Women’s Business Network Offers WARM Twist on Traditional Holiday Office Party

Shelley SmithBlog, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Predictive Index

By: Jamie McAllister

Make merry AND make an impact this holiday season by joining the Peninsula Women’s Network (PWN) at the inaugural WARM for the Holidays mixer on Monday, December 14, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at the Marriott City Center in Newport News. Ticket price includes dinner and networking with other Hampton Roads professionals. The Myra Smith Experience will provide the evening’s entertainment with a blend of holiday music and original songs.

Sponsorship opportunities for the event are available for businesses. PWN is also seeking other like-minded service-oriented nonprofits to partner with them for the event. If your business or group would like to get involved, contact Shelley Smith via phone at 757-897-8644 or via e-mail at Shelley@Premierrapport.com for more information.

The brainchild of current PWN President Shelley Smith, the event was created to bring members of the Hampton Roads professional community together.

“Every company has a holiday party, so why not make it worthwhile?” said Shelley, owner of Premier Rapport, a business and consulting firm on the Peninsula.

Shelley wanted the event to be a fun way for professionals to connect and celebrate the season, but she also wanted to unite everyone around an important cause. Together with fellow PWN members, including board member and R&B singer Myra Smith, Shelley decided to combine the party with a winter clothing drive for the homeless, and thus was born WARM for the Holidays.

“So many people misunderstand what homelessness is and how it happens,” Shelley said. “People get lost in the system and don’t get the help they need, especially children and the elderly. Family pets also suffer from the loss of a home. We can’t keep turning our heads and acting like we don’t see what is going on around us.”

Last winter was particularly brutal and Shelley recalled a trip to Washington, D.C. when she saw police officers putting blankets out on benches because they knew people would be using those cold, hard surfaces as beds.

“Homelessness won’t just go away,” she said. “It is our responsibility as business owners to make an impact in our community and help others who need assistance.”

Myra echoed Shelley’s sentiments. She travels often with her band, The Myra Smith Experience, and performs at many outdoor venues year round. She has also seen the effects the cold weather can have on those without a home.

“My band and I performed at an outdoor concert last winter and we spoke with several people in the audience who did not have a place to live,” Myra said. “When I shook their hands I remember they were freezing, but for that moment in time they were happy and dancing to the music. They touched my heart and I wanted to do more to help them and others in similar situations.”

Shelley stresses that getting involved is not limited to attending the party. “You can make a world of difference just by hitting the Share button on your social media accounts or inviting a friend to join you at the event,” she said.

“Anyone can do anything to help out,” she continued. “Donating just one scarf to go around one person’s neck is a small act that could start a huge movement.”

Donations of gently used or new hats, scarves, gloves, socks, and other warm clothing for local families in need can be dropped off at the following Peninsula locations:

Newport News

  • Discover Teas – 2170 William Styron Square (Port Warwick)
  • Soulful Journeys – 11010 Warwick Blvd (Near Hardee’s)
  • The Wright Place – 809 Main St (Todds Lane/Main St)
  • Calvary Chapel – 361 Beechmont Drive (Beechmont/Warwick)


  • BayPort Credit Union – 2300 Cunningham Drive (Peninsula Town Center)
  • BayPort Credit Union – 199 Fox Hill Rd


  • Discover Teas – 1915 Pocahontas Trail (Village Shops at Kingsmill)


  • MOR Consulting Services – 2924 George Washington Memorial Hwy
  • BayPort Credit Union – 2369 George Washington Memorial Hwy

PWN was founded 36 years ago by four Peninsula women who wanted to encourage professional women to connect, grow, and lead. For more information about the group and the benefits of membership, visit their website.