The Gillian Rudd Business Leadership Award recognizes a woman business owner who has made a significant contribution to the status and visibility of women-owned firms and to the empowerment of women entrepreneurs both nationally and internationally. This year, NAWBO is proud to honor a member and leader who has spent decades doing just that: Anne B. Freedman.
After Anne began her presentation skills and communications business, Speakout LLC, in 1980, she was invited to a NAWBO meeting and was instantly hooked. “I felt at home right away,” she says. “There were some amazing women in the group.” She quickly became a member of the Miami chapter and found a passion for advocating for women business owners everywhere.
That passion is evident through Anne’s involvement in NAWBO—within her chapter, she’s served twice as president, vice president and in leadership roles in membership and programming. “NAWBO made me aware that there are a lot of ways you can be successful. By getting to know women with totally different businesses than mine, I realized that my problems were similar concerns across the board for most women business owners,” explains Anne. “You didn’t feel so totally alone as a woman business owner with access to those kinds of conversations.”
Throughout her journey with NAWBO, Anne has been instrumental in helping other women business owners gain access to community opportunities and NAWBO resources. Case in point: she helped to establish a Trustee level membership for NAWBO Miami as a nonprofit organization in the prestigious Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, giving nine members access to top business leaders and monthly events at a fraction of the usual cost.
One of Anne’s most prized accomplishments with NAWBO has been her work on National’s Presidents Assembly Steering Committee, where she served as a mentor to chapters around the country. “That was a wonderful role,” she says. “Having been president of my chapter twice and on the board for a long time and active in other civic and business organizations, I felt I could listen and help. I was happy that NAWBO had that kind of resource for its leaders. That was a learning lesson from NAWBO that you didn’t necessarily see in other organizations so much. We were all very strong and opinionated women, but when you’re on a board, that’s not the point. It’s to work with others to accomplish shared goals.”
Anne’s work to support women business owners has extended to international communities as well, including a group of women entrepreneurs from Mexico. She has forged connections with many of them—even speaking at their conference in Chihuahua, Mexico. She was also invited to lead a workshop in Greece for women business owners after a Greek entrepreneur heard her present at the WBC in San Antonio, Texas.
As she accepts the Gillian Rudd Business Leadership Award this year, Anne reflects on the tremendous impact NAWBO has made in shaping who she is as a leader in her business and community. “NAWBO continues to shine the light on what leadership needs to be and give people tools to be the best leaders they can be and help them grow their businesses,” she says. “I found kindred souls in NAWBO—where when women saw things weren’t right, we changed it. We developed the philosophy that nothing is impossible.”
To learn more about Anne and Speakout LLC, please visit: https://nawbosouthflorida.com/member-directory#!biz/id/60a451073cdb5862e1391f6e.