In the beginning, there was much discussion about various organizations open to women in Rapid City, their structure and the possibility of networking in those groups. There were no formal programs, and those attending mainly discussed Rapid City community affairs and employment opportunities in the area.
During that first year, members mainly got acquainted and shared career goals. The discovery of new people, sharing of information and self, and encouraging each other to grow seems to have been the basis for the group since its inception. When KEVN and Joe Ames of the Rapid City Journal interviewed Lois Weston, the resulting publicity helped make others aware both of networking and the newly formed organization.
In the second year, more structure and formal programs were introduced. A steering committee was formed to make policy decisions. The group began to meet regularly at the Hotel Alex Johnson. Audrey Lang took over as emcee of the meetings in June of 1982, the The Guide featured Network in a front-page article, resulting in new memberships.
After meeting for more than two years with an informal structure, Women's Network of Rapid City, Inc. was incorporated on August 26, 1983, under the leadership of Kathy (Newkirk) Cline. Since that time, Women's Network has continued to grow. Our membership currently includes around 100 women with a remarkably diverse array of backgrounds, careers and talents.
Many of our members participate actively in the community, making their talents available to volunteer organizations in addition to their regular business activities. Several Network members, including former South Dakota Lieutenant Governor, Carole Hillard, have been elected representatives or are leaders in state and local government.
Women's Network regularly sponsors candidates for the Leadership Rapid City program conducted each year by Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce, providing scholarships to members selected for participation. We also provide scholarships for members who are continuing their career-related education. At each meeting 50/50 tickets are sold to raise money for these scholarships.