Ronni Tasman just wasn’t ready to retire. When she and her husband decided to shutter their long-standing business, Stardust Skating and Events Center in 2018, she knew that she wanted to do something!
In late 2018, she started what she thought would be a small Facebook group, inviting business women in the Sarasota area to join her group as a means of networking and socializing. She planned a few events with a simple message, “If you like this group, invite your friends to join.” Her sole purpose was that she wanted the group to “feel special”.
Ronni’s infectious enthusiasm was evident the first time we met at one of SWAG’s monthly Business and Leads Networking Breakfast, held at Der Dutchmann. SWAG stands for Social Women’s Activity Group. By definition, SWAG means bold and confident, which is exactly the message that she projects at her meetings. She humbly says that she is the “grand-hostess” and that the group is all about the women, and that she is simply the organizer.
Tasman’s background in sales, marketing and customer service is serving her well as the facilitator at the monthly breakfast meetings. She has a knack for getting women to talk and listen to each other which is making for successful business connections for many of the members who attend the gatherings. In addition to the business group, there are numerous “clubs” within the club. Once a member signs up for FREE on the SWAG website, they can choose from clubs such as Book Club, Dog Walker’s Club, Travel, Mah Jongg and more. There are monthly happy hour get togethers, dinners and even weekly Zumba!
Whether you’re brand new to the Suncoast, or you’ve lived here for years, SWAG is becoming the most popular way for women to connect to each other. At last count, the Facebook group membership numbered at about 1,400. Since some ladies do not use Facebook, Tasman developed a website for all members and also uses other social media platforms (LinkedIn and Instagram) to reach as many women as possible.
Most surprisingly to many is the fact that it costs nothing to be a member of SWAG. Tasman covers the website expense herself and asks for nothing from the membership. Unlike many other networking groups, no fee is collected if a member wants to showcase their business at the monthly meetings. “She is getting joy from giving joy”. Tasman told me that it makes her feel good that people value her.
Her expert organizational skills and her love of people is what makes this group appealing to so many. When we spoke her sheer love of what she is doing was evident in our entire conversation. I could “see” her smile through the phone.
If you’d like to be a part of SWAG, visit the website at sarasotawomensactivitiesgroup.com You can phone Ronni at 941-929-SWAG, as well as finding SWAG on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Once you join the group on the website, you’ll have access to the monthly calendar of events.
Photos from SWAG Facebook page and website.