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Womens Success Network formed in Manteca
Shelley Kohl, one of the organizers of Womens Success Network of Manteca and owner of All About You Permanent Cosmetics, shares a light moment with other members during the networking portion of the groups meeting Wednesday at The Rendezvous. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Holding colorful floral bouquets, and wearing a new pin on their lapels, the 12 women introduced themselves to the group gathered for lunch Wednesday at The Rendezvous in Manteca.

Jen Grondahl Lee, an attorney, gave a brief description of the legal services she provides which is “a caring approach to bankruptcy.” Anyone in need of this type of service, she is there to help, said Lee whose office is in Tracy.

Francie Denis talked about Legend Music, a business located in the West Cardoza Center in Manteca that she owns, the different musical instruments available at the store and the programs and services they provide.

Cecily Ballungay briefly gave an in-a-nutshell overview of the mission and the public assistance that is made available by the non-profit Manteca Right to Life Pregnancy Help Center where she is the community relations director.

Welcome to Women’s Success Network of Manteca, a new group that is being used as a vehicle for women – be they professionals, para-professionals, stay-at-home moms, business owners – to drum up their business, their hobbies, or whatever they are pursuing in a “positive” manner.

“It’s networking with meaning and purpose,” explained Renee Kee and Shelley Kohl who are the organizers of this Manteca group that is a byproduct of the Women’s Success Network of Modesto.

Kee and Kohl have been active in the Modesto chapter for a couple of years. But one day while they were having lunch, it occurred to them that maybe they could form a similar group in Manteca. Other organizers who joined them were June Milich, Ileana Rodriguez, Sharon Marlow, and Phoebe Dennis-Fort.

Through word of mouth and e-mails, they set up the first meeting. Much to their surprise, 48 women showed up. That was in January.

Today, the group holds a luncheon meeting combined with networking every second and fourth Wednesday of the month in the banquet catering and conference room of The Rendezvous located next to the Casino Royale in the old Valley Cinema on North Main Street.

The meetings usually start with half an hour of networking at 11:30 followed by lunch at noon. After the meal, the networking and socializing continue until 1:30 p.m. Members may also take advantage of this opportunity to showcase their business products and services. The display tables, which are available for a fee of $10 each, also double as meeting attractions. During Wednesday’s meeting, one display table featured the book – “a spiritual novel” – authored by the day’s special guest, Lynn Telford-Sahl. Guests also had the opportunity to go home with a complimentary copy of the book.

“We love how the group has helped our businesses and our character both personally and professionally, and how we’ve been able to do the same for others,” explained Kohl, a certified permanent cosmetics professional whose business is located on East Center Street in Manteca.

“We have several annual events here for women which are fabulous, and I enjoy attending them, but we really felt Manteca could use something more regular that would help build real relationships which is the true catalyst of the group,” she added.

Greatly instrumental in the formation of the group in Manteca by way of support and encouragement were the founders of the Women’s Success Network in Modesto, said Kee who is a marketing executive.

Both Kohl and Kee said that their group is “not about ‘how can you help me’ so much as it is about ‘how can I help you’ which is what gives our businesses and our lives the real meaning and purpose we’re looking for.”

At the March 14 meeting of the Manteca WSN, they inducted 25 women into their membership.

“This is an amazing group of women, and this group has come at a very important time in our community and for those with a vision to change their economics and their lives,” Kohl said.

The cost to become a member is $40 a year which does not include the $13 for each lunch.

To sign up as a member, go to