Eighteen years ago, when Mary Jane Good retired from her position as a regional vice president of a human resource outsourcing company, she wanted to continue to have an impact on people in business. She longed to share her fine-tuned talents with others — helping them achieve their goals and grow their businesses — just as she had in her years at work.
“I was looking for something I felt could fulfill that vacancy,” says Good. “And when I met with the SCORE chapter chair, I thought, ‘Gee, this is wonderful, because this is similar to what I did in my position with the company — counseling, getting people up into business.’ It married very well.”
The SCORE organization (Service Core of Retired Executives) has been around since 1964, providing free resources to its members — mentorships, courses, and other tools expertly designed to help bring success to those navigating the business world.
However, as Good climbed the ranks within the SCORE Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana Chapter (eventually ascending to a position as district director), she noticed something was missing.
Mary Jane Good
“We wanted to emphasize that more women were getting into the business world,” says Good, the “we” in that statement referring to herself and past SCORE Chair, Pat McKay. (McKay is recently deceased and dearly missed by Good and others in the organization.)
“So, five years ago, we had three open houses. We invited all the women that we were counseling and they came out in droves. We asked them what they needed. They asked for a women’s roundtable,” explains Good.
Since then, the SCORE Women’s CEO Roundtable has been meeting monthly (these days via Zoom), providing a safe and welcoming space for members to exchange honest (yet compassionate) advice, cautionary tales, and other types of support and encouragement.
The 25 current members are varied in both age and ethnic background, as well as business type, and number of years spent in practice. Some are retired and wish to share their knowledge. Others are just starting out, or are expanding. Each member brings something different to the table based on her own individual, yet relatable, experience.
Good leads the group’s monthly meetings. “They’re very comfortable with one another. If they have something that’s happening in their business that they’d like to discuss, they know that it won’t go beyond the Roundtable,” she assures, adding that all members must sign a confidentiality agreement in order to join.
Kelly Dehan serves on the SCORE membership committee and functions as secretary for The Women’s CEO Roundtable. A now-retired owner of a successful trucking company, Dehan says she feels most rewarded in seeing members progress upon their paths with the help of the group.
“I really enjoy watching the women have an ‘aha’ moment. I like seeing people get over hurdles and succeed and be proud of themselves; and have victories for themselves. That gives me joy,” she offers.
Dehan says that SCORE has conceptually evolved over the years as an organization, resulting in more diverse offerings and less constraints as far as membership qualifications.
“Not every mentor is retired now. It’s more diverse on every level,” says Dehan. “We’re recruiting people who want to help as a mentor, but we’re also recruiting for those that feel like they could benefit from having a mentor.”
According to Dehan, monthly meetings of the Women’s CEO Roundtable begin with an in-depth, hour-long presentation on a relevant topic by a guest speaker.
“A lot of times its has to do with what the group seems to want or need as far as reinforcements. It might be somebody in marketing or social media or finances,” explains Dehan.
This is followed by an open discussion on current happenings or concerns within the members’ individual businesses.
“Each member talks about what’s been going on with them in the last month — whether they’ve had some wins or challenges. And the group sort of supports one another and brainstorms,” says Dehan. “I think it’s a really cool collective, because it helps with both business and personal [issues].”
There is no cap on membership for the Women’s CEO Roundtable, and the group is actively enlisting new members.
“Any woman is welcome who has a business and wants to feel supported,” says Dehan. “In 2021, we want to help more female entrepreneurs succeed.”
“I’m very pleased that we’ve had the group going, and it’s growing and it’s obviously benefiting those in business,” adds Good. “Business people don’t have time to waste on things that they don’t feel will help them grow.”
For more information on becoming a member of SCORE and joining the Women’s CEO Roundtable, visit their website.