Women are drawn to Bonnie Ross-Parker like a magnet. Whether her engaging smile, the confidence in her walk or her spunky footwear, strangers repeatedly compliment her, oftentimes pulling up a chair to start a conversation. No surprise there, considering Ross-Parker has built her career from a talent for connecting with others.
With her husband and Chief Operating Offcer Phil Parker beside her, she founded Xperience Connections (formerly the Joy of Connecting). Dedicated to entrepreneurial women, XC is designed to ensure comfortable yet effective opportunities to foster business growth, referrals and friendships.
“Women today want to chart their own course,” Ross-Parker said. What began 13 years ago as a weekly mentoring group has now touched the lives of 3,500 women in Atlanta and more than 12,500 nationwide. That number will keep growing, thanks to a new partnership with the Professional Women’s Business Network.
One of her first connections was her nominator, Illona Cardona. Milliner and owner of A Tisket A Tasket Hat Shoppe in Roswell, Cardona wrote in her nomination, “Bonnie has faith in you even when you have the faith of an acorn seed in yourself. She believes you can grow into a mighty oak.”
Being memorableis just one of the many savvy ideas in Ross-Parker’s book, “Walk in My Boots.” Her personal collection of unique, colorful cowgirl boots — her sole choice in footwear for more than 20 years — literally, have their own story, but perhaps the most inspiring part of her journey is what lies ahead.
Ross-Parker, who lost her son to a rare tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, knows all too well how to stay strong, and despite the recent diagnosis of breast cancer, remains determined to maintain both her pace and spunk.
“I want to do everything I can to make the most of this time.” As she celebrates her 70th birthday this month and undergoes chemotherapy, she continues to “keep calm and cowgirl on.”
Hair and makeup by Studio NV Salon | Navajo dress from Bohemia | Shane Co. sterling silver diamond-cut bead necklace; sterling silver smoky quartz and diamond pendant, earrings and ring; sterling silver smoky quartz bracelet