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Five years ago, the JCI's in Kelowna weren't open to women. Today they have a female president. And Danielle Hofer is glad to be a part of the progression.
Prior to the 2015 vote to allow women into the Kelowna JCI's there was a separate women's chapter. When the all women's chapter folded, according to Hofer, the Kelowna JCI's were faced with a choice. "The timing was really quite magical for me," recalled Hofer. "In 2016 I was able to join and it's been a great experience ever since."
The vice president is also a woman, so Hofer's presidency is not some kind of anomaly. And she sees it as a reflection of a community where women can feel comfortable in leadership roles.
"Especially with the work I'm doing with the Woman's Enterprise Centre," she said. "Working with women entrepreneurs we're seeing that more and more women are starting businesses, reaching their goals and I'm just happy to be part of it."
The JCI's today have a very diverse membership, and it's not just for entrepreneurs. "We've got people who work in auto body shops, we've got entrepreneurs, we've got lawyers, accountants, people like me who work at not-for-profits, artists, yoga instructors..." listed Hofer.
She said people join to improve leadership skills, to network, and just to meet a lot of great people. The organization also gets behind events that are good for the community at large, so there are things to feel good about.
The next big event for the JCI's is Mayor's Luncheon on November 12. "That's an opportunity for everyone in Kelowna to have a conversation with the Mayor and City Council," said Hofer. The group is also looking forward to its fundraising Lip Sync Battle November 14th at Munin's Post and she has plans to perform. It's a perfect example of how the JCI's find fun ways to get good things to happen.