Jul 19, 2023 | Advocacy, Uncategorized

Announcing our 2023 Women Business Owner of the Year Top 10 Class

NAWBO’s National Women’s Business Conference, October 15-17 in Austin, Texas, is just what you need right now—time away from it all to have fun, reconnect, refocus and grow. Not to mention time to celebrate some incredible women with the support of our award sponsor and conference presenting sponsor Bank of America.

Congratulations to our 2023 Woman Business Owner of the Year Top 10 Class who were selected for their overall business excellence. This year’s class will be narrowed down to three in August and the top winner will be announced at the conference awards gala on October 17th.

Get to know these incredible women here, and then register to join us in celebrating them in person (Early Bird savings ends on July 31st so don’t delay!). When you register, you’ll be automatically entered to win a 1-night stay at the host hotel, Renaissance Austin. We’re announcing one lucky winner each month through October!


Now, Let’s Celebrate Our Top 10 Class of 2023!

Wendy Coulter, CEO of Hummingbird Creative Group – NAWBO Greater Raleigh

As CEO of Hummingbird, a branding agency founded in 1995, Wendy’s passion is to help clients effectively communicate the positioning of their business, differentiate their brand and grow revenue. As a champion of women business owners, Wendy also founded the North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame in 2018 to honor the state’s most successful female entrepreneurs and advocates who have made significant and enduring contributions to impact women’s entrepreneurial development.

Christina Gamache, owner of Audax Wealth Management – NAWBO Virtual

Christina is an investment manager and outsourced CFO for small businesses. She is passionate about helping business owners increase profitability, pay themselves and plan their exit strategy! Christina knows that work is just a vehicle for people to take care of the things that really matter the most. She helps owners tell their story through their finances and take care of their employees, families and futures. She serves as a board member for local nonprofits, is often seen speaking at conferences and is a published author.

Rebecca Geller, president and CEO of The Geller Law Group – NAWBO Greater DC

Rebecca is an award-winning attorney, philanthropist and advocate for equality and women’s rights. She founded The Geller Law Group in 2011, creating a business model that supports working parents and promotes work/life balance. Rebecca has delivered speeches at the U.S. Capitol, advocating for women’s economic security issues and championed a Virginia law guaranteeing the right for women to breastfeed in public. She is currently involved in advocacy efforts to encourage Virginia and federal legislators to adopt paid family leave policies.  

DJ Heckes, owner and CEO of EXHIB-IT! – NAWBO New Mexico

DJ founded EXHIB-IT! in 2000 to provide quality exhibit marketing products and design services to federal agencies and commercial enterprises. She is also an expert in full BRAIN marketing. Unlike many speakers and consultants, DJ shows you exactly what to say, how to say it, what to do and how to do it right. Her Annual B2B Expo is New Mexico’s largest business-to-business networking event. Each year, a non-profit organization is chosen to be the award recipient and event spotlight through outreach and a live auction.

Neetu Jhaj, founder and CEO of Rehna Raiya – NAWBO Bakersfield

Neetu is founder and CEO of Rehna Raiya, an empowerment clothing line for women and girls, which donates a portion of all proceeds to advance girls’ education. An entrepreneur for over a decade, Neetu has a “patent pending” for an innovative fashion concept. She is co-owner of Countryside Corporation, which owns and operates retail centers and brands inclusive of Shell, Subway, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, and has over 500 employees. Neetu is an Amazon best-selling author, president of RBG Educational Foundation and sits on several boards.

Nichole MacDonald, CEO of Sash Group, Inc. – NAWBO San Diego

Nichole is a single mom, successful business owner and passionate advocate for creating positive change. She is founder and CEO of Sash Bag, a multi-million-dollar business that started in her garage, and has since grown into a thriving company that has impacted the lives of over 150,000 people. Nichole is also an ontological coach and leadership trainer, which has helped her to cultivate a deep sense of self-awareness and empathy. This has translated into her business as well, as she strives to create a supportive and empowering environment for employees and teams.

Isoken Ogbomo, president and CEO of Complete Health Services Inc. and In-Home Caregivers of Illinois – NAWBO Chicago

Isoken is a Board-certified family nurse practitioner, mentor, leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is CEO and president of Complete Health Services Inc. and In-Home Caregivers of Illinois, a senior care agency that serves retired executives, busy professionals who are adult family caregivers and employers who have caregiving employees. Her unique program helps seniors to age-in-place while helping families and employers manage the stress of family caregiving. She is also president of the not-for-profit Elevations International ministries.

Heather Polivka, founder and CEO of Awesome People Leaders – NAWBO Minnesota

Heather helps leaders create workplaces where people thrive, great talent stays and businesses grow. In 2022, Heather founded Awesome People Leaders (APL), a manager development experience, to address the prevalent gap in employee retention and engagement at most companies; a lack of training and development in people-skills for frontline and middle managers. In 2023, she was selected as a 100 Women to KNOW in America and became an alumni scholar of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. 

Charu Raheja, CEO of TriageLogic – NAWBO Virtual

Charu’s personal mission is to move the needle on health equity by helping others access a compassionate, affordable healthcare professional who listens, evaluates symptoms and provides appropriate guidance. She co-founded her company, TriageLogic, with that mission. They are a telephone nurse and remote patient monitoring software and services company. In addition to TriageLogic, Charu is involved with organizations that inspire her. She helps them evaluate growth opportunities and plan for financial success.

Arlene Siller, founder and CEO of Ascend Nonprofit & Business Solutions – NAWBO San Antonio

Arlene is an accomplished grant writing expert with a passion for democratizing grant funding. Her company, Ascend Nonprofit & Business Solutions (NBS), helps fundraising organizations improve their grant writing skills and secure funding for their missions. With over 29 years of experience in securing multi-million-dollar grants, she has built a reputation as an expert in her field. In 2020, she expanded her business with Grant Yourself Success®, the training arm of Ascend NBS that offers comprehensive, affordable online courses.

Learn more about Woman Business Owner of the Year and other NAWBO National Awards here.
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