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Women Presidents’ Organization launching Harrisburg-area chapter

The first of what could end up as multiple midstate chapters of the Women Presidents’ Organization — an international peer advisory group for women-led businesses — will launch this week.

The New York City-based nonprofit organization, which has 125 worldwide chapters and about 1,800 members, will hold a launch event Wednesday at the Clarion Hotel in Fairview Township, York County.

Jayne Huston, chair of the Greensburg chapter, will lead the new Harrisburg-area chapter, which will be based at the regional offices of PNC Bank in Hampden Township, Cumberland County.

“Women-owned and women-led businesses represent a growing sector of the southcentral Pennsylvania market,” said Huston, who recently moved to the Hershey area. “This new chapter of the WPO will help a group of fast-growing regional women entrepreneurs build their businesses in an ever-changing global economic context.”

WPO chapters are limited to 20 members from non-competitive businesses who meet monthly to share business expertise and experience in a confidential setting. WPO membership requires annual revenue of at least $2 million, or $1 million for service-based companies, and an ownership interest in the company.

The average WPO member has been in business for 24 years, and companies average $13.5 million in revenue, according to the organization’s fact sheet.

Huston has already secured six founding members for the midstate chapter and expects it grow.

The midstate could eventually be home to more than one chapter, she said. There are three chapters in southwestern Pennsylvania, including Huston’s Greensburg chapter. There is one in the Philadelphia area and two in the Baltimore area.

Huston recently joined ThistleSea Business Development LLC in western Pennsylvania as a business coach and vice president. In moving to the midstate, she is hoping to grow Harrisburg-area businesses through coaching, mentoring and consulting services.

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