NAWBO has long been outspoken about the importance of achieving the 5 percent Federal procurement goal for women-owned small businesses. After all, failure to achieve this goal has been costing women business owners—one of the largest and fastest growing economic engines today—an average of $5 billion a year in lost contracts.
Over the years, we testified with WIPP before the House Committee on Small Business on issues related to access to capital for women- and minority-owned businesses. We participated in the Small Business Access to Capital Coalition, organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which advocated successfully for the passage of a bill addressing deficiencies in the methods used to calculate the federal cost of guaranteeing small business loans. We also opposed the elimination of federal subsidies for the SBA’s small business loan programs, which adversely affected participation of our members.
In fact, just a few days ago, I had the privilege of being featured in a co-op-ed piece with Beth Solomon, President and CEO of the National Association of Development Companies that appeared on CNBC.com. In it, we spoke to the important role of women business owners and how access to capital continues to be our biggest impediment. We also announced our organizations’ launch of a Women’s Small Business Lending Initiative that will bring capital access options and training to more women through the nation’s network of 270 Certified Development Companies, SBA Loans and SBA Women’s Business Centers. (In case you missed it, here’s the full article link: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100727457).
Understandably then, we are thrilled about last week’s announcement that an interim final rule—effective immediately—has amended regulations to the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, allowing for greater access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 signed in January.
This interim final rule removes the anticipated award price of contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) to allow greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size of the contract. Contracting officers will also now be able to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs at any dollar level that will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of 5 percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.
Additionally, the SBA is currently working on changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations. Prior to the rule change, the anticipated award price of the contract for WOSBs and EDWOSBs could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts. For more information on the Women-Owned Federal Small Business Contract Program, visit www.sba.gov/wosb.
The passage of HR 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, helped to pave the way for a rule like this. The legislation was key to boosting women entrepreneurs’ access to capital and led to a 30 percent surge in women’s business ownership nationwide. NAWBO played a critical role in its passage just 13 years after our organization was founded during a time when women were required to have male co-signers on everything from car to home to business loans. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to further equality and opportunity for women entrepreneurs, whether the issue is access to capital, increased federal procurement opportunities, affordable health care or fair and equitable tax treatment.
At this year’s NAWBO Women’s Business Conference, October 3-5 in Miami, Florida, we will be celebrating an anniversary of HR 5050 and the many achievements we have enjoyed being part of since then. The finalization of this rule will definitely be a part of that. I hope you will join us!
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
As an organization dedicated to the growth and success of women entrepreneurs, some of our greatest strengths are the best practices we share and leadership development opportunities we offer. These best practices provide new insights and fresh ideas that inspire the kind of bigger, bolder thinking it takes to thrive in today’s world. Meanwhile, the leadership development builds on the transformative leadership qualities (inspirational, positive role models, concerned about followers, empowering and push followers to be creative and take chances) that research has shown women, as a whole, to have more of than our counterparts.
The last week in March, we were proud to launch NAWBO’s new e-learning webinar series with Fabienne Fredrickson, multi-million-dollar entrepreneur and business mentor with ClientAttraction.com. Fabienne shared some terrific best practices during “The Breakthrough Mindset Secrets of Highly Successful Women in Business,” including “if you ask, it is always given in the form of an opportunity” and “if you want to succeed and get to the next level, you have to look on the inside.” Fabienne also said three things must be congruent to overcome obstacles holding you back and be successful as a woman business owner: your thoughts, beliefs and actions. If you were able to join us, I hope you’ll implement some of these practices in your own business. If you weren’t, stay tuned for details on our next one and don’t miss it. The series is free to NAWBO members and just $35 for non-members.
Another great opportunity to connect with best practices is at the upcoming America’s Small Business Summit 2013. On April 29-May 1 in Washington D.C., NAWBO is co-hosting this event for the second consecutive year with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Coalition. Join us, along with more than 600 small businesses and chamber and association executives from across the county, to network and learn from experts like Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and star of ABC’s reality hit Shark Tank who has invested in 31 young businesses she’s now shepherding to success; Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media; and Linda Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction Inc. Also, we’ll be advocating for pro-business policies that impact your own business success. It’s a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow, so I hope to see you there!
NAWBO also has an exciting leadership development opportunity coming up for chapter leaders. On May 7th in Newport Beach, California, we are holding our second Leadership Bootcamp for 2013. One of our top priorities as an organization is providing our chapters with the support they need to lead successfully. This can be a challenge with so many chapters spread out throughout the country and new leadership taking the helm each year. This Bootcamp teaches chapter leaders how to streamline their operations, improve their finances, grow their membership and much more, plus, it keeps everyone on the pulse of the latest NAWBO news and updates. This really is a must-attend for chapter leadership.
Later this year, NAWBO’s Women’s Business Conference is headed to Miami, Florida, with an exciting new theme “The World Awaits.” From keynotes to breakout sessions to networking in between, this event is all about best practices and leadership development. It offers something for every women business owner, so mark your calendar for October 3-5 and take advantage of the $50 savings now through June 30th during Early Bird Registration.
There’s so much happening every day as a woman business owner that it’s often hard to step back, reflect and listen to others. But that’s exactly what we need to be inspired to reach higher and wider—to reach our full potential as women business owners and leaders. I hope you’ll join us for at least one of these events, and that you’ll continue to share best practices on your own and look for ways to improve as a leader.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
NAWBO® is proud to celebrate National Women’s History Month in March and for our contributions to past milestones and for paving the way for even more success, specifically for women business owners.
When NAWBO was founded in 1975, women’s entrepreneurship looked very different than it does today. Women were required to have a male signature when applying for loans, purchasing cars or buying homes. It was during this time that 12 women in Washington, D.C. met to trade information about running their businesses and one year later incorporated as NAWBO.
As NAWBO, we organized a national network of chapters; attended White House Conferences on Small Business; testified before Congressional committees; participated in task forces and in small business groups; and more. In 1982, we held our first Women’s Business Conference in Houston, Texas. (This year, this same conference, albeit much larger, will be held October 3-5 in Miami, Florida!)
Still, a little more than a decade later, there was much progress to be made. NAWBO played a key role in the passage of HR 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act that was signed into law in 1988. Also known as the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, HR 5050 included these key components:
• Elimination of state laws requiring women to have a male relative co-sign on a business loan
• Requirement that the U.S. Census Bureau count all woman-owned companies
• Establishment of the Women’s Business Center program, funding local resource centers across the country
• Creation of the National Women’s Business Council, the body of women entrepreneurs and organizations that advises the President and Congress.
In the decades since, HR 5050 has led to a 30 percent surge in the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. It also created a policy voice for women entrepreneurs that hadn’t existed before and fuels the growth of women’s entrepreneurship even as we celebrate the legislation’s 25th anniversary in 2013.
NAWBO continues to speak out and support legislation that furthers women’s entrepreneurship today. In this issue of Focus, you’ll read how I have been asked to represent NAWBO and the voice of the growing number of women business owners in the U.S. on a new Commission on Political Reform. It was created by the Bipartisan Policy Center to understand the causes and consequences of America’s partisan political divide and to recommend reforms to help Americans achieve shared national goals.
You’ll also read about NAWBO’s exciting partnership with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and her LeanIn.org effort, a global community committed to offering women the encouragement and support to lean in to their ambitions. Today, March 11th, we are joined by more than 150 organizations as well as thought leaders across pop culture, business, politics and education to start this powerful community. NAWBO is leaning in because we know how much female entrepreneurs have to offer one another. We support Lean In’s mission to connect and support women by creating a community that fosters their ideas, and encourages them to reach their full potential.
Meanwhile, we have included details in this issue on how all NAWBO members can now participate in our monthly Public Policy Calls. In the past, these have been exclusively for NAWBO leaders to keep them up-to-date on issues and legislation that impacts our community of women-owned and small businesses. The calls have been so successful that we are extending the invitation to all members as another NAWBO National member benefit. Please join us in these important discussions.
National Women’s History Month is a natural time to highlight what we have helped to accomplish since 1975. While it’s exciting, making history continues to be our focus every month, and every day, and there’s certainly a lot of work left to further women entrepreneurs and their access to opportunities and resources.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
Optimistic people are found to be more successful because they believe in their efforts and are more willing to put in the work, and take the risks, needed to get there. That might mean a leg up this year for the NAWBO members who participated in a brand-new survey from NAWBO and Web.com.
I was proud to jointly unveil our ‘2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses’ survey and discuss the findings and the issues that continue to impact WBOs live on Twitter with Roseann Duran, Web.com’s executive vice president and chief people officer. If you missed our tweetchat, just search for #wbochat or #wgbiz from your Twitter account for a recap of the conversation.
Coming the day before President Obama’s State of the Union address, the timing was right to share what was on the minds of some of our members, who are representative of women business owners (WBOs) as a whole.
What’s most exciting about this survey is it reveals that even in these tough economic times, women entrepreneurs are optimistic about business opportunities for the year ahead. The results, for example, show a pervasive sense of economic optimism, including a prediction by most WBOs (85 percent) that more women will become entrepreneurs in 2013 than in past years. WBOs also plan to invest more (38 percent) or the same (54 percent) in hiring this year than they did in 2012, which should have a positive impact on the economy.
Other survey highlights include:
- WBOs are optimistic about their business’ overall performance (81 percent) for the year ahead.
- WBOs are optimistic, though slightly less so, about the broader economic outlook (74 percent) in 2013.
- More than three quarters (78 percent) of WBOs did not seek a new or extended line of credit in the past year.
- Most WBOs financed their businesses through credit cards (45 percent), business earnings (40 percent) or private sources such as personal savings or contributions from family or friends (37 percent).
- When asked what they see as their biggest challenge to running their business in 2013, nearly two in five (39 percent) of WBOs said that it was gaining new customers.
- To gain customers, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of WBOs plan to invest more in marketing in 2013.
This survey also allows us to stay at the forefront of challenges and opportunities facing our members as well as women business owners in general. And ultimately, that means we can shape our advocacy efforts as we work to ensure the success of all WBOs.
For instance, according to the survey, the top four public policy issues on the minds of NAWBO members right now are: the state of the economy (57 percent), health insurance cost and affordability (40 percent), business tax issues (36 percent) and access to a quality workforce (36 percent). These issues, and others, will no doubt be part of our conversation at next month’s NAWBO Public Policy Fly-In in Washington, DC, where we meet with one another and with key decision makers from Congress and the Administration. I hope you’ll plan to join us!
Last week during our national board meeting, NAWBO National Board Chair Laura Yamanka and I were invited by senior advisor to the President, Valerie Jarrett, to meet with Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Gene B. Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the Council of Economic Advisers Chair Alan Krueger in a small group setting to receive a briefing and discuss the current status of the fiscal negotiations and the latest in the push for comprehensive immigration reform. In addition, in-coming NAWBO National Board Chair, Billie Dragoo, and I met with Representatives Todd Rokita, Susan Brooks, Jackie Walorski and Andre Carson, all members of the Indiana Congressional delegation, as well as CA Congresswoman and Senior Democratic Whip Jackie Speier to bring them up to speed on the issues of concern to our members.
These are just a few of the ways we are ensuring NAWBO stays at the forefront of public policy discussions in Washington, DC.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
A new year is the chance to start a fresh page and embrace the possibility of new things. We hope you’ll look at NAWBO in much the same way in 2013. It’s a year where we have moved beyond the fiscal cliff for now, but still face slow economic recovery and uncertainty regarding key issues like spending, taxes and health care. The voice—and success—of women business owners is more important than ever.
There are so many ways to engage with us—nationally, locally and as an advocate for your business and other women business owners. How far you go is really up to you.
At NAWBO National, we offer partnerships and resources that benefit you all year long. We have the first of two NAWBO Chapter Leadership Bootcamps planned for February to support chapter leadership. We are preparing to launch the new NAWBO Institute for Entrepreneurial Development’s e-learning webinar series to address and support the unique needs and challenges of women-owned businesses. The first installment of this exciting series will be sponsored by the Sara Blakely Foundation. As you may know, Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx. More details will be coming soon. We are also partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Latino Coalition again to bring you America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, DC, this spring. Additionally, we are on the cusp of some exciting announcements regarding NAWBO’s Women’s Business Conference later this year. You’ll want to stay tuned! Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to be among the first to know. Also, check out www.nawbo.org for news and partner discounts to take advantage of this year. These include savings on UPS shipping and freight, a free 12-month PR Newswire membership and discounted disability income insurance from Guardian. NAWBO also gets a rebate every time a member is approved for an American Express OPEN card.
In your NAWBO Chapter, you’ll find tremednous value as well. It’s where you’ll connect with local resources and women business owners with shared experiences, including challenges and successes, and the desire to further themselves and one another. Make it a point to attend your Chapter’s first networking event to rediscover what your local NAWBO Chapter is all about! Also, look to your Chapter for other partner offers exclusively for NAWBO members.
Advocacy is another important area to engage in this year, and NAWBO National continues to be involved in the issues that impact us and communicate key developments to our community. You can play a part in these advocacy efforts as well. Ask your Chapter leader about NAWBO’s Monthly Public Policy Primer Calls, for which each Chapter is appointing one delegate to be involved in the conversation about legislation and regulations. Calls take place on the fourth Tuesday of each month at noon EST, with the first on January 22nd. Another opportunity is the House Small Business Committee has a site called Small Business Open Mic for small business owners to suggest Congressional hearing topics. Give your input at https://smallbusiness.house.gov/openmic/default.aspx.
Whatever ways you choose to engage with us and advocate in 2013, we know it’s going to be a great year! Nearly 104 million businesses are now majority owned by women. And these women business owners provide 12 million jobs and generate more than a trillion dollars in sales. With all of our focus and support, this impact will only grow stronger.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
The holidays are always such a great time of year—a time to look appreciatively at all that we have and how far we have come both personally and professionally, and to think about our hopes and dreams for the New Year.
On behalf of the entire NAWBO® team, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. We are so appreciative that our members continue to turn to us, and to one another, for inspiration, advice and resources, and to all our partners for their generous support of NAWBO and the entire women’s entrepreneurial community. We could not do everything we do—from advocacy to education and more—without each of you.
At the same time, I am excited about new things NAWBO is planning for you in 2013. I hope you’ll take advantage of every opportunity to strengthen and grow your business, including:
- New E-Learning Webinar Series: The NAWBO Institute for Entrepreneurial Development, NAWBO’s non-profit educational foundation, received a generous donation from The Sara Blakely Foundation. This donation is enabling us to develop an e-learning webinar series to address the unique needs and challenges of women-owned businesses.
- America’s Small Business Summit: For the second year in a row, NAWBO will partner with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Latino Coalition to co-sponsor America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, DC. Here, small businesses and chamber and association executives from across the country join together to network, learn from business experts and advocate for pro-business policies.
- Women’s Business Conference 2013: Last year, we inspired you to START SOMETHING to innovate, advocate and grow your business. This year, we are planning to build on the momentum we created with more great speakers and breakout sessions to benefit you and your business. Stay tuned as we unveil the conference theme and location in coming weeks.
- Leadership Boot Camps: At NAWBO, we know we are only as strong as our leadership in chapters across the country who carry out our mission with women business owners, corporate partners and the overall business community in their respective areas. We are planning two Leadership Boot Camp events for 2013—one on February 25th in Dallas, TX and the other on May 7th in Orange County, CA.
My very best wishes this holiday season and in 2013,
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
Hearing so many amazing women’s success stories is definitely a perk of my role at NAWBO. No two are alike, and yet they are all equally exciting.
In fact, maybe you’ve heard of this one: Sara Blakely was selling fax machines door-to-door in Florida’s hot, humid weather. An idea was born after she tried unsuccessfully to find pantyhose that didn’t have seamed toes and didn’t roll up the leg when she cut them. She invested her savings of just $5,000 and moved to Atlanta, where she researched and tried to reach production deals with local manufacturers. In 2000, she launched the Spanx brand from her home. The company and brand are now valued at more than $1 billion—making Sara the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. In 2012, she was named in Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world assembled by Time magazine.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting this dynamic woman when Spanx opened a standalone retail store in Washington, D.C.’s Tysons Corner—the first of several retail outlets the Atlanta-based company plans to open in the U.S. Sara was on hand for this important event that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony. But more importantly for the NAWBO community, she was there to present the NAWBO Institute for Entrepreneurial Development, which was formed in 2003 to expand educational opportunities for emerging and established women entrepreneurs, with a check for $10,000 from the Sara Blakely Foundation that shares in our mission of empowering women.
Meanwhile, women everywhere should feel empowered by this month’s groundbreaking election results. No matter our opinions on the outcome of the presidential race, we can all agree that women had record gains, giving us even wider access to power and influence. The113th Congress will have at least 20 female senators, the most ever in U.S. history. These include many women who are the first female Senators from their states as well as the first Asian-American woman in the Senate. The House of Representatives will also hold a record number of women this term, with at least 81 Congresswomen elected so far. The current record high for the House is 73 women. Some of the new Congresswomen include women who have military combat experience and two women under the age of 40. One will also be the first Hindu woman in Congress.
Congratulations to the NAWBO Institute on its donation from the Sara Blakely Foundation—I know we’ll be able to impact a lot of women entrepreneurs’ success through it—and to all the winning women in this year’s election—I am excited to work with you as NAWBO continues to advocate on behalf of women business owners.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
Tags: advice, forum, NAWBO, wbc, Women in Business
The theme of this year’s NAWBO® Women’s Business Conference (WBC) in Louisville, Kentucky, was START SOMETHING and wow, did we deliver! The WBC was just the start for so many women entrepreneurs who are now back in their businesses innovating, advocating, accelerating and more. We’re thrilled we could provide them with inspiration, motivation and resources to fuel their success!
Here at NAWBO, we are starting something new as well. For one, we are already thinking ahead to our 2013 WBC. We are also partnering again with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to host America’s Small Business Summit April 29-May 1, 2013. Mark your calendar now and plan to join hundreds of small businesses and chamber and association executives from across the country to network, learn from business experts and advocate for pro-business policies. In conjunction with this, NAWBO will also hold our 2013 Public Policy Day where we extend invitations to key public policy decision makers to meet with us. Stay tuned for details to come on these exciting events!
Meanwhile, for those of you who were unable to join us for the WBC in Louisville, I thought I would share some of the great advice that was heard:
“Sometimes we have to say no to good things to say yes to great things…Taking our eyes off ourselves and looking at others is so important…My breakthrough was learning to be a servant and a student…Criticism is a gift.” —Keynote speaker Kathy Ireland, Chair, CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide
“Your business is your integrity. You lose it, you lose everything.” —Breakout session moderator Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship, Chatham University
“My life lesson is to not take no for an answer.” —General session speaker Gloria Hatcher, UPS Assistant Chief Pilot at Chicago-Rockford International Airport
“Small businesses are really the backbone of the country and everyone knows it, but what they don’t know is it’s also women-owned businesses…We have to make sure we bring all our life lessons and all our power to our businesses.” —General session speaker Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration
“Once you get to a certain point in your business, it’s important to focus on the one thing you do best because you are brilliant at that. Everything else should be delegated, automated, systemized, etc…Most entrepreneurs are great beginners. To work more on your business, you must surround yourself by excellent finishers.” —Breakout session panelist Fabienne Fredrickson, Founder of ClientAttraction.com
“Trust your gut. When you know something, you know it. Keep it alive and strong. Only you have it. So trust, trust, trust.” —Keynote speaker Katrina Markoff, Owner, Founder & Chocolatier of Vosges Haut-Chocolat
“Global events/crisis lead to opportunities.” —Breakout session speaker Stacie Berdan, International Careers Expert and Award-Winning Author at StacieBerdan.com
“It’s not enough to just be human…When you look to build your business, look for the odd people.” —Dr. Nat Irvin II, Author, Innovator, Futurist, Teacher and Commentator of the University of Louisville
“Doing something that allows you to shine the spotlight on others is just as effective as shining the spotlight on yourself—sometimes more.” —Breakout session speaker Michelle Villalobos, Personality Marketing & Branding Speaker & CEO (Chief Education Officer) of Mivista Consulting, Inc.
“Social good can be an integral part of your company.” —Breakout session panelist Terri McCullough, Executive Director of the Tory Burch Foundation
“I think like most people, I learn more from my failures than my successes…My willingness to lean on other people, especially other women, was the key to my success.” —Breakout session speaker Tori Murden McClure, President of Spalding University
“Acknowledge a need to prioritize what’s important in your personal and professional life…Don’t neglect yourself. When you take care of yourself, you’ll be a better wife, mom, daughter, friend and woman business owner.” —Breakout session speaker Nadine Thompson, CEO & Founder of Soul Purpose Beauty and Lifestyle Company
“To quote Margaret Thatcher, there’s a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” —NAWBO leadership training speaker Deborah Snyder, Director of Membership and Communications of NAWBO-Los Angeles
Much of this advice was talked about in blogs in the days and weeks following the WBC. Here are some links you might also enjoy:
If you heard some great advice at the WBC that you have taken back to your business to START SOMETHING, I hope you will share it here! I also hope you will plan to join us in 2013 for more great events that impact the women’s business community and your business.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
We are surrounded by technology. We use it in the workplace to schedule meetings, track progress, launch initiatives and stay connected with clients and coworkers around the country, sometimes the world. At home, we rely on it to reach out to friends and family, stay organized and on time and access directions, information and entertainment. I know, I am thinking the same thing: How did we ever live without it?
So many women use technology every day in business and life that we’ve become an extremely attractive market for the companies developing new technologies. They know first and foremost that women spend about $5 trillion—or half—of the nation’s GDP every year. There’s also the well-known fact that women control or have a say in at least 80 percent of all household purchase decisions (89 percent when it comes to technology says the Consumer Electronics Association). And whether you believe that women are innately better communicators than men or not, the truth is we do talk and text more than men every month—28 percent and 14 percent, respectively, according to Nielsen data. We also use social features on our mobile devices more when compared with men.
We’re not an audience any marketer can afford to ignore. That’s why Radio Shack, for instance, has shifted from a 20 percent female workforce seven years ago to 40 percent female today. The chain now actively recruits female store managers, which has resulted in one out of every seven stores now managed by a woman. Computer companies like Dell are also smart to keep women in mind when rolling out new products—following in the formidable footsteps of Apple who experienced dramatic sales increases with women consumers after introducing products in fun colors we love.
The NAWBO® Women’s Business Conference (WBC) is almost upon us—October 4-5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. For NAWBO®, it’s not only a tremendous opportunity to bring our community of women business owners and those who support us together for high-level networking, education and resources. It’s also perfect timing to roll out new technology created by NAWBO® for this NAWBO® community: a new NAWBO® Mobile App.
The NAWBO® Mobile App is sponsored by our generous corporate partner Travelers Insurance—a leader in insurance for your auto, home and business. (Be sure to visit their website at www.travelers.com and see them in-person at the WBC Marketplace & Exhibit Hall). Together with Travelers, we’ve created an app that WBC registered attendees can download in advance of the event to access activities around Louisville and logistics for arrival. Once in Louisville, the app is a go-to source for the agenda, event and speaker details, a live Twitter feed (the WBC hashtag is #NAWBOWBC) and conference sponsors. We’re literally putting everything you need to successfully navigate this year’s conference in the palm of your hand.
Look for communications on how to download the new NAWBO® Mobile App in the days ahead as we continue our countdown to this year’s conference. Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet registered, don’t miss out. Go to http://nawbo.org/content_15636.cfm, then text your friends to invite them, too, and share the conference link on your social media pages to help us make this year’s conference the best ever.
Also, be sure to check out the piece in this issue of Focus highlighting TechSpeak For Entrepreneurs, a seminar for women entrepreneurs from our media partner Webgrrls that will help you become even more tech-savvy in your business. The first event is later this month in New York City, and others will follow in locations throughout the U.S.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO® President and CEO
It’s hard to believe it has almost been a year since I stepped into this position of NAWBO® President and CEO. In fact, it was at last year’s NAWBO® Women’s Business Conference (WBC) that I was first formally introduced to the NAWBO® community of leaders, members, sponsors and more.
I remember feeling so energized by the warmth and excitement of everyone I met, and heartened to hear so many business success stories of how entrepreneurs had begun, grown and continued to innovate and push forward despite a challenging few years.
As an entrepreneur before taking on this role with NAWBO®, I was equally impressed by the wealth of knowledge NAWBO® made available to members through the WBC. Experiencing the keynotes, general sessions, luncheons and awards as an attendee, I saw first-hand the tremendous opportunities a conference like ours presents for inspiration, rejuvenation and fresh ideas, connections and resources to return to our companies better and stronger than ever.
This year’s WBC is right around the corner—October 4th-5th in Louisville, Kentucky. In this issue of Focus, we asked one of the members of NAWBO®’s Louisville chapter who, like me, was a first-time attendee last year to share her experiences and what she’s most looking forward to in 2012. I think you’ll enjoy her unique perspective. I also want to extend a special thanks to all of the members of the NAWBO® Louisville chapter. You are amazing WBC hosts and your enthusiam for having this year’s conference in your great city is contagious!
This year’s WBC is coming together to be one of our best conferences yet. The theme “START SOMETHING” celebrates the entrepreneurial, innovative and adventurous spirit of women business owners. Whether you are starting a new product or service, your next phase of growth or another business venture, we have something for everyone.
This includes great speakers like:
- Kathy Ireland, Chief Designer and CEO of kathy ireland Worldwide, whose business grosses more than $1.9 billion in sales
- Katrina Markoff, Owner, Founder and Chocolatier of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, which has made Inc. magazine’s list of 500 Fastest Growing Companies (Katrina will bring chocolates for us to sample!)
- Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, who has served in President Obama’s Cabinet since January 2012 as a key member of the economic leadership team
I also thought I’d share some of the feedback our NAWBO® National team has received from past conference attendees:
“The speakers were fantastic. There isn’t anything I didn’t like about it! It’s just a great networking opportunity to get to know others. It’s important for everyone to attend the conference.” —Sandy Allen, Technology and Operations Solutions, Inc., California
“The speakers were very inspirational and I got a lot of good marketing ideas that I used this year to reach out to past customers. I would recommend it because it charges your batteries to be surrounded by all these other women business owners. The speakers open your eyes to more you can do in your business. You will always come out of it with something positive.” —Monica Cataluna-Shand, Kores Corp., Florida
“The line-up of speakers was absolutely amazing and the networking was so professional. I was so impressed. It was exciting to meet women from across the U.S. Where else can you go to have that kind of networking influence? If you are not going to the conference, you are losing the best opportunity for your business and personal development!” —Janet South, DECO Group, Indianapolis
“It was first-class and well worth the time. It was 110 percent!” —Diana Bull, Sterling Properties, California
“I am there to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. It’s encouraging, especially in a down economy, to be able to talk to people who have made it through. It helps me to build my tool bag.” —Patricia May, Tembua: the Precision Language Challenge, Minnesota
“Last year was my first conference. There are a lot of women business owners there with knowledge, expertise and resources we need to tap into. I was able to bring back the tools to my chapter. I would recommend it and we have already tripled the number attending from our chapter this year. The major reason is the education from breakout sessions and other business owners—it’s what it’s all about!” —Sharon Brotherton, Shabro Alternative Office Solutions, Florida
Whatever your reason for joining us in Louisville this year, I hope to see you there. I know you’ll get so much out of it as I, and so many other women, have. Register now if you haven’t already!
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO® President and CEO