ST. GEORGE —When one female business owner saw a need for a networking group to support like-minded women, she took action by creating a female business collective that has changed both her life and the lives of all who continually join.
“Hurricane has always had a good old boys club. We needed a girls club. And we’re doing amazing things out here,” Kerry Ann Humphrey said.
Humphrey started her own occupational therapy business alongside her husband after spending 28 years employed by Intermountain Healthcare. That included 17 years in the neonatal intensive care unit. Five years ago, a house fire disrupted her life in more ways than she could’ve imagined.
“During the time that my house burned down, I was in a huge process with the insurance company. I felt like, what do you do with your life while you’re trying to figure out your life, waiting for your life to happen? That’s when I started this,” Humphrey said about her journey to business ownership.
Humphrey, who had also been practicing yoga for 20 years, decided to get her yoga teacher certification. She learned that occupational therapists, not just physical therapists, could also specialize in pelvic floor work and got certified. With multiple certifications including aerial yoga, along with her career as an occupational therapist, she realized that she could leave her employment at the hospital and start her own practice.
Upon opening Unity Health & Wellness, Humphrey said she attended business networking and chamber events. As she introduced herself and talked about her business, she said the experiences felt extremely competitive and masculine. She also met owners of other women-owned businesses in the Hurricane Valley and realized that a networking group for women did not exist.
She drew up a letter and invited women business owners to attend a collective meeting at Unity Health in June. The first Hurricane Valley Womens Collective meetup consisted of 14 different businesswomen and didn’t end until 10 p.m.
“Nobody wanted to leave. There was all of this amazing energy in one space. Every one of us went home and couldn’t sleep. It was such a powerful experience,” Humphrey said.
The Hurricane Valley Womens Collective has been up and running for three months now, with meetings once per month. Humphrey said they encourage those that attend to make connections, check in on each other and continue growing their network, even through informal interactions.
The business collective’s mission statement is to “support visionaries, such as entrepreneurs, creatives, business owners, healers and more, in their personal and community goals.” Humphrey said that HVWC provides a safe place to learn, grow, rest and rejuvenate. By creating a unique model, the group embraces feminine energy and steps away from hustle culture. They welcome and uplift those seeking joy, abundance and connection by giving from the heart without depleting.
“It’s kind of like a business networking thing, but with a little more yin energy to it, a bit more feminine energy. We bring female business owners together, create a community where we can network and support each other’s businesses and families,” Humphrey said.
While Humphrey feels like she was gifted the vision for the business collective, she isn’t quite sure where it will end up — and that’s what she loves the most. She is excited to see how things progress as the collective grows.
Kimber Dutton, owner of the “Be Your Bad Self” Podcast and resident of Hurricane since the age of 13, said she started to feel like there wasn’t much in the area for her anymore and even considered moving. During that time, she was introduced to the Hurricane Women’s Business Collective, and it completely changed her perspective.
“It’s so powerful. I’m shocked at all the people I haven’t met and the cool things going on here, I just had no idea. It’s like entering a portal into a new dimension in Hurricane,” Dutton said.
She said the collective breaths all new life into the area while empowering women in their business pursuits. Not only has she made business connections, but she’s also made life-long friends.
“I’m making connections with artists, healers, singer/songwriters, and all these people I want to work with and collaborate with,” Humphrey said. “ I’ve made a circle of best friends here in my town I lived in forever. I didn’t know all these soul sisters existed.”
Kelby Sorensen, a yoga instructor and trauma healer who teaches at various places across Washington County, said she was drawn to Unity Health & Wellness after seeing the yoga trapeze fixtures hanging from the ceiling through the glass windows. She and Humphrey quickly connected and she was onboard with the idea of a female business group.
“It is just magical,” Sorensen said. “A big part of the magic for me is that it’s here in Hurricane. We’re not exclusive, but it will be here and continue to take place here.”
Sorensen said unlike other groups that are created with an ego behind them, the group started with the intention of flourishing into whatever it may be, run by whoever may run it, with the goal to collectively run it together.
“I’ve made business connections and friendships, it’s gone beyond what I ever thought and we’re only three months in,” Sorensen said. “The biggest thing for me has been feeling the magic of other entrepreneurs, healers, and artists in the area all in one place.”
The Hurricane Womens Business Collective is open to female entrepreneurs, creators and business owners throughout Washington County. For more information, join HWBC’s Facebook group.
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