DawnHartwell_PhotoSpotlight Chick ~ Dawn Hartwell

If there is any one woman who understands how to show up in that really big way, it's Dawn Hartwell. Only a member of Chicks for 2 months, she has become an essential part of the fabric that makes this sisterhood so special. Here is her story.

Spotlight Q&A with Dawn Hartwell, Early Bird Chicks & TGIF Chicks

interviewed by Leslie Akin

Please tell our readers about you.

I strive to show up and do better in life every day. I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana . . . kind of born Cajun, can't even eat it. (laughing out loud). If it's spicy I can't eat it!

What are some of the jobs you've had.

Restaurant management for 27 years. It was always different every day. Different people, different drama, LOL, and no two days were alike . . . except for inventory.

What are you passionate about?

I'm very passionate about giving back and helping others. I've always been very general about giving, but now that I'm a rep for Damsel in Defense, I've focused more on educating women about self protection. Being involved in this business, has also provided a way to help survivors and in doing so, help me begin the healing process for myself.

You recently became a member of Chicks Connect. How did that come about?

By a lucky chance. I went to the K-Town Chicks meeting in December 2014, with my friend Holly. Neither one of us had experienced Chicks. Our Chicks Connect founder Jewels Muller happened to be in town and at the meeting. My friend and I had to leave early, and what's so ironic is that my raffle ticket was the winner. I won a 3-month membership to Chicks Connect. It was only a few weeks until the 2015 Chicks Connect Inspiration Celebration (CCIC) in January. Jewels emailed me, with all of the benefits that comes with membership, and I thought I would enjoy using the membership for the duration, then quit. Was I ever wrong!

What have you gained personally and professionally by being a member of Chicks Connect?

What Chicks Connect did for me has nothing to do with my business. It's what I've needed as far as support, healing, and even spiritual uplifting. What plays into this, is that my husband and I have only been in the Portland area for about 5 months. I didn't any new friends. Chicks Connect changed that.

You were at CCIC, so what was that like for you?

It's just the funniest thing, because I did not understand the table sponsorship. I thought I was doing the right thing. I asked Jewels how much it would cost to sponsor a table, my table theme was Southern Charmsations. She said the table sponsorship was free. Based on my past experience in other groups, I assumed that I would need to fill the table up with bodies. So, I invited other direct sales people that I had met. I literally sold the idea to six women as the cheapest vendor fee they would ever pay to attend CCIC with guaranteed leads. I was disappointed that I did not bring a total of ten new women to CCIC.

The women (vendors) that I invited to CCIC donated their business products for the table décor and the total value came to about $200 in merchandise that we donated to the charity raffle.

 I felt great about have the 3 month free membership, but I did not want to extort it, even though it was a gift, so I purchased 2 ads in the CCIC program ($100) because it felt like the right thing to do.

Jewels and I went to find 2 more chairs for my table, then Jewels said it would be okay if we couldn't get extra chairs, because women could sit wherever they wanted to sit.

This was a moment of clarity for me.

So I said, “Oh. (pause) Well I'm from the South.”  That's when I realized I did not understand the table sponsorship. In the south, sponsoring a table would mean you pay for the privilege of hosting, plus sell tickets to fill the seats.

Jewels then realized that I had filled with my table with women who were guests, when I wasn't required to do so.

You have another small business, please tell us about that.

I sell Charmsations, mostly bracelets and key chains that can be easily customized, but not permanent. My best customers for these bracelets are girls and women of all ages. This fun business started as a way for me to enjoy building my granddaughters savings account.  I'm also a new team member with 123LaunchMe, an amazing online marketing company.

So what happened at CCIC that shifted your focus on promoting business in Chicks?

I felt loved and supported the women at CCIC. I felt that these women cared about me, not just what my business was about. No matter what I do, I don't look for recognition, so when Jewels shared the story about how many women I brought to CCIC because I misunderstood the table sponsorship, I was a little embarrassed, but also delighted that I was recognized for my happy mistake.

You've become a very active member and you're sharing the Chicks Connect movement to a lot of women.

Yes, and all of the women who were my guests at CCIC, joined. And I tell everyone I know about Chicks Connect. Sometimes when I share it, I get over-excited. Chicks Connect is a sisterhood, not a networking group.

In Dawn's sassiest Tennessee accent, she said she gets to the point where she says, “Y'all just don't know what Chicks Connect and CCIC did for me!”

I heard you're chairing a new Chicks Connect Chapter.

Yes, I'm keeping my membership, (that means I'm paying for it when my free membership is up). The evening meetings will be held in the Clackamas, Oregon area, for those women who want to be members, but can't make the daytime meetings. You can check our website for meeting times or download the Chicks Connect app.

Do you have any pearls of wisdom to offer new chicks?

Accept the support and create genuine friendships. I have a hard time asking for help, as many of us do. But I'm getting better at it, because of the encouragement I receive from my new sister Chicks.

How can we reach you to discuss Damsel in Defense and Charmsations?

Dawn Hartwell