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South Shore natives aim to bond businesswomen

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Three women who attended high school on the South Shore of Long Island, including a pair from the Five Towns, are aiming to make a difference for businesswomen with their new organization.

Lawrence High School graduate Amanda Hall, class of 1998, is the co-founder of Girls With Goals Who Give, along with Lisa Friesel, a Merrick native who graduated from John F. Kennedy High in Bellmore, class of 1999. She now lives in Syosset.

Established in October, the group seeks to create and foster meaningful connections for entrepreneurial women by connecting them with like-minded businesswomen. Hewlett High School alumna Stephanie Paradiso, class of 2007, serves as the director of business development. Jaclyn DeJesus is the director of marketing and Jess Ford is the director of events.

Another primary goal for the women is to raise money for not-for-profit organizations and have businesswomen network at quarterly events. Two events have been held so far, according to Hall, with the most recent one taking place in Englewood, New Jersey on April 1 where GWGWG raised money for the Bergen Family Center. “It went well and we raised a couple of thousand dollars for the center,” she said. “It’s important to give back and get to know the charities in our communities.”

For Hall and Paradiso, their desire to be entrepreneurs began in their younger days growing up in the Five Towns. “Being the youngest of four children, I was naturally independent with my thoughts and actions during my youth,” Hall said. “My dad was also an entrepreneur so that definitely inspired me.”

Friesel has known Hall since 1989, meeting at summer camp. They have been business partners for the past seven years. Friesel noted how fortunate she is to work with fellow women entrepreneurs in Hall and Paradiso. “I feel like the luckiest person in the world to work with such great entrepreneurs in Stephanie [Paradiso] and Amanda [Hall],” Friesel said. “We have a level of respect for each other and that is why we work well together.”

Paradiso grew up in Woodmere and now lives in Gibson with her husband and their 2-year-old daughter. In the past, she’s been in business near the Five Towns, as she owned Femmena Dress Boutique on Atlantic Avenue in Lynbrook from June 2012 until it closed in March 2015.

Hall has lived in Bergen County, New Jersey with her husband and their three kids since 2008. Although she has not lived in Lawrence for more than a decade, she still notes the positive impact the community had on her. “Lawrence and the Five Towns area in general was a great place to grow up in because of the cross-section of cultures within the community,” she said.

Hall said the organization’s next event will be in Manhattan on July 9, while the following event will be held on Long Island. Friesel noted why it is important to hold these events. “Sometimes as entrepreneurs, we isolate ourselves and don’t have community with each other,” Friesel said. “There is a great synergy at these events that allow women entrepreneurs to collaborate with each other and create a sense of community.”

For more information, go to girlswithgoalswhogive.com.