We Are ONE

April 16, 2014 at 10:31 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

billie_dragooAs women business owners, change is a constant. We’ve learned to embrace it in all its uncertainty. We’ve used it to learn valuable life and business lessons and grow stronger. We’ve even become change agents in our own lives and organizations.

As a few of the world’s greatest change agents have so eloquently put it:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” —Maya Angelou

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” —George Bernard Shaw

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” —Steve Jobs

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” —Margaret Mead

In this spirit of embracing change and strengthening and growing, NAWBO National is proud to launch an exciting change in our communications. In recent years, we have seen a shift for women in business. This is not our grandmother’s era, or even our mother’s. Today’s women entrepreneurs have real role models. We believe we can do it our own way. We have experience and confidence. We see entrepreneurism as a preferred way of life. We are trailblazing new leadership styles and workplace appearances. And we want to use our success to speak out and give back.

Being a woman business owner today is no longer just about business, but about a combination and delicate balance of:

Your Business + Your Lifestyle + Your Community = The Whole Professional You

April_14_EblastWe’ve begun to introduce this new “whole” approach in our Women’s Business Conference (September 8-9, 2014, in Indianapolis) communications. Now, you will find it in this premier issue of our new monthly e-publication: NAWBO ONE (which replaces NAWBO Focus and Happening Now for chapters and members). You will also see ONE MORE eblasts that link back to fresh content later in the month—one for everyone and one exclusively for NAWBO chapter leaders.

As part of this shift, we are inviting our community to submit timely, well-written articles, or ideas for articles, for consideration (to publications@nawbo.org). After all, we are one strong community of women entrepreneurs and our supporters, and we want your e-publication to reflect that. We are open to articles about anything of interest and value to women entrepreneurs right now. These might include, but are not limited to, access to capital, managing cash flow, tax planning, business logistics, legislation and advocacy, health care, print and digital marketing, personal branding, business health and lifestyle, strategic planning, environmental concerns/efforts, next generation entrepreneurship, managing different generations, mentoring, hiring, recruiting and more.

We hope you will spend a little extra time this month reading through this premier issue. It has something for everyone, and something of value for your business, your lifestyle and your community…the whole professional you!

Enjoy!

 

—Billie Dragoo, NAWBO National Chair and Interim CEO

 

What Do Women Business Owners Think?

March 11, 2014 at 4:44 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their friends, and when I take a look at NAWBO and the “friends” that surround us in support of our mission and vision—corporate partners like Chase, UPS, Walmart, Sam’s Club, American Express, Wells Fargo, Southwest Airlines and many others—I believe they say a lot about NAWBO.

One of these partners is Web.com, which provides a full range of Internet services to small businesses to help them compete and succeed online. Web.com partnered with NAWBO last year to ask women business owners what they thought about their businesses, the overall economy, their main concerns (taxes, health care, etc.) and social media usage. The responses were tremendous and the results insightful.

This year, we’re proud to have Web.com back—once again asking what women business owners think about the issues of greatest importance to them. In this issue of Focus, as well as on our website, our social media pages and in a joint press release with Web.com, you can read all about the key highlights of this year’s survey results.

For example, women business owners are universally optimistic about their 2014 business outlook, and as such, they plan to invest even more in their social media and web presences. That’s great news, considering the fact that the 8.6 million women-owned businesses today are the fastest growing segment of the economy, and a successful online presence is one of the key drivers of success in today’s digital world.

There are a few other exciting things happening across NAWBO this month as well. March and April mark our Annual Membership Drive, and as every NAWBO member knows, there are tremendous benefits that come with NAWBO membership. Every woman entrepreneur, in every industry, can benefit from the inspiration, knowledge, resources and opportunities she will receive through NAWBO. I encourage you to tell your women entrepreneur friends, especially a next generation woman business owner, about how NAWBO has impacted you and your business. NAWBO already has thousands of amazing, accomplished women among our members, but there’s always room for more!

Lastly, we have some exciting changes on the horizon with NAWBO’s communications. Our approach is shifting next month to focus on powering the “whole professional you.” This will mean a brand-new e-magazine, and further down the road, a new website. Our hope is to provide you with everything you need to be your absolute best as a woman business owner.

—Billie Dragoo, NAWBO National Chair and Interim CEO

 

Your Voice and Resource For Fairness and Equity

February 10, 2014 at 10:16 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In a few short weeks, on March 1st, NAWBO will launch its annual spring membership drive. During this time, you’ll hear from NAWBO National, our 60-plus chapters and thousands of NAWBO sisters across the U.S. about the immense benefits of NAWBO membership; how it’s connected them to a sisterhood, to valuable resources and savings, to targeted, timely learning opportunities and more. Of all the benefits, though, perhaps the greatest remains simply being part of the 39-year-strong organization that is the voice of women entrepreneurs—the thoughtful, reputable voice that has spoken out and fought long and hard for equity and fairness in business, and continues to do so every day.

One of the areas in which NAWBO’s voice has been strongest is with both state and federal procurement opportunities. As part of NAWBO’s largest chapter in the country, NAWBO-Indianapolis, I’ve worked firsthand with my NAWBO sisters to make sure both women- and minority-owned businesses receive their fair share. The result of our collective voice and effort is that women-owned businesses have won more contracts for major projects, including the Indianapolis International Airport and the JW Marriott Indianapolis (where you’ll fly in and stay when you join us for this year’s NAWBO Women’s Business Conference on September 8-9, 2014, in Indianapolis!).

At the national level, NAWBO played a critical role in the achievement of the 5 percent federal procurement goal for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) as well as other steps designed to assure WOSBs receive their fair share of federal contracts and contract dollars. Failure to achieve the 5 percent goal has been costing WOSBs an average of $5 billion in lost contract dollars each year. There have been great gains for WOSBs since the final rule and then implementation of the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Procurement Program in 2011. However, despite the progress, the National Women’s Business Council’s (NWBC) latest research and infographic from late 2013 show that the average award remains lower than those of other small businesses that are not women-owned. Highlights of this latest research include:

• WOSBs generally received an increasing share of contracts and awards, not only within the 83 designated industries but in other industries as well. However, although WOSBs are generally meeting the contract threshold within the 83 industries, they remain underrepresented in terms of awards share.

• Average WOSB awards remain lower than those of other small businesses. The number of industries in which the WOSB share of awards is greater than the WOSB share of contracts remains low, indicating that on average, WOSBs are earning less money per contract than non-WOSBs in the majority of industries.

• Consistent with general procurement trends for WOSBs, vendors with more longevity and stability (i.e., receiving contracts in multiple fiscal years) were able to secure a larger portion of contracts through the use of the WOSB and EDWOSB (for economically disadvantaged) set-asides. However, almost half of all WOSB vendors received contracts only in a single fiscal year, indicating a high rate of turnover.

As NAWBO continues to be a preeminent voice in the area of procurement opportunities, we are proud to bring you a new resource that we’ve developed with trusted partners to help you in achieving your “fair share.” The NAWBO Edition of Braddock’s The Winning Edge: How Government and Corporate Buyers Select a Small Business Supplier • 2014 Edition is now available! Braddock’s The Winning Edge is a practical guide, providing important insights into the decision-making process within the government and large corporations, with an emphasis on the evaluation and selection stages. This special edition, published by Braddock Communications, Inc., will be available for all NAWBO members to download exclusively on the NAWBO website thanks to the generous sponsorship of Microsoft Corporation. Click here to download.

Remember, to qualify for WOSB set-asides, a firm has to be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more female U.S. citizens, and firms have to be certified ahead of time. You can find out more about certification on the SBA’s website, here. Also, be sure to ask your NAWBO sisters whose businesses are certified about their experiences and insights—yet another important benefit of a NAWBO membership!

—Billie Dragoo, National Board Chair and Interim CEO

Why Belonging Is Important

January 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As humans, we have a natural, fundamental need to belong—to one another, to our friends and family, to our culture, to our community and to our world. That’s because belonging makes us feel like, good or bad, we’re not in this alone; we’re in it together with a powerful support system wanting to see us happy, healthy, motivated and successful.

As we begin this New Year, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for women entrepreneurs—at any stage of business growth, whether you’re a start-up working from a home office or running a multi million-dollar company—to belong to an organization like NAWBO. One of the greatest member benefits we offer is a support system of amazing, talented women with shared interests and aspirations who are experiencing similar challenges and opportunities, or have the hindsight of having faced these before. They are here for, and genuinely interested in, bringing you up, mentoring and offering sound ideas and advice.

During the first quarter of the year, NAWBO will hold its annual spring membership drive. Imagine the impact we could create, and its ripple effect, if we each gave a friend or daughter who is an entrepreneur the gift of belonging. When you consider all of the following exclusive NAWBO member benefits, it’s very powerful:

  • Belong to an organization that is completely focused on strengthening and furthering women’s entrepreneurship
  • Interact with members at the annual national conference and at a number of local events and forums throughout the year that bring together members and experts on the most current and inspiring topics
  • Access information to help you manage and build your business from a trusted source with a number of communications platforms (eblasts, e-publications, website, social media channels and more)
  • Engage in driving an agenda in Washington, D.C., and state capitals that advances opportunities for women entrepreneurs; also, be empowered to make a difference by advocating in your local community
  • Tap into an extensive network of like-minded women both in a NAWBO chapter as well as nationally and even around the globe to collaborate on challenges and opportunities, share resources and even do business together
  • Impart your knowledge to the next generation of women business owners to ensure that women-owned enterprises continue to out-pace, out-perform and fuel economic growth
  • Give back to your community of women business owners by taking advantage of the many opportunities to serve in a volunteer leadership role within NAWBO, either at the chapter or national level
  • Gain extensive and oftentimes exclusive, knowledge, tools and resources from NAWBO’s community of supporters, including corporate, affinity, affiliate and media partners

As we move full speed ahead into 2014, I hope you will do two things. First, consider your own NAWBO membership and whether you are taking advantage of all the benefits available to you. If not, resolve to get more involved this year. Secondly, tell another women entrepreneur, or two or three, why you are a NAWBO member and how they can benefit from belonging.

Lastly, you may have noticed a new logo on this month’s blog. That’s because NAWBO has been selected as a winner of Broadview Network’s 2013 Best Blogs for Entrepreneurs Award and is now featured on the site as a recommended entrepreneurial resource for readers. You can check out the complete list of Best Blogs here. It’s a great communication that I’m proud to bring to you each month—and of course, another benefit of belonging.

—Billie Dragoo, National Board Chair and Interim CEO

STEPPING OUT

December 9, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do the holidays and year-end feel like they come sooner every year? Research shows there’s actually a reason for this. When we are younger, we constantly experience and learn new things that take time to anticipate and process. As adults, we have often “been there, done that,” and aren’t as willing to step out of our comfort zones to try new things. Yet, doing so is critically important for an organization like NAWBO and for the thousands of women business owners we serve.

This year, I am proud to look back and say that NAWBO stepped out. In 2013, we introduced new events, like our e-learning webinar series that was so well received and that delivered timely information on topics like health care reform to women entrepreneurs around the country. We brought on new corporate partners that have introduced exciting expertise and resources to our community. Also, we focused on providing even more benefits, tools and training to our chapters and leaders. In fact, our NAWBO Leadership Training portion of this year’s Women’s Business Conference was one of our most successful conference events to date.

Two initiatives that I have been working on this year are the YEA! program and MentorCloud. YEA! is a groundbreaking yearlong program that transforms middle and high school students into entrepreneurs. The students generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors and launch their own companies. Several chapters have launched the YEA! program, including NAWBO-Indianapolis, in my hometown.

The second initiative is a partnership with MentorCloud that we’re working to roll out in the first quarter of 2014. Mentoring is such an important component of NAWBO, and one of the key drivers of success for entrepreneurs. Through MentorCloud’s global mentoring network, NAWBO members will be able to tap into a cloud-based platform to collaborate and support one another to grow. They will connect as subject-matter experts, mentors, mentees and peers around their goals as well as areas of mutual interest. Stay tuned for details in the weeks ahead!

This past week, your NAWBO National Board met to discuss how we can step out even more in 2014 to strengthen and grow our entire organization, from National to our chapters around the country. As an organization that is now in its 38th year, one of the greatest challenges we face is remaining relevant and delivering exceptional value to not only our current member demographics, but also to the next generation of women entrepreneurs. We know that women of all ages have limited time and many choices. We’d like to give them even more reasons to choose NAWBO in 2014 and beyond. And that will require us to step out.

As you enjoy all the hard work and celebration this month will no doubt bring, I hope you will spend a moment thinking about how you’ve stepped out to perhaps enter a new market, start a new venture or promote your company in a fresh way, how it’s made a difference and how you plan to build on this success in 2014. On behalf of the NAWBO National Board of Directors and staff, I’d also like to wish you a happy holiday season and a New Year filled with health, happiness and success.

—Billie Dragoo, NAWBO National Chair and Interim CEO

NAWBO Boards Are Great Places For Servant Leaders

November 8, 2013 at 9:55 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

At last month’s NAWBO Women’s Business Conference, our current, past and incoming presidents were invited to stay on through Saturday for a very special event in their honor. We had invited Joe Iarocci, CEO of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, there to speak to our own servant leaders that drive the success of NAWBO through their passion and excellence.

If you’re not familiar with the servant leadership philosophy and practices that have been proven to enrich lives, build better organizations and create a more caring world, the term was introduced in 1970 by Robert K. Greenleaf in his essay The Servant as Leader. “The servant leader is servant first,” he wrote. “It begins with a natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then a conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” Since then, the philosophy and practices have been embraced and written about by everyone from Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Peter Senge and M. Scott Peck, to Margaret Wheatley, Ann McGee-Cooper & Duane Trammell, Larry Spears and Kent Keith.

Here at NAWBO—in our national organization and in chapters across the country—we are always looking for servant leaders who are focused on the growth and well-being of our community and its members; women who can share power, put the needs of others first and help women—and their companies—perform at the highest levels possible.

At the national level, our nominations committee has put out an official call for nominations for the NAWBO Board of Directors for the term of 2014-2016. The following are the leadership attributes and qualifications we are seeking:

  • MEMBERSHIP: Is a NAWBO voting member in good standing.
  • SERVICE: Has proven history of service and commitment to NAWBO—at the local and/or national level.
  • EXPERIENCE: Is an experienced board member with history of service on other national boards of nonprofit or membership organizations.
  • VISION: Has the ability to see the big picture, and to help develop strategy and policy to help the organization achieve its mission.
  • STEWARDSHIP: Has the ability to serve and promote the interests of the organization and the women’s business community at large.
  • INTEGRITY: Has the discretion to maintain confidentiality of board discussions and speaks with one voice when representing the organization to the community, even when in disagreement with majority decisions.
  • KNOWLEDGE: Possesses knowledge and understanding of the issues and concerns of women business owners, and has the commitment to stay informed and knowledgeable on all pertinent issues that impact our members.
  • ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Has the willingness to become thoroughly familiar with the mission and how the organization actually carries out the mission day-to-day through its organizational structure and operations.
  • PERSONAL COMMITMENT: Is willing to take time and make the effort needed to fulfill director responsibilities: including understanding strategic, financial and operational issues facing the organization; and engaging personally and directly with the organization whether through financial support, advocacy, networking, personal service or other support activities.
  • COLLEGIALITY: Has the ability to work well with others and to show respect for the ideas and views of fellow board members and staff; with the full understanding that boards operate as a body.
  • DIVERSITY: Represents a diverse segment of the women business community and has deep resources and connections in the business community.
  • FINANCIAL COMMITMENT: Possesses financial resources and capacity to make a personal contribution or bring in a sponsorship of $5,000 or more annually to the organization.
  • MEETING ATTENDANCE: Is willing to commit personal time and resources to attend all board meetings, including travel expenses. Missing more than two (2) consecutive board meetings may result in disciplinary action and/or removal from the Board.

You may learn more about the board position and access the NAWBO National Bylaws by clicking on the links below:

NAWBO Board of Director Position Description

NAWBO National Bylaws

To be considered, nomination materials must be submitted no later than December 8, 2013. CLICK HERE to complete and submit the online Nominations Form. You will also be asked to email to nominations@nawbo.org the candidate’s most current resume or bio and headshot and any supporting documents that support candidacy. If you have questions, please contact the nominations committee at nominations@nawbo.org.

As a longtime Indianapolis chapter board member, current National Chair and Interim CEO, I can tell you just how rewarding it’s been to serve NAWBO. I have been able to have meaningful conversations, effect change and open new doors that have positively impacted tens of thousands of women entrepreneurs, and in turn, my own business. If you qualify or know of someone who does, I hope you will consider this tremendous opportunity.

—Billie Dragoo, NAWBO National Chair and Interim CEO

Celebrating 25 Years of a Landmark Legislation

October 24, 2013 at 10:09 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A 25-year anniversary is something to celebrate—especially when it’s the anniversary of a landmark piece of legislation that ushered in a transformation in women’s enterprise development.

Today, NAWBO celebrates HR 5050, also known as the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988. This legislation led to an explosion in women’s entrepreneurship as women could finally take out their own busines loans. Before that, their hubands, fathers, sons—or any male relative for that matter—had to co-sign. HR 5050 was also the beginning of the Women’s Business Center program and National Women’s Business Council as well as the start of the U.S. Census Bureau finally including C Corporations when collecting and counting data on women-owned firms. It was truly transformational for women business owners then and now. In fact, for the past two-and-a-half decades since then, women-owned businesses have continued to grow at nearly twice the rate of all businesses.

To mark this special occasion, NAWBO has issued a media release highlighting the new wave of women’s entrepreneurship ushered in by HR 5050’s changes as well as the instrumental role NAWBO played in its passage. We have included this release in this October issue of Focus. Young women today—whether they are our daughters or young women entrepreneurs we are helping to mentor—may not realize what the women before them faced in opening and growing their own businesses. We want them to know how far we have come, and what still remains to be done, since they will be the ones to carry on this important cause in the future, on their own and as members of NAWBO.

In this spirit, I ask you to take time out of your busy schedule to do one thing today: Talk to a young woman in business about HR 5050 and its impact. As Virginia Littlejohn, who was part of the NAWBO leadership team who helped the House Small Business Committee organize the HR 5050 hearings, says, “Women business owners today are often shocked to hear about the challenges their predecessors faced only 25 years ago.”

Also, in the weeks ahead, I encourage you to find and use your public policy voice. HR 5050 created a powerful voice for women entrepreneurs across the U.S. It’s because of this legislation that I have a thoughtful, professional voice in my home state of Indiana, where I have worked tirelessly to ensure minority and women-owned businesses received their fair share of procurement opportunities with projects like the Indianapolis International Airport, Lucas Oil Stadium and JW Marriott Indianapolis, as well as at the national level in Washington, DC.

Here’s to another 25 years of this landmark legislation! Let us not forget how far we have come and continue to mentor and encourage the young women following in our footsteps.


—Billie Dragoo, NAWBO National Chair and Interim CEO

Touching The Next Generation

August 12, 2013 at 12:41 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As successful women entrepreneurs, it’s an honor and an obligation to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs, especially young women and girls. YEA! (The Young Entrepreneurs Academy) that is redefining entrepreneurship education in America presents a tremendous opportunity to do just that.

YEA! is a groundbreaking afterschool program that transforms middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs. Through the yearlong program, students in grades 6th-12th generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors and launch their very own companies. YEA! offers the students exciting local business guest lecturers and dynamic field trips to local companies. Students learn how to develop and run a real enterprise in a fun, projects-based approach. They start the program as students and end up as CEOs!

YEA! was developed in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Today, it is in communities nationwide. The results speak for themselves:

  • 100% of Academy graduates graduate high school on time
  • 99% of Academy graduates enroll in college
  • 19% of YEA! students start second businesses
  • 50% of YEA! students continue businesses for more than one year
  • 49% of YEA! students are female
  • 56% of YEA! students are underrepresented minorities
  • 42% of YEA! students matriculate to the college that hosted their program
  • YEA! students have been awarded over $1 million in scholarships as a result of their involvement in YEA!
  • 1,384 students have graduated from YEA! and have launched 1,093 enterprises

As NAWBO National Chair and past president of the largest NAWBO chapter in the nation, NAWBO-Indianapolis, I am thrilled to share with you that NAWBO will be getting more involved with YEA! The Indianapolis chapter has already identified its host site and is recruiting students! It’s my goal for every NAWBO chapter to embrace the program because it’s really a win-win-win: for our chapters, for their communities and for the next generation of entrepreneurs!

NAWBO chapters partnering with YEA! is a tremendous way to enhance our mission and brand while carrying out our strategic iniatives. We will be elevating our communities and sustaining our relationships with corporate partners by supporting diversity initiatives. We will have the opportunity to become better connected with our city and state chambers, who are also involved in YEA!. The important relationships NAWBO chapters will forge while building a successful YEA! program in their communities will not only further entrepreneurship and promote economic growth, but also will help NAWBO connect with local universities that serve as the program host site. And that’s not to mention the fact that a YEA! partnership also gives our members something to be proud of and puts NAWBO front and center with innovative, talented, entrepreneurial young girls—the next generation of NAWBO members.

I first met Gayle Jagel, founder and CEO of YEA!, at the U.S. Small Business Summit in Washington DC. Her absolute commitment to developing this young generation of entrepreneurs inspired me to join the cause. Gayle will join us once again at this year’s NAWBO Women’s Business Conference, October 3-5 in Miami. I hope you’ll register to join us for this must-attend event and plan to hear Gayle speak. Ask her how your chapter can get involved with YEA!

—Billie Dragoo, NAWBO National Chair

It’s Clear: Women Make Great Leaders

July 11, 2013 at 11:40 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A blog in the Harvard Business Review (March 2012) by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman confirms what we, as women business owners, already know: women make great leaders. It’s clear here at NAWBO and in companies worldwide.

The blog was based on the authors’ survey data of 7,280 leaders in some of the most successful and progressive organizations in the world—public and private, government and commercial, domestic and international. The leaders were evaluated by their peers, bosses and direct reports on overall effectiveness as well as in 16 competencies shown to be most important to effectiveness—taking initiative, developing others, inspiring and motivating, pursuing their own development and more.

While the majority of leaders are still men, and the higher the leadership level, the more men there are, women score better in all but one of the 16 competencies, and in 12 of the 16, women score significantly better. These include stereotypical areas—“nurturing” competencies like developing others, building relationships, exhibiting integrity and engaging in self-development—but also in areas not traditionally considered female strengths—including taking initiative and driving for results.

At NAWBO, I have seen just how great women leaders are through our members and partners and our own board leadership. July marks a time of transition throughout our organization as NAWBO National and our chapters welcome new board members. It’s exciting to see what we have achieved throughout the past year and the two years I have been in this role, and to look at future opportunities and possibilities. I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to those who gave their passion, time, talent and resources during 2012-2013. I’d also like to congratulate the 2013-2014 board members who were installed today in Indianapolis. In this issue of Focus, you’ll meet new National Board Chair Billie Dragoo, who helped to build NAWBO’s largest chapter in the United States, NAWBO-Indianapolis, as well as her own a premier health care industry business, RepuCare.

As you know, this is also a time of transition for me personally as I prepare to leave my role of President and CEO at NAWBO this month. Some of the most amazing moments from the past two years I will take with me are of the tremendous women leaders I have engaged and collaborated with at NAWBO, in our corporate and affiliate partner companies and in Washington, DC. Your stories have inspired me, and will continue to, as I take this next step in my own leadership journey.

Naturally, “Women in Leadership” is also a major focus of the NAWBO Women’s Business Conference this October in Miami. We will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of H.R. 5050, legislation that NAWBO played a key role in passing, and weaving it through our keynotes and breakout sessions to help you become an even better leader and grow your business as a result. If you aren’t yet registered, we have extended Early Bird Registration until July 15th to give you more time to save $50 and automatically enter to win roundtrip airfare to and from Miami on Southwest Airlines. Register now at http://nawbo.org/section_231.cfm.

Dr. Zenger, who co-wrote the Harvard Business Review blog, believes much of the success of women in leadership has to do with a change in style from command-and-control to more collaborative models that may play to our strengths. Women are better listeners, better at building relationships and more collaborative, which Dr. Zenger says allows us to better adapt to the demands of modern leadership. What do you think? What’s made you a successful woman leader? I’d love to hear from you!

—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO

Celebrating Equal Pay and Small Business

June 10, 2013 at 2:45 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This morning, I was honored to stand among an audience of almost entirely women in the East Room of the White House to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. Here, President Obama recognized the gains we’ve made in the past five decades and the gender wage disparities that still remain (women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men). “This is the 21st century,” President Obama said. “It’s time to close that gap.”

BlogPhotoAs part of this, President Obama also spoke about the role small business plays in helping women get equal pay. Our nation’s small businesses that employ less than 100 people and are known for their creativity, innovation, independence and resilience now account for half our nation’s workforce, including those who own them and the employees who work for them. They also create two out of every three new jobs.

President Obama’s remarks were timed perfectly as the week of June 17th marks the 50th  anniversary of National Small Business Week. Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing this special week recognizing and honoring the vital contributions of small business.

The U.S. Small Business Administration  (SBA) who watches out for and supports our nation’s small businesses takes this opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners and others from around the country. For 2013, this is happening through a series of events held in major cities on different dates, including:

  • Seattle: June 17
  • Dallas: June 18
  • St. Louis: June 19
  • Pittsburgh: June 20
  • Washington, DC: June 21

To learn more about these events or find an event in your area celebrating small business, visit: http://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw.

With small businesses making up nearly 90 percent of NAWBO’s membership, we are proud to so clearly mirror the success of small business within our own community and of our work to further this success. In a recent op-ed piece for CNBC.com, I joined together with Beth Solomon, President and CEO of the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), to announce our partnership, the Women’s Small Business Lending Initiative. We will be working to bring capital access options and training to more women small business owners through the nation’s network of 270 Certified Development Companies, SBA Loans and SBA Women’s Business Centers. If you missed the article, you can read it here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100727457. Stay tuned for more announcements and results from this exciting partnership.

NAWBO’s community of supporters, specifically our corporate partners, are also supporting small businesses and giving them the knowledge and resources to thrive. American Express, for instance, was the first company in the financial services sector to create a team and a business unit dedicated to serving small businesses and offering small business-specific products. American Express OPEN is also the force behind Small Business Saturday, the grassroots event that encourages shopping at local small businesses on the Saturday after Black Friday each November. Meanwhile, our partners at Walmart are supporting small businesses worldwide with the launch of their Empowering Women Together initiative. It offers shoppers more than 200 items from 19 businesses—all small, women-owned businesses—in nine countries. Also, according to Fox Business Small Business Center, our partners at Wells Fargo have set the goal to increase lending to women-owned small businesses to $55 billion by 2020. And that’s just the beginning of what our partners are doing to help.

This month, I hope you’ll take time as a small business owner, a big business owner or an employee of either to participate in an event in your city or just to shop at some of your local small businesses. These businesses are the backbone of America, and without them, there would be no economic growth and certainly no NAWBO.

—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO

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