Diana Bourgeois

High Powered Heels

Like so many islanders, Diana and her husband discovered Hilton Head as vacationers. "Before the vacation ended, I told Ronnie it was time to pack our bags - all of them," Diana said. Four months after completing their move from upstate South Carolina, Networking in High Heels was born. NiHH was Diana's brainchild driven by her belief that "women are powerful beyond measure."

Her passion to promote women in business may have evolved over a period of years, but it has recently transformed into a magical Cinderella story in a matter of months. The grassroots group now boasts a membership of hundreds and holds monthly meetings in Bluffton and Hilton Head. Local women are making valuable connections both locally and around the world. Diana is often asked, "Why high heels?" The answer is simple. "High heels are a power symbol. When a woman puts on a great pair of heels, she feels as if she could conquer the world. Besides," Diana added, "I love high heels!"

One could say NiHH has an older sister. In 2006, Diana started a company called Magic Marketing USA, which specializes in planning and executing high level marketing initiatives for businesses of all sizes. This is where Diana brings companies exposure through social media marketing and online networking.

Some people mistakenly believe that NiHH is a group of "man haters" because the group caters to women exclusively. In truth, NiHH has nothing at all to do with feelings towards men. The fact is women network differently. Diana knows that when women get together they find ways to build business, cure social ills and mentor other women. "It's very natural for women to share resources and expertise," Diana explained.

But the goodness doesn't stop there. NiHH reaches out to the community to help fight domestic abuse, breast cancer and hunger. Diana hopes to extend the group's influence into our schools where seasoned women can get involved in grooming the next generation.

If one were to identify a starting point of inspiration for NiHH, Diana would have to say it came when she worked in a male-dominated industry as a marketing manager. This is when she became acutely aware that women lacked valuable business connections and role models. Diana was fortunate to have had a mentor guide her from eager college student to savvy businesswoman. "I also came from a family where business start-ups were accepted, if not expected," Diana said. She and her older brother, Allen, often share and swap business theories.

Her advice to women in business is to get out there and network. "At Networking in High Heels, I offer hands-on seminars on Power Networking and Giving Elevator Speeches, for example. I want women to know you don't have to be born with a talent for networking. You can learn it," Diana stated.

Diana's plans include establishing three new chapters of NiHH by the end of the year. She also wants to start a YouTube TV channel to help women hone their skills and make connections. After that, she has a vision for a BlogTalk Radio show that will showcase women in the network. Naturally, multiplying efforts and spreading good news is in her DNA. And if she wins Marriott's Fairfield's Road to Success Contest (NiHH is one of ten finalists), she will be even better equipped to handle the work. The question is, will she use the $20,000 prize for a well-deserved vacation, or will she reinvest money in her company? Facebook her to find out.

Up Close:

Greatest Accomplishment:
Married 22 years to high school sweetheart, Ronnie Bourgeois
Number Of Facebook Friends: 1,026
Reading: The Female Brand - Using the Female Mindset to Succeed in Business by Catherine Kaputa and What Got You Here Won't Get You There - How Successful People Get Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith
Favorite Quote: "At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Pets: Dogs - Beaux and Bonnie Bleu
Pulls For: LSU Tigers, New Orleans Saints
Hometown: Zachary, LA