Still a Club, But Without the Clubhouse

When The Professional Women’s Center opened on Valley Road in Montclair last November, it was going to be a place where local female professionals could gather, learn, take yoga and meditate. After an initiation fee of $500, the cost for full members was $100 a month.
A little more than a year later, the founder, Janet Neal, is selling off the furniture and looking for someone to take over the lease. With the economy tanking, the idea of a $100 monthly membership didn’t quite take root. So she’s re-tooled her business plan and is taking the idea of a professional women’s center virtual. And national.

Under Neal’s new concept, the PWC is now a $49-a-year membership organization. You don’t get a bricks-and-mortar space to do yoga, but Neal plans to do some virtual matchmaking – putting members together with six to eight other women, who will meet in a local restaurant to network.
She’s also organizing teleconferences ($20, one-time events) to continue the center’s educational mission. January sessions range from Facebook 101 to “Brave Conversations.” See the whole list of January workshops here.
And if you’re interested in leasing a three-floor, 3,000 square foot building in Montclair with five offices, a kitchen and 12 parking spaces, contact Janet here.

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  1. Seems like a good idea if she can find some folks….
    I wish her well.
    (OK, I wrote this because she looks like such a nice woman that I didn’t want her post to go without comment.)

  2. I dont really understand this, but I guess there is a market for it.
    For instance, if I wanted to network with some people, Id go to a specific forum or join a club. Paying $49 to a portal to be matched up with people that only have the match making site in common doesnt make sense to me. I think if she has the money she should rethink the business plan

  3. oh, and if you need to pay $20 to learn Facebook…. you really are too old for it! here’s an idea, why not make a “Facebook” platform for your woman’s networking site? After all, that’s what facebook is: A social networking site. I say reinvent the wheel

  4. I’m with you, Jimmy. Geez, Facebook is not rocket science. Learning to use some of the apps can be tricky but it’s all on their web site’s FAQ/help page. I also agree that if they set up a Facebook platform for their group, they would find like-minded people.
    As for networking, I never understood the concept of “women’s networking” or “men’s networking, whatever. I would think that if you’re in a certain field such as medical writing or experimental psychology, you would want to network with same and not necessarily by gender.

  5. She may be a very nice lady, prof, and she looks very attractive, like Paula Deen with a better haircut.
    But one has to wonder about her own business acumen. Would you truly expect to learn great things from somebody who’s now trying to unload a 3000 sq. ft. building, and who really believed that charging women $100 a month for yoga, meditation and “networking” space (Obal’s, contrastingly, only charges for beer and food, the “ommmmmmms” and the resulting enlightenment and even the NFL Game Day package are always on the house) was a viable business plan?

  6. I remember when you did a thread about this opening a year ago or so.
    I think the majority of people who posted either thought it would tank, or expressed some other concerns.
    Guess they were right.

  7. I’m glad she finally came to her senses!
    You come to me with a bottle of wine and I’ll give you whatever therapy your little heart desires!
    BTW–Good luck unloading your lease! Commercial Real Estate is tanking, Sweethart!

  8. I’m glad she finally came to her senses!
    You come to me with a bottle of wine and I’ll give you whatever therapy your little heart desires!
    BTW–Good luck unloading your lease! Commercial Real Estate is tanking, Sweethart!

  9. I salute the return of Laura Loonie – perhaps she’s been at the eggnog a bit early, but it’s always socially acceptable in her — and also her all-round acumen.

  10. When I first heard about it I thought it was a great idea….then I saw the cost. While there were a few workshops that were of interest to me, i just couldn’t justify the $500 initiation, nor monthly dues. I am sorry it didn’t work out- and hope the virtual concept does. $49 a year is doable – but really?? $20 to learn Facebook? I saw on the PWC website that they offered this in the past- so I guess people registered for it. I don’t understand why??? Facebook is incredibly simple to understand.

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