NAWBO Year in Review: 2021

Dec 15, 2021 | Advocacy, Uncategorized

“Every task, goal, race and year comes to an end…therefore, make it a habit to FINISH STRONG.” ―Gary Ryan Blair

While we work to finish the year strong, let’s take a look back at some of NAWBO’s 2021 highlights and accomplishments:


Virtual Leadership Academy
We had an amazing turnout, including more than 50 non-members, at Virtual Leadership Academy, where we tackled topics from compassionate leadership to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

HERstory in the Making
We hosted this free virtual summit for women from around the world powering big dreams, featuring a meet and greet, state of global WBOs, roundtables on doing business internationally and speed networking.

Conversations About WBO Concerns
Our CEO Jen Earle joined a call with Vice President Kamala Harris and several Congresswomen to talk about the Administration’s American Rescue Plan and share the concerns of women business owners.

Report on Childcare Crisis’ Effects
The first report from the NAWBO-Gusto Winter Survey was released: “How the Pandemic’s Childcare Crisis Impacted Women-owned Businesses and Altered their Future” examined the effect school and childcare disruptions have had on WBOs and their businesses.

Report on WBOs Who Launched
The second in a series of reports from the NAWBO-Gusto Winter Survey was released: “Who Started Businesses During the Pandemic? A Survey of Women Starting Businesses During COVID” analyzed who these entrepreneurs are and their motivation.


NAWBO Institute’s New Home

The Institute moved to a new home, featuring all Institute programs for members to access at any time, on-demand recordings of NAWBO and partner virtual programming and a private community social networking experience exclusively for NAWBO.

New Guide Celebrates WBOs
NAWBO collaborated with Bustle and Instagram during Women’s History Month and helped to release a WBO Guide spotlighting and celebrating women business owners and providing tips for every stage of the journey.

Scholarships For Those in “Crisis”
Through the generous donations of individuals and businesses, NAWBO began offering a scholarship program designed to aid those in a “crisis” or “high-risk” situation with their memberships, prioritizing those with the greatest need.

Report on Breadwinning WBOs 
The third in a series of reports from the NAWBO-Gusto Winter Survey was released: “Providing for Those Who Provide: A Report on Breadwinning Women Business Owners & Their Critical Role in the Economic Recovery” dove into the world of WBOs who are the sole and primary providers. 

Protecting the Right to Organize
U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema, Mark Kelly, Joe Manchin and Mark Warner received letters on behalf of NAWBO from National Board Chair Cristina Morales Heaney regarding the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act, H.R. 842) asking that they review NAWBO’s concerns with the legislation.

Small Business Video Series
The Consumer Bankers Association, International Franchise Association, NAWBO and U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce announced a new video series showcasing how small businesses and banks worked together to save jobs, support their communities and drive America’s economic recovery.

Virtual Advocacy Days and Award
NAWBO holds Virtual Advocacy Days and honors our 2021 Advocate of the Year: Multi-franchise owner and eight-year NAWBO member Lisa Fullerton. Lisa cashed in her retirement in 2000 to become a franchisee with Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Cinnabon.

Interagency Committee Support
National Board Chair Cristina Morales Heaney expressed to U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, Susan Collins, Tammy Duckworth and Tim Scott NAWBO’s support of the Interagency Committee on Women’s Enterprise Act on behalf of our membership.


New DEI&B Resources

To ensure we are fully living our diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging mission every day and creating a culture in which every NAWBO member feels included, supported and cherished, we launched several new resources, including a web page, hotline and web form.

WBO of the Year Top 10 Class


We announced the Top 10 Class of the Woman Business Owner of the Year Award—sponsored by Bank of America:
1) Courtney Brockmeyer, Sydney Paige Foundation – NAWBO San Francisco Bay*
2) Felena Hanson, Hera Hub – NAWBO San Diego
3) Christine E.B. Howard, E.B. Howard Consulting – NAWBO Buffalo-Niagara
4) Stephanie Isaacson, New Horizons Enterprises, LLC – NAWBO Kansas City*
5) Amanda Ma, Innovate Marketing Group, Inc. – NAWBO Los Angeles
6) Shagun Malhotra, Skystem – NAWBO NYC
7) Rishona Myers, Olive Lucy Gourmet Foods LLC – NAWBO Philadelphia
8) Deeannah Seymour, pH-D Feminine Health – NAWBO Nashville
9) Carla Walker-Miller, Walker-Miller Energy Services – NAWBO Greater Detroit*
10) Janna Willoughby-Lohr, Papercraft Miracles – NAWBO Buffalo-Niagara
*Top 3 finalists


Scholarships for Women of Color
For the second year, NAWBO offered scholarships for women of color to attend or host a virtual exhibit during the National Women’s Business Conference through the Minority Owned Women’s Business “Power Your Dream” Scholarship sponsored by AARP.

Resilience of America’s Businesses
Our CEO Jen Earle’s co-authored an article with the Consumer Bankers Association, International Franchise Association and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to mark the start of Small Business Week by recognizing the resilience of America’s small and franchised businesses.


Small Business Digital Ready
We partnered with Verizon to help bring new online curriculum to small businesses across the U.S. through the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready program in partnership with Next Street and LISC.

National Women’s Business Conference
We heard from some amazing speakers during this year’s virtual event, including Jessica Matthews, inventor, venture capitalist and co-founder of Uncharted Power; Diana Nyad, the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida; and Cleo Wade, poet, activist and best-selling author.

National Award Winners
At this year’s National Women’s Business Conference, we honored many trailblazing women:

• Woman Business Owner of the Year Award: Carla Walker-Miller, Walker-Miller Energy Services ­- NAWBO Greater Detroit
• Member of the Year Award: Sandy Clitter, Your Tech Tamer, LLC – NAWBO Philadelphia
• Rising Star Award: Anna Welsh, Littlebags by Anna – NAWBO NextGen
• Susan Hager Legacy Award: Joy Lutes, former vice president of external affairs – NAWBO National
• Gillian Rudd Business Leadership Award: Irene Natividad, GlobeWomen Research & Education Institute (Global Summit of Women)
• Advocacy Award: Lisa Fullerton, A Novel Idea, LLC – NAWBO San Antonio


Launch Right Program
Through the Wells Fargo Open for Business Grant, we launched a start-up program for women exiting the workforce in rural regions and marginalized socioeconomic communities to help them explore entrepreneurship.

DEI&B Member Survey
We invited members to share their NAWBO experience as it relates to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. This will allow us to set the baseline for where we are now, determine where we go from here and track our progress. 

DEI&B Events Launched
We launched two new DEI&B events: DEI&B Circles featuring facilitated dialogue designed to empower, encourage and support you in your diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging journey and a DEI&B Open Forum that will kick off the new year talking DEI&B.


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