ABOUT US

Our Mission

To educate each other and grow into the bold, confident women that God has called us to be. We give back to our community, lead by example and grow through mentoring. 

Our Vision

We not only look to help grow each other's businesses through our network but we also strive to: Give to others, Lead by example and Grow through mentoring.

Team Meetings

The focus at our Team meetings are building community, mentoring and education. We start each Team meeting with a prayer and end with an ask. Every Team member takes a turn to lead a round table discussion thus growing in their leadership and presentation skills. 

Show up, be a positive support to your fellow Network Team and be involved in Network events.

Referrals are not mandatory, usually what you give, is what you'll receive... So give away!

Attendance to your Network Team Meetings are a good thing. Showing up helps build your relationship with your team, which leads to trust, which leads to more referrals for you to grow your business. Be a team player!

 We do have one person per core profession. Why? We know you probably won't share and be open in the round table discussions if your competition is sitting across the table from you.  

We keep these Network Teams at no more than 20 Members per Team. This ensures relationships are being built and quicker. There will be occasional Network Wide events which would include ALL Network Teams and all professions. This can only increase your overall network. ​

This is what a typical Network Team Meeting would look like. Depending on the location - with networking before and after.

One hour Network Team Meetings are structured as such:

OPENING PRAYER

GUEST*  INTRO'S 

TEAM INTRO'S

TEAM & NETWORK ANNOUNCEMENTS

TEAM & COMMUNITY EVENTS

EDUCATE ROUND TABLE

TEAM 30 SEC ASK

BUSINESS

CLOSE

* Guests must be registered to ensure that there is no overlap with business categories with current Paratus Network Team Members. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

WHY DO YOU HAVE ONE CORE PROFESSION PER TEAM IF YOU AREN'T A LEADS GROUP?

Honestly I went back and forth about this decision when thinking about the structure. What I kept coming back to, is that let's say you have two realtors in a Team, they aren't going to be as open about marketing strategies or struggles that they are facing right now if their competition is sitting right at the table with them. This is literally why we have one person per core profession. Also current members have the right to vote no if there is an applicant that overlap their profession even slightly, as members vote on all applications submitted. 

WHERE DOES THE MEMBERSHIP MONEY GO TOWARDS?

This is an honest question. The membership fees are split up into percentages for business expenses, payroll, marketing and we give some to a non profit at the end of the year. 

WHAT EXACTLY DOES THE TEAM LEAD DO, IF YOU DON'T HAVE A "PRESIDENT"?

Team Leads are in place to keep the meeting running on the agenda. Someone has to be in charge or we would end up talking about a sale or recipe and not getting to the agenda. The Team Lead does have to tweak the agenda - template is created from HQ - with the Teams updated info, and after each meeting send in a quick report - they do this right from their phone. The Team is just that... a Team. In no way should one person take on anything, everyone should have a part to contribute and help to keep the Team meetings/events running smoothly and helping the Guests to feel welcome. HQ is in place to handle all of the administrative tasks, so the Team Leads can focus on running the meeting and growing her business. 

HOW MANY MEMBERS CAN BE IN A TEAM?

Through my experience, I have found that 20 is a good number to have great energy, discussions and referrals so we stop at 20. However, if a Team feels that they like the Team they have and don't want to have any more Members join, they can close their Team. As long as the Members are happy - and their bosses are happy with their ROI their employees are receiving, then I'm happy. 

HOW IS PARATUS NETWORK DIFFERENT FROM A "LEADS GROUP"?

First difference is that this is for women only, second this organization is faith- based and Christ-centered, thirdly we as women have enough going on in our lives with all of the hats that we wear, I didn't want to have the pressure of having to come to a meeting with a lead. Women network differently than men, we like to know the details of your life and are more relationship based. So while you are building relationships in the Team, referrals will happen. It will sometimes take time, however it does work. We do have new member orientation in place to help members with their 30 second ask. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY TRAINING OR WORKSHOPS?

From time to time we may have an online workshop, though this is not something we do on a regular basis. For new members we do have new member orientation 101 and 102. 101 is all online in a series of quick videos (5-9 minutes long each) that I recorded and should help the members understand how we work and how to get the most out of their membership. 102 is via zoom and is led by me, Mindy the Founder, and I love doing these! It's interactive and a great way to network with new members from other areas. 

THERE ISN'T A TEAM IN MY AREA, CAN I START ONE?

Yes. There is a whole page dedicated to someone who wants to have a Team in their area and not do all of the work themselves to set up a networking group. This is what makes Paratus Network so great! It's like a plug n play. Utilizing my experience of running networking businesses for 11 years, you can ask me questions, and HQ helps you every step of the way. No reinventing the wheel, we've done it already for you. 

 

Meet The Founder;
Mindy Cook

Mindy Cook has a passion for connecting professionals together, being involved in her community and breathing belief into those she is mentoring. Mindy has volunteered with her community for years including Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce and her church on the women's ministry leadership team, leading a women's ministry for 14 years and most recently leading a women's small group. 

 

Having lead and then owned a  professional   networking   organization for 9 years, Mindy understands everything that goes on behind the scenes... and she loves it! Mindy's professional background includes two college degrees -  graduating with honors. 14 years in the insurance industry, 19 years in direct sales and 9 years as small business owner. Mindy has trained hundreds of sales reps and has had the privilege of leading workshops including "How To Effectively Brand Yourself" with the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

Mindy owns a Small Business, Sterling Rose Marketing and Communications. She couldn't do what she does with her amazing team of professionals helping her! 

Mindy has been married to Chris, since May 2000. Together they have two grown sons, and after re-locating closer to Lake Michigan a couple years ago, Mindy couldn't be happier!

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Meet HQ

Meet the support that helps each member and guest. This team helps to keep the Network running smoothly! Having HQ in place is a big difference for what sets us apart from other networking groups. We give full support to the Teams which provides; processing applications, answering emails, assisting members and guests, member training and marketing. 

 

Our goal is for less leadership meetings, less decision making, less time altogether spent on processes. So you as Network Lead can focus on your Team, building your business, mentoring members and creating a referral base through the Paratus Network. 

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MINDY COOK

Founder

Mindy Cook is the Founder of Paratus Network and  oversees all operations of the Network. She executes marketing for Teams and the Network. 

Her passion for connecting professionals, educating on various business topics and creating a space where members can mentor and share with each other. 

Mindy also owns her own small business, Sterling Rose Marketing And Communications, which focuses on social media management, consulting and design. 

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CHELSEA HERRIMAN

HQ Director

Chelsea helps the Founder with the running of the Network and oversees the Teams, processes and client care for our Members. 

Chelsea has been in the corporate event world for over 20 years. She has worked with all types and sizes of organizations from non-profit to multi million dollar corporations. Chelsea has a passion for customer service and for combining her expertise with her clients desires to create an amazing event experience.

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SIMONE VANDERLAAN

Bookkeeper

Simone helps with bookkeeping and invoicing. As a fellow entrepreneur has a thorough business background

 

Simone owns a virtual bookkeeping firm, Go Figure Financial. She graduated with her master’s degree in accounting and has experience in bookkeeping, taxes, and non-profit organizations. She loves working with small businesses and sharing the successes with each of her clients.

Simone understands the difficulty of trying to keep up with your company’s books while running your business. She helps alleviate the stress of keeping your books in order while helping you achieve your business goals. 

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EMILY ARMSTRONG

Website/Design Consultant

Emily helps with updating the website and keeping our brand strong and unique to our Network! 

 

Emily, owns Starling Memory Designs and is a self-made, one-woman show, who applies a practical no-frills approach to brand development.  Quite often referred to as a 'blue-collar designer’, Emily is committed to offering quality services, within a more realistic and economical price point than most larger-scale design agencies.

 

Emily cleverly applies this experience to her creative work – building long lasting partnerships with her clients, and guiding them through their brand development process every step of the way.