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Women in Business Summit Friday

It’s a challenging business climate in Alaska these days, with the low price of oil keeping spending down across the board and unemployment pretty high. And if you were to ask Alaska businesswomen, many would say it’s just that much more challenging for them. That’s where the Kenai Women in Business Summit on Friday might help.

“We’re really excited to bring this forth and see how it goes and potentially do one in the fall, to catch everyone that we miss this spring and make it an annual event," said Johna Beech of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce.

She said she got the idea after attending a summit elsewhere a few years ago, that left her wanting.

“I walked out of there feeling I that was missing something in the sense of there were certain components in my life that I felt it didn’t touch. And so I’ve been sitting on this idea and have been kicking it around with my staff and my board for a couple of years now, and this year felt like the year we could make it happen," she said. "So we are covering topics such as finances, self-care, situational awareness, how to be a leader when you’re not in a leadership role. So we have some incredible speakers.”

One of those speakers is Jocelyn O’Conner with a local Edward Jones office. Beech said they worked to put together a workshop on finances.

“I hear so many times of, ‘Oh my husband handles the finances. I don’t even know where we bank.’ And God forbid something happens to the husband or the spouse and then you’re left sitting there like, “I don’t even know how to pay my mortgage,’" Beech said.

"So she and I came up with these five money questions, ‘What do you need to know in this day and age?’ And if your husband still wants to handle the finances, awesome. But at least you know where the mortgage is paid, when the mortgage is paid, where you have your bank account. All of that information.”

Beech said the personal safety session led by Kenai Police Sergeant Alex Prins will take an avoidance-and-prevention tact rather than a traditional reaction one.

“The one thing we always talk about is, ‘if you’re in this situation, you do this,’ right? So if you’re going to use pepper spray or a firearm or a knife or jujitsu or hug it out, whatever, we always talk about once you’re in this situation, what can happen," she said.

"What we don’t talk about is how not to get into that situation. And so he and I kicked around this situational awareness topic of little things, you know, like, when you get in your car, lock your doors; when you’re shopping at Carrs, don’t leave your pocketbook in the shopping cart; don’t walk down an alley by yourself in the middle of the night. I mean there’s that kind of thing that we, as women - and even men can do this to, to not be a victim.”

his year’s Kenai Women in Business Summit is already sold out, but as Beech mentioned at the top of the story, there could be another in the fall.