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