You would expect to only find women working at the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Well, you would be almost right. Up until a few months ago, Lawrence Miles was the only man working at the Women’s Chamber of Commerce for about five years.
Miles, a Harlemite, said, “I enjoyed helping women in business because I know the [Harlem] community well and I am great with people. I love making a business become the best it can be.”
Prior to working for the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Miles did promotional work with various record labels. He was hired by the Chamber after doing some freelance work for them, such as planning networking and promotional events. In his time working at the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Miles said, “It’s been great to help out women in business … I’ve seen a lot of great successes.”
At the Women’s Chamber Commerce, Miles said they assist women and minorities in building businesses. To help the women get their businesses up and running, they teach them about branding, marketing, proposal writing and even computer classes. The women they work with are a mixture of college and non-college graduates. Miles said that even the women who do have their college degrees need help in getting their businesses running.
The Chamber also hosts the New York Women of Excellence networking event and fundraiser. At this event, awards are given out yearly to 10 to 11 women in various different fields, such as construction and security. This year’s event occurs on Sept. 20. Miles said this is an event “women from all over in business attend. It’s a great opportunity for women to meet other great women in business.”
In getting the name of businesses out there, Miles said he helps them “connect with their communities.” In Harlem, he has put together networking events with other businesses such as Brownstone Boutique and, before it closed, Hue-Man Bookstore. Other networking events with “women-owned Harlem businesses” such as Carol’s Daughter are being planned.
Miles said, “I enjoy … promoting, connecting and opening doors for women and their businesses.” He added, “It feels great to know that we are helping these women build their businesses.”