Female leaders in commerce
Half of chamber members are women-owned businesses

By Emily Zantow - Special to The Freeman

July 5, 2017

MUKWONAGO — April Reszka started out as a volunteer at the Mukwonago Chamber of Commerce and eventually became executive director.

“We’ve had some ups and downs over the years. Especially when the economy hit hard, a lot of small businesses closed and a lot of people weren’t opening new businesses. But the economy is bouncing back,” Reszka said. “This year every one of our events should surpass any that we’ve had the past seven years that I’ve been here.”

A chamber of commerce is traditionally a local association created by business owners dedicated to protecting and furthering the interests of the businesses.

“We’re all about helping promote the businesses, networking with the other chamber members and educating people,” Reszka said.

The Mukwonago Chamber of Commerce has over 250 members businesses and Reszka says about 50 percent of these are female owned.

Oconomowoc Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Katie Miller said more than 50 percent of the smaller businesses in that area are also female owned.

“I think women-owned businesses are certainly becoming more and more prevalent. I’m seeing more woman-owned or woman-led businesses, which is great,” said Miller. “Women bring a unique perspective and different skill set to leadership positions than men do sometimes.”

With over 450 members in the Oconomowoc Area Chamber of Commerce, Miller wants people to be aware of what it takes to run a business.

“One of the key components to being a business owner is marrying your passion for whatever it is your business does with the nuts and bolts of actually operating a business,” Miller said. “Look at the parts of the business that you, as the owner, want to be involved in and find ways to bring other people on that can help you with the other parts. It is very difficult to be a one-woman show.”