Forging Their Own Path: Conflict Drives Women in Business Board to Resign from Chamber of Commerce

This afternoon's Women in Business Connection networking luncheon has been sold out for weeks. The restaurant, Gargoyle's in Somerville, is filled beyond seating capacity. The luncheon even had a waiting list.

And Martha Myers, co-chair of the Women in Business Connection, is thrilled.

But the road to such success has not been an easy one. Just two months ago, Myers belonged to the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, where she says she was treated with "a complete lack of respect."


Myers used to belong to the Chamber's Women in Business Steering Committee, a program that hosts monthly luncheons for women to network and address issues they face in the workplace.

In late December, however, the entire committee, Myers included, resigned from the Chamber to form an independent program, claiming that they had not been treated equitably.

Chamber President Gerald Oldach says it was not unfair treatment, but rather a difference in ideologies that led the women to resign.

"Most of these women were involved in very small, individually owned businesses," Oldach says. "They are a group of women who have a single agenda, and that is to communicate with other women in small businesses."

Oldach says other women who participated in the luncheons had different interests, like talking about how to survive in the corporate world. The Women in Business Steering Committee, he says, had no patience for such requests--a claim with which Myers wholeheartedly disagrees.

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