Women for Economic and Leadership Development: WELD’s National Expansion

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Since WELD’s debut as a national non-profit in 2015, the organization, first formed in Columbus in 2003, has expanded its reach to include chapters in Cleveland, Southern Ohio, Charleston WV, Pittsburgh and previously Tulsa.  WELD is excited to announce that region of Dallas-Fort Worth has most recently joined these other locations has launched formation of its very own WELD chapter. WELD’s mission is to advance women’s leadership to strengthen the economic prosperity of the communities it serves.  Programs include the Leadership Series, Emerging Professionals, Executive Women’s Series, and Tell It Like It Is Thursday® webinars. Corporate board training is offered to qualified applicants. Recently, WELD’s partnership efforts resulted in the appointment of two graduates to corporate board positions.  WELD’s signature events are the annual Keynote, the National Leadership Conference and Women WELDing the Way® Calendar and reception.  The calendar honors women who are leaders in their companies and industries, serve their communities and mentor and inspire other women.  The calendar is intended to spur further recognition and success in a variety of fields and endeavors.

WELD’s national Impact Committee encourages WELD members to engage in state, county, and local community civic affairs at all levels, including advocacy activities, board and commission appointments, and direct service in organizations.

The WELD national board stresses the importance of considering the characteristics, issues, and challenges of communities and members’ goals for leadership and economic prosperity when developing chapters and programming for each locale.    Chapters are encouraged to join and build relationships with area chambers as one of the most effective ways to engage with the business community and gain relevant knowledge on economic development.

WELD also partners with various organizations to lift up women who have faced personal and economic challenges.  Clients are offered scholarships to attend WELD’s national leadership conference.  The number of scholarships increased from just 2 per year in 2012 to now approximately 60 per year.

Plans for WELD include continued emphasis on national expansion and cultivating partnerships at the national level such as the most recent one formed with The New York Times New Rules Summit: Women, Leadership & a Playbook for Change where it will collaborate with international business leaders to develop strategies to achieve gender equity using content from summit speakers such as Melinda Gates, Mary Barra, Jamie Dimon and Debra Lee.

–Becky S. Cornett, WELD National Impact Committee Member