one of the “largest growing business sectors in the chamber” in recent years, said Chamber of Commerce President Yulonda Beauford. Because of that, she added, the chamber wanted to create an event to address and support this emerging group of business leaders in the county.

“Take F.I.V.E. at 5” was born as a result.

“Women business owners is a growing community and we want to do something uplifting that provides them with an opportunity to network with each other and do a little socializing,” said Beauford.

The event was presented this year by Comcast Cable, who wanted to get involved to help the chamber develop strong business leaders in the county, said Regional Joint-Use/Right-of-Way Liaison, Deborah Collins. She added those women who have already found success in the county deserve to have some time in the spotlight.

“There are many powerful women in Clayton County, including many successful businesswomen, and I think that’s something that should be showcased,” said Collins.

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