Diane Danielson founded the DWC in 1998 to give friends and colleagues a career boost. The DWC soon became a resource for women (and men) to learn the skills, make contacts and build the confidence needed for a successful career. Online membership was added in 2007 so that DWC could truly live up to our tagline: Downtown Women: it’s an attitude … not a location!
On October 12, 2011 Diane sent out this information:
Dear DWC Community:
Some of you have already heard the news. For others, I apologize if this comes as a surprise. After 13 years of running the Downtown Women’s Club, it’s finally time for me to step away and, as a result, close down our main website and paid memberships at the end of November.
I have truly enjoyed everything we’ve accomplished since 1998. However, I need to dedicate myself full time to my marketing company, DKD New Media Strategies and my passion for helping women get elected to political office. With that on my plate, I would not be able to maintain the DWC at the level to which we have all become accustomed.
While a handful of us have worked together to found, create the vision, and build the infrastructure for the DWC, the heart of the operations was in all the women (and men) who understood that the DWC was about jumping in and participating. So a big THANK YOU to all of you.
This is why I’m not surprised to learn that many of our local clubs are going to continue on under their own brands. You go, gals! Several directors are using this opportunity to take their groups into new directions, even dropping the “women” part. This is something that I fully support. Times change and we all need to change with it!
I understand that all is still not equal for women. One only has to look at the lack of women in senior management, corporate boards and politics. Yet, we’ve come a long way from the first years of the DWC. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the DWC sprung up in cities because we were paid less, we couldn’t find mentors and didn’t have access to the senior women’s associations in our cities. It was in those early years that we helped implement maternity leave policies, create peer advisory groups, and even open up invitations for women to company golf outings.
Up through 2005, the DWC was focused on teaching and nurturing women who wanted to network but felt excluded based on gender, experience or life stage. After 2005, we maintained that goal, but shifted the focus onto teaching women more about technology. We were one of the very first groups to blog and participate on LinkedIn. We launched the first social network for businesswomen in the US (which resulted in having to defend a lawsuit against a very large company who claimed to own the word “Faces”!). But, it’s time again for change.
Of the tens of thousands of women who have visited our website, joined as members, participated in our local clubs, contributed their knowledge, and taken on leadership and advisory roles, I hope that you all will continue to grow, find your voice and leverage the networks you’ve created.
From the very beginning, our motto was “Downtown Women: it’s an attitude, not a location.”I still believe that and hope all you Downtown Women will keep that in mind as you achieve success in the years to come!
Diane K. Danielson
What does this mean for Local Clubs?
We have left it to the local club leaders as to whether they want to continue under a different brand name or shut down. Please check your local club MeetUp page for details. We have asked that all clubs “retire” the Downtown Women’s Club name and our logo/trademarks by November 30, 2011.
What does this mean for DWC+ members?
We will be running our DWC+ services through November 30, 2011 (Network Now! eNewsletter, Teleclasses, Member Directories, and so forth). For our DWC+ Members who have paid for a new membership or renewal at anytime since June 1, 2011, we will be issuing pro-rated refunds.