Women’s business network announces new leadership

Paula Richardson.

The founder of a female business network has handed over the reins to one of its members.

Sharon Davis has stepped down from leading Dales Business Women (DBW) so she can focus on her PR consultancy and growing personal commitments.

Paula Richardson, who has been a member of the network since it began, is taking over.

Sharon started DBW more than four years ago after moving to the dales and wanting to connect with like-minded self-employed women.

The first meeting took place at the Nash in Hawes but very quickly grew, and regular events in Richmond, Masham and Reeth soon followed.

Regular online meetings also took place throughout the various lockdowns to ensure members had a space to keep meeting.

The focus of the network is to engage mainly rurally-based women and during its time it has engaged businesses across the dales and surrounding areas such as Craven, Cumbria and Northallerton.

Sharon who recently had a second child, says she is proud of what she’s built.

She said: “I wouldn’t have imagined the network would have become what it has when I started interviewing businesswomen for the blog back in 2017, followed by a meeting in 2018.

“There has been such an appetite to collaborate, share ideas and just have a laugh with like-minded women over snacks.

“I’m so grateful to every single person who attended an event, sponsored us, or interacted with the network in anyway.

“I now have two small children under five, plus a growing consultancy and can only manage so much, I’m sad to step down but I’m glad to have created something that will outlast me. I’ve got every confidence in Paula and look forward to being involved with the network as a member.”

Paula who also runs sales consultancy SmartBee Business, added: “I have been an active member of DBW since Sharon created the group and I’ve seen it grow and develop into a fantastic and supportive network.

“Sharon has created a great resource for business women in our local area and I am thrilled to be the new leader. Business is always challenging and can be more so in isolated, rural communities.

“DBW supports these businesses and the women who are running them. Being part of a group of like-minded individuals can really make a difference to progress and success – it certainly has for me. Sharon has built an excellent community with strong foundations and I am really excited to be in a position to continue to develop it further to build strength and success for the future.

“I am looking forward to supporting these fantastic women during 2022 and beyond!”

The first event of the year is happening next month, you can find out more at: www.dalesbusinesswomen.com