A night for women to enjoy

Women from around the area will have a chance to network, catch up with old friends, meet new friends and just have fun at an Ultimate Girlfriend Event in Minot on Sept. 20.

The YWCA of Minot is teaming up with downtown businesses to host the event in the Grand Hotel from 6 to 9 p.m. The event features food, a fashion show, mini-workshops, door prizes, shopping and time to socialize.

“Part of the Y’s mission is to empower women. We do that through our shelter and our permanent support housing,” YWCA board member Sana Keller said. “When I look at what Ys are doing around the nation, a lot is programming to empower women. We are really missing that, and it’s really something that’s needed here. Women are pretty hungry just to connect and meet other women their age.”

During the girlfriend event, women will be asked to weigh in on possible topics for three empowerment sessions that the YWCA plans to hold in 2015. Women will choose their favorites from about 14 topics, such as setting boundaries, work-life balance, communication skills, stress busting, love languages, conflict management, friendships, self defense, healthy bodies, leadership skills and making a positive difference.

The Ultimate Girlfriend Event begins with a social offering light hors de’oeuvres and a cash bar. A signature drink, both alcoholic and non-alcohol, is being created for the event, Keller said.

Mini-workshops will follow. Terry Eckmann will present on healthy attitudes, and Nora Mihalik, who is opening a downtown yoga studio, will provide a session that will get participants moving a bit. Downtown restaurant representatives will talk about eating fresh, and another workshop will offer quick makeup tips.

Keller’s daughter, Amy Ryan, who works for the corporate office of Sephora in San Francisco, will be presenting a workshop, “What Not to Wear!” Keller said the idea for a girlfriend event in Minot came about after visiting with her daughter about a similar Sephora event. At Ryan’s persistence, Keller said, she introduced the concept to the YWCA board, where it generated enthusiasm from the start. Without being recruited, women have volunteered to help with planning, decorating and other aspects of the event, Keller said.

The event concludes with a fast-paced fashion show, featuring items from Minot’s downtown clothing stores. Participants will leave with guest bags filled with gifts and highlight notes from the mini-workshops.

The event showcases downtown businesses, including seven clothing stores, three restaurants, the soon-to-open yoga studio and a bookstore. Businesses will have displays and items for sale. The businesses also have donated door prizes, Keller said.

An interesting aspect of the downtown participation is that the businesses involved are owned by women. Pam Karpenko, owner of Mainstream Boutique, which will participate in the fashion show, said the event will benefit the business owners by providing an opportunity to network with other women in the community.

“This is the first time that something this exciting has been brought to downtown. It’s going to be a ‘do not miss’ event,” she said.

Keller said the event is geared to women of all ages, including older teens. Dress is semi-formal.

Tickets are $20 and are available at the YWCA office at 205-3rd Ave. SE, Main Street Books at 8 S. Main, and Visit Minot at 1020 S. Broadway. Keller said donations will enable women served by the YWCA and Domestic Violence Crisis Center shelters to attend for free.