Here's what some of our Leaders have to say:
My journey with The Joy of Connecting gave me a fresh start after moving from one area of town to another. I had been working in the Atlanta suburbs for a couple of years while raising 3 children. My husband and I decided to move closer in to town, and closer to his work, so that he could help more with our kids. (I was kind of a married mom living the single mom life…)
While the move was great for our family, it took me away from my connections and my comforts. I chose to look at this as an opportunity to start anew and build new connections. With 3 kids at home, I didn’t have the luxury of traditional networking where I went to breakfast or lunch on a specific day of the month. I was lucky if I even got to eat those meals daily. My schedule revolved around my kid’s schedule.
Our new neighborhood had a Garden Club—but let’s face it….I didn’t garden, and I killed everything when I tried. I needed something different. I needed something that fit in with my schedule and didn’t make me feel bad for wanting to put my children first.
That’s when I came across the Joy of Connecting. I loved the idea of a monthly casual dinner with no membership fees, and no ‘good ol’ boy network’ where business cards counted more than relationships.
At my very first JOC meeting, I knew this was for me. My business revolved around helping Entrepreneurs and that’s exactly who the JOC attracted. What made it even better was that many of these women were also raising a family just like I was. They really understood the challenges of raising children while growing your own business. I jumped in with both feel and opened the very first Buckhead Joy of Connecting.
I ran JOC meetings for about 18 months to 2 years, at which point I had to make the tough decision to step down to take care of an ill family member. During my time with Bonnie and the JOC, I learned about networking, business building, marketing and sales. I was also able to branch out and develop my first Joint Venture partnership. I loved the business skills I was learning. However, I also learned about the skills that I possessed and took for granted. With a background in Psychology and Communication, speaking was MY thing. It was easy for me and I loved it. It pained me to see women who had brilliant things to share, but were so uncomfortable speaking that they just couldn’t get their message out. This was such a disservice to those who truly needed what these women had to offer. With each meeting, I watched the attendees and I learned about their struggles. Over time, I narrowed my business focus towards these particular women. This was something I had a passion for! I started out working with Entrepreneurs and ended up working with Creative (or CreADDive) Entrepreneurs with an emphasis on communication and speaking. I have been in business successfully for over 8 years now and specialize in helping creative thinkers; innovator’s and ADD (or ADDish) adults get their brilliance out into the world. I serve on the Board of the ADHD Coaches Association and have been interviewed on multiple radio shows and telesummits. I have also been quoted in both Forbes Woman and the USA Today. I am also a contributing author is the 365 Ways to Succeed with ADHD book series. While I have loads of professional training, it’s the real world training that makes me good at what I do. There is nothing better to get your creative business juices flowing than hosting an evening with 30-40 fellow business women!
The best part for me is 3-fold. First, I have honored my family values and raised 3 beautiful children while staying married to my wonderful husband for almost 20 years. Second, just last week (June ’12) I met a woman at an event who said to me, “Didn’t you used to host a JOC? I think I was at your house about 5 years ago…” You see, women create relationships, and they last… Finally, and most importantly, I am making a difference in the word with my work—work that I might not have stumbled upon had it not been for the Joy of Connecting.
Kricket Harrison, Bright Outside the Box, Atlanta, GA
Meeting Bonnie Ross Parker began during my corporate life while managing the National Speakers Association –GA Chapter. She and Phil Parker were networking with other Professional Speakers in Atlanta. My corporate life was cut short when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005. Bonnie went on with her career and I with my faith battled my disease and beat every diagnosis. In 2009 I joined Dove Chocolate Discoveries the first Chocolate Direct sales/party plan company to just enjoy life. Mine and Bonnie’s paths crossed again. Bonnie presented The Joy of Connecting model I was convinced it would be a wonderful opportunity to introduce my new business Dove Chocolate Discoveries to other professionals in my community, to the entire state and nation. This is exactly what I did through The Joy of Connecting! There was never an atmosphere of collecting business cards, sit down and eat, hear a speaker then shake hands and leave. The entire experience was designed to nurture! My business as well as the other women who attended grew their businesses as well as formed friendships that are still strong today. During this time my team grew, my business grew too, so much so that I promoted 3 times during the year I was The Joy of Connecting Licensee. Unfortunately I had to end my Licensee experience after a year due to the fact I was so busy traveling supporting my new Team. I had also grown my business to nine states dividing my time. There just was no way to continue the monthly preparation of JOC with the tasting parties, monthly meetings I wanted to give to my team, speaking engagements the Home Office wanted me to do for them and maintain time for my family and take care of myself. To this day I never miss the opportunity to be at least one meeting during a month and usually more than one meeting! After all it is the best way to meet new business minded partners. At every meeting you get to learn something new. What we learn at JOC’s are new ways to be more productive doing business, a new source for anything, ways to save money, ways to make money and like I have said before what is the most important growth for the soul!
Thank you Bonnie for your friendship, I have been blessed to know you for these years. Thank you for your insightfulness in beginning this wonderful experience for all of us to grow in! God bless you now and in the future!!
Melissa Pelfrey, Sr. Manager & Independent Chocolatier, Dove Chocolate Discoveries, Dallas, GA
I was first introduced to Joy of Connecting in the Fall of 2002. JOC had recently been “born” and I decided to attend a JOC event held at the home of the very first licensee, “G” Lebetant. The concept was intriguing to me and I decided it was something I needed to “check out.” Since I had just started a home based business and since that JOC event was quite far from my “then” home, I decided to focus more on becoming familiar with my new business and the products I was promoting instead of attending additional JOC events.
In the summer of 2009 I decided it was time I got back to visiting a JOC in my local area. At previous events, I would “sit on the sidelines” and be a good listener and speak up only when someone asked me a question. JOC enabled me to feel comfortable enough to get out of my comfort zone and meet some great people.
Fast forward to January 2010. I attended a JOC and was surprised when my path crossed with someone I met at that JOC event in 2009. I continued attending monthly JOC events, alternating locations of where / when they were held to meet a broader range of women. Each JOC event I attended was comfortable, non-threatening, and the women I met made me feel as if we had been friends that had somehow lost touch with each other and were now reconnecting.
In March I met Bonnie Parker who suggested I become a JOC licensee. That idea intrigued me enough to make the decision to become a Licensee. I decided that becoming a Licensee would be something that would help me grow as an individual and would also help my business grow.
I wanted my home to smell nice when I held my JOC events and was looking for a Scentsy Consultant so I could order a warmer and fragrant wax. I attended another JOC meeting a few weeks after becoming a Licensee and crossed paths (for the 3rd time) with someone I met at a JOC meeting. After getting re-acquainted with her, I decided to become a Scentsy Consultant and joined her team. JOC was the catalyst that allowed my path to cross with my fantastic Scentsy sponsor and I am forever grateful for that!
Scentsy offers beautiful warmers that use a bulb instead of a flame, making them a safer alternative to a flamed candle. Since there are no chemical additives in the fragrant wax, they are also safe for children, pets, and the environment. My passion is to offer products that are affordable and to provide personalized customer service to my current and new customers.
While my business continues to grow with the help of several customers I met because of attending JOC events, I am no longer a JOC licensee. In the Fall of 2010 life threw me a “curve ball;” I was losing my job of 18+ years and my daughter was moving out of state and taking my three grandkids with her. I decided my focus needed to be on family.
I hope my story inspires you to attend JOC events and make some wonderful connections that have the possibility to turn into great friendships.
Pat Ortman, Scentsy, Canton, GA
My experience with The Joy of Connecting has been a rich blessing. 10 years ago Bonnie asked me to be part of a mentor group she was organizing to talk about licensing The Joy of Connecting. I was thrilled and signed up immediately to be one of her founding licensees in Roswell, GA. Later, I moved to Alpharetta, GA and continued my relationship with JOC. I found every single event to be energizing, exciting and an incredible opportunity to witness how powerful the business connections and friendships made could be. What was most interesting is that although being a licensee was always great for my personal business, what I learned from these other women who graced my home was invaluable. What a resource of talent and wisdom came to my doorstep once a month.
I took a corporate position in a direct sales company and took a leave from being a JOC licensee for over a year. It was a great learning experience but what I mostly learned was that I prefer to be my own boss, working my own business! I have over 30 years of experience in direct sales and have always had a passion for helping women learn and grow as they experience the success they deserve. So back to JOC I happily came when I joined a new direct sales company called NYR Organic! Starting from scratch can be challenging but JOC has been the most incredible avenue for me to network and meet women all over the city and build my new team. I looked at my list of women who joined NYR this year and half of those came from JOC events! And where else can you spend a relaxing evening with 20 like-minded women, learn about them and their businesses, make new friends, network your business, be energized by their knowledge and experiences and have a wonderful meal to boot (no pun intended Bonnie)?
Someone framed a beautiful postcard and gave it to me years ago. I show it at most meetings because the words are so powerful and so true. It says, “Great things happen when women get together.” I have seen it happen over and over again at JOC meetings.
Susan Hendrix, NYR Organic, Alpharetta, GA
I joined JOC to build my business and help other women do the same. But those goals really don't encompass what a tremendous experience it has been for me. Each month I'm excited to host my event. It feels like a party, but a party with a purpose. I also didn't realize how many friends I'd make through JOC. It's empowering to be surrounded by so many dynamic women who are building businesses. Whether you decide to become a licensee or just to attend, you're going to get what you need and more than you could imagine.
Monica Parker – Send Out Cards, Buckhead, GA
I attended my first Joy of Connecting event in the beginning of 2011; and found the event by searching for women networking events on the Internet. I had no idea what to expect, but I left that evening feeling uplifted and energized by the amazing women I met. I continued to attend JOC’s as an attendee and met Linda Barbour at one of the events. We discovered that we both lived in Acworth, realized we both had a lot of things in common and became friends very quickly. I have since joined Linda as her co-licensee for The Joy of Connecting Acworth and it has been an amazing experience. I love gathering women for the purpose of helping them gain contacts and better their businesses. Bonnie Ross-Parker has an amazing passion for helping women entrepreneurs and her vision has created an amazing network of like-minded women. She has empowered women to build their businesses through meaningful relationships. The Joy of Connecting fosters an environment of support instead of competition which allows women to reach outside of their comfort zone. I love being a licensee and it has benefited my business by increasing my network to reach people I would have otherwise never met. I truly look forward to my future journey with The JOC!
Nicole Schwartz, Juice Plus+ – Acworth, GA
After attending two JOC events and working on my upcoming launch, I can say that The Joy of Connecting has already made a positive impact on my life. I met several women who offer services that I and my family truly need, such as legal services, natural health treatments, an interactive website and insurance. I also purchased a few inexpensive things that I wanted, including hand-milled luxury soap and a CD of uplifting music. More important to my bottom line as an entrepreneur, I've connected with women who are interested in my Ardyss International products. JOC events are a powerful way to build a business with quality people.
Joanna Boyce-Ragland, Ardyss – Lawrenceville, GA
My first JOC was in Powder Springs, Georgia nearly ten years ago. I met Ghislaine Smith and her sister Fran Labetant. They made me feel so welcome that I became a regular attendee. I have been to over 100 JOC’s and have met some of my closest friends there. I knew one day I would become a licensee when I found out that Bonnie Ross Parker had launched her first JOC on my birthday, August 21st 2002. Bonnie is a Visionary and the Master of all Networkers. If you have not read her books or listened to her CD’s, they are a must. You will learn more from her in one book than you can in any business course on how to Network and Market your business. I am proud to be a member of the JOC family and welcome you all to our Powder Springs JOC.
Susan Guthrie, Isagenix & Nikken, Powder Springs, GA
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