The Bend Chamber is kicking off a monthly spotlight on women and entrepreneurship with a panel of Central Oregon women business leaders Tuesday night. But make no mistake–this event is not just for women, it’s for everyone. More on that in a minute.

The Year of Women in Business panel discussion tomorrow evening features some our region’s most inspiring and experienced business leaders, discussing a range of issues regarding growing companies, leadership, how to be successful and more.

The panelists are:

From the Chamber’s news release:

“This is a great opportunity to hear from some of our most prominent women leaders and mentors who understand the particular challenges that come with being a woman entrepreneur,” said Talena Barker, founder/CEO of Mission Limelight.

We wholeheartedly agree. The women on this panel are great, and I could fangirl over each of them. (Side note: Stay tuned for a profile of Talena’s startup, Mission Limelight, tomorrow.)

Back to who should attend: You should. These panelists will undoubtedly provide insights and wisdom applicable not just to women, but to anyone interested in creating a successful, healthy, vibrant and equitable business ecosystem.

Especially in startupland, women can face some key challenges, including access to funding. Consider that women receive just 2.97% of venture capital, and less than 5% of SBA-backed bank loans. However, the chamber release notes that when they receive capital, they show results. Women-led, venture-backed companies are less likely to fail, use less capital, and have 12 percent higher annual revenues.

So yes the Tuesday panel is women focused, but the conversation is important for the entire community. Because the success of our entrepreneurial ecosystem is never a zero sum game. Instead, the more people that find success, the more success we have overall–that’s more thriving businesses, more job opportunities, better job opportunities, and a stronger economy. It’s a rising tide/ships situation. And understanding more about the barriers that face underrepresented groups puts us all on a path to a better place.

Here’s the details.

What’s Brewing: Year of the Woman in Business
 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 6
10 Barrel’s East Side Pub

Doors open at 5:00 p.m.for networking. Pre-registration is $15.00 for Bend Chamber members, $25.00 for community-at-large, and $5.00 more at the door.  Minors are permitted at a special rate of $10.00 but must register directly through Bonnie Vandiver, Events Coordinator, at[email protected].

Buy your tickets and learn more

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at or

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley