Chapter Presidents Talk Education and Opportunities

Jun 9, 2016 | Uncategorized

Education comes through many channels—formal education, on-the-job experience, networking events and much more. As a business owner, your continued education, and that of your employees, impacts the service you offer your customers. Five NAWBO chapter presidents share the most valuable education they’ve received and how they’re keeping up-to-date on new learning opportunities for themselves and their businesses.

What have been some of your most valuable education experiences (formal and informal education) as a woman business owner?


Jacqueline Hayes
“Nothing prepares us for being in business like ‘being in business.’ Books are helpful and workshops can be invaluable, but the on-the-job training we all go and grow through is what fortifies us for the journey into entrepreneurship.” —Jacqueline Hayes, MBA, chief marketing strategist and lead content writer at Crayons and Marketers and president of NAWBO-Nashville


Monika Miles
“It would have to be conferences—of course NAWBO, but also others—especially those that are out of town and that connect with people from other parts of the country. It’s inspiring to hear good keynote speakers and also just to sit around tables with other business owners who are facing similar issues. The informal learning that comes from that is priceless to me. I always come away from those events feeling so recharged.” —Monika Miles, president at Miles Consulting Group, Inc. and president of NAWBO-Silicon Valley

Susan Platt
“I think as a woman business owner, that is one of the most difficult things, to actually take the time to gain education, and it is highly important. But, as a woman business owner, I am juggling usually 50 things at one time. So, no one big thing sticks out. It is those snippets of a great article, a good management book I can read or listen to while I try to squeeze in a walk, a wonderful speaker that comes to our monthly NAWBO meeting or a webinar I can fit in. Maybe the most valuable though comes from the friendships I have formed and the advice I seek when I am most in need, from fellow women business owners who I treasure and value the most.” —Susan Platt, director of professional services for Spoon River Home Health Services and president of NAWBO-Central Illinois

Lori Day
#1—Mentors and coaches! I have been fortunate to have three exceptional mentors. They helped me establish a foundation, which has become the leadership and management principles that are woven throughout my DNA and my business. These great leaders understood my goals, my expertise and my potential. They also held me accountable. Their contributions have been priceless.

#2—Invest in yourself! Make your own growth a priority; budget time and money for it. Remember: If you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, why should anyone else?” —Lori J. Day, president of Focus First, Inc. and president of NAWBO-Iowa

“The most valuable has been earning the CFP® designation, which tells clients that I hold myself to the highest industry standard to serve them. Being an active part of a NAWBO chapter gives me the opportunity to learn and to have my finger on the pulse of what women business owners need and want.” —Debrah Farnell, DKM Planners and president of NAWBO-Greater DC


In your business, how do you and your employees continue to learn and grow to stay inspired and relevant?


“This is where healthy competition is most beneficial. Complacency is the enemy of every business. Maintaining a network of successful colleagues is essential, for it both inspires and challenges us to continuously stretch beyond our ‘right now’ into new realms of possibility.” —Jacqueline

“My business is a very technical tax area—multistate tax, focusing on the sales tax and income tax laws in the 50 states. Also, as a CPA, I’m required to maintain at least 40 hours of continuing education per year. So, I actively seek out relevant training in my profession and encourage my employees to do the same. Some of my training actually comes from teaching professional education courses to others. However, I also make sure that I keep up on trends and tools for businesses. Much of that learning comes from my networking groups.” —Monika

“Home health care is a continually changing field, not only medically speaking, but regulatory and legislatively as well. I feel it is vital to stay involved. We are very active in our trade organization, Illinois Home Care and Hospice Council. We depend on them for all of the above, as well as other organizations, such as NFIB, especially to keep us in the loop legislatively. To stay inspired, we have found giving back to the community inspires us, and at the same time helps us to bond. We currently are working on building a house with Habitat for Humanity for their Women Build home and volunteered for a Fun Run to raise money for Neighborhood House, which provides outreach to children and senior citizens.” —Susan

“Daily briefings enable us to focus on rapid, relevant and continuous learning and application. We are committed to investing time and money in learning. Resources include reading, conferences, workshops and conversations. In our consulting and coaching business, we are known for bringing exceptional solutions to our clients—and that is only possible through continuous learning and application of best practices.” —Lori

“Continuing education keeps me current on what’s happening in my industry. Women business owners have a passion and energy to reach their goals that supercharges every event I attend. I make it my goal to attend every chapter event and to attend events where women share their experiences and celebrate their accomplishments.” —Debrah


If you were to set one education goal for yourself right now, what would it be and why?


“While I hold two degrees in marketing, I’m always looking for ways to challenge myself to be the best at what I do. While there are numerous certifications a marketer can pursue, one I find of extreme value would be the American Marketing Association’s Professional Certified Marketer designation. The organization is universally respected as a marketing authority on best and next practices in our field.” —Jacqueline

“I need to take a deeper dive into SEO and all things Internet search. I’ve been found by people across the country, and I get a fairly high Google ranking for certain searches, but I admit that it’s a little bit by accident. And I want to direct more energy directly at increasing my ability to be found, since my practice can truly be across the country. Whether I get there by more education, or simply by hiring a consultant to assist me—I suspect the education will come.” —Monika

“My current goal is to become more educated regarding our legislative process. Why? Because I am seeing changes to home health care and small business that are not only detrimental to small business, but also to the homebound patients I serve in their homes.” —Susan

“Meet with one talented woman business owner each week focused entirely on learning about them and their business. This strategy has multiple benefits. It enables me to deepen my knowledge across industries while I become an advocate for these women and their businesses.” —Lori

“I would earn my Master’s Degree. Learning expands my thinking and impacts me positively in my professional and personal life in a way nothing else can!” —Debrah



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