Flagler County, FL – Commemorating two years of celebrating women in Flagler County, the Boss Ladies marked the occasion with a Denim & Diamonds event at the Hammock Community Center on June 21st.

Led by sisters Ana Reyes Ouzts and Alina Perry-Smith, the business and networking group has grown to over 700 members since inception.

“We’re celebrating two amazing years of helping women make connections, helping with their business and making a difference in the community,” said Reyes Ouzts.

“We had over 138 women tonight, so clearly there’s a need for this in this county. Women are hungry to make connections that are worthy of helping each other out with absolutely no judgement and absolutely no competition.”

“We keep it fresh, we plan it out, we know which charity it’s going to be that month, try to get the speaker. As we go along we find the needs of the group and we meet that.”

From the Start

Among the earliest members, fitness instructor Gayle Jaffe and Stacy Minger recall the early days and why they still find value as a Boss Lady.

“Her vision was she wanted to create a group that was not confrontational, that was supportive, that we could support all women in business with neutrality, and I thought that was great,” said Jaffe.

“I had been to other networking groups and I just felt a lot of them were cliquey, they weren’t open or welcoming. Ana and her sister always welcome you through the door. These other groups, you can walk in and walk out, and never be noticed.”

Gayle Jaffee, Nadine King, Stacy Minger. Photo: Flagler News Weekly

Minger, owner of a small, home-based business and new to the area, wanted to get her name out and make friends.

“I thought it would be a good way to connect, making customers and friends at the same time,” she said.

Since moving to town from Georgia, Vanessa Cole, owner of the local Coffee News franchise, has also found a warm welcome from the sisters. It was during the Denim & Diamonds event that she teared up as she talked about the hundreds of meaningful friendships she’s developed as a result of becoming a Boss Lady, and how important Ana and Alina were to her.

“They really did help me when I moved to the area and they’re always giving to others,” said Cole. “They don’t get recognized, and so I wanted to recognize them.”

Ana Reyes Ouzts, Vanessa Cole and Alina Perry-Smith. Photo: Flagler News Weekly

Amp It Up

The energy in the room on Wednesday evening was electric as more than 100 women in attendance purchased raffle tickets in an effort to win nearly 60 gifts donated by members. However, the real winners were the charitable organizations on the receiving end, gaining the spotlight for the night and cash donations.

“These are charities that bring the most need,” said Alina Perry-Smith. “Provision Packs feed children on the weekend, Christmas Come True, they pay rent, Flagler OARS does people in need, and it’s not just drug use, it could be an older person who overdosed on medication by accident, and you have to think, Family Life Center supports women that are abused. And Live Like Cameron. So it’s not just about empowering women and making connections, it’s about supporting our community.”

Excited to watch the organization grow, it comes down to women helping women be successful.

“It is a lot of work, but you know what? We’re giving back to the community, that’s the first thing. Second thing is that we’re making connections with women and we all help each other out,” she said.

Tapping into the network of professionals that make up the Boss Ladies, there’s a resource to meet every need.

“If I know that somebody does something here, that’s the first thing that Ana and I talk about. We make sure that we reach out to any woman here, that we’re going to get woman business first and promote them before anyone else.”

Heather Turdo, Orjanette Bryant, Erica Rivera and Dr. Maria Barbosa. Photo: Maria Barbosa

 

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