‘Girlbosses’ networking group looks to guide women-owned businesses

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Girl Boss attendees at a recent gathering. (Submitted photo)

RICHMOND, Va. — Pulling from their experiences as entrepreneurs, a local healthcare company founder and a real estate agent are looking to encourage other women business owners with a networking group they can call their own.

Debbie Johnston and Susan Stynes have started “#Girlbosses,” a monthly, women-only gathering named after the Twitter hashtag that Stynes has used in tweets for her recently launched brokerage, River City Elite Properties.

Johnston, the founder of home-healthcare provider Care Advantage, which she sold in January to a private equity firm, is organizing the group along with Stynes, who likewise started her career as a registered nurse.

Having co-founded the ongoing Network of Enterprising Women in 1988 – around the same time she founded Care Advantage – Johnston said she wanted to create a new group that was fun while also providing attendees with lessons and information they can take back with them.

She and Stynes said they aim to have a new profession represented at each meeting, with different business owners presenting to the group. They said it has attracted dozens of attendees since starting four months ago. Attendees have included bridal shop owners, makeup artists, real estate agents and charity organizers.

“The hope is that each month, each person brings a new person,” Johnston said.

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