Courtney Eeten and Crystal Sewell aren’t sure how long the Morton Chamber of Commerce’s leadership women talks have been going on — it predates them, at least — but they are sure that they want it to continue as a celebration of the women who own businesses in Morton.
Eeten, the Community Development Director for the Chamber, and Sewell, the Marketing and Membership Director, told the Daily Times that providing a space to bring women together to discuss their challenges and to celebrate their achievements is their goal.
“Ensuring that there is a space for us to have those conversations and to continue to have those conversations is important,” said Sewell.
Yearly, there are four talks, and the third will take place on Tuesday Aug. 6 at Kemp 208.
If the event’s mission is to simultaneously elevate Morton’s women leaders and to inspire the next generation, Cathy Kemp of Kemp 208 is a fine place to start.
Kemp worked in the food industry for close to 20 years — including managing the Pekin Country Club — before opening her Morton restaurant.
A casual fine-dining restaurant, Kemp said her namesake food establishment serves fresh, often local, elevated offerings while still feeling intimate.
“My goal when I opened (the restaurant) is I wanted people to feel like they were coming to my home,” she said.
Now, for what she believes is the third year, Kemp — who serves on the board of the chamber — will open her doors for the attendees of the Leadership Women event, offering a brief talk and a cooking demonstration by Executive Chef Jeff Madden.
Usually the speaker is the highlight of the event, but Kemp will take a backseat for the cooking demonstration, which will then be served to the guests.
Eeten and Sewell, along with Kemp, say this is by design, as this event allows the women and men — who they say are always welcome to attend — to network and enjoy a meal together.
Morton, they say, has a rather strong community of women-owned businesses — “I think the atmosphere, especially here in Morton, is pretty good,” said Kemp — so the event will be a chance for those leaders to celebrate that.
The event is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 6. Kemp 208 is located at 208 N. Main St. in Morton.