Women Entrepreneurs Inspire the Change at the WBC2015 in San Antonio

Oct 23, 2015 | Advocacy, Uncategorized

Last month, we wrapped up another great National Women’s Business Conference in San Antonio, Texas. More than 600 women came together to gain inspiration and resources, share insight and forge powerful connections. From the impactful speakers to the local and national exhibitors, everything was geared toward empowering women to embrace the conference theme—“Inspire the Change.”


Our two keynote speakers did just that, in ways that related to every woman listening. Paralympic gold medalist, business owner, leadership consultant and author Bonnie St. John encouraged the women in attendance to aim high, be “helpable” by asking for what they need and shoot for fulfilling work-life balance. Bonnie shared how she approached obstacles in her journey: “This is impossible…I might as well get started.”


Leigh Anne Tuohy, subject of the book-turned-movie The Blind Side, urged attendees to “turn around” and find the people who are falling through the cracks in our society. She challenged attendees to think about the individuals we pass by every day. “We wouldn’t even get out of the lobby, and boom—there’s a Michael Oher. They’re in every city, in every state,” she said. She contrasted the two kinds of people in this world—givers and takers—noting that giving will change your life. “Remember that there is someone just like Michael right out that door, and you can make a difference in that person’s life.” 


Texas Governor Greg Abbott joined us for the Opening Reception on Monday night to celebrate NAWBO’s 40 years of impact in true Texas style. He recognized women’s entrepreneurial success as a large part of the nation’s success.


Thank you to each and every one of our attendees, speakers and sponsors for making this event a success—and a special thanks to our San Antonio Chapter for so graciously hosting. Be sure to mark your calendar to join us next year September 18-20 in Columbus, Ohio!


Attendees Share Why the WBC Is Important for Their Business


Jacki Ramirez
Ramirez Group
NAWBO-Southern Nevada Member

“I appreciate the quality of speakers NAWBO brings in and the educational workshops where we hear from amazing women from all over the country and get a broader perspective beyond our city limits about skills sets, techniques and best practices. You can take little bits of it and incorporate it into your own business. You can definitely pick things from all the experiences out there. That’s what I enjoy—sharing experiences.”


Pamela McAfee

Pamela McAfee
The Flower Room

NAWBO Virtual Member

“The attitude and the presence at this event have helped show me that there are enough of us to make it feel like me are not out there by myself trying to pull this off. As improvements have been made over the years, it doesn’t matter if we’re in different states, women all seem to be extremely supportive to help you succeed.”


Rene Delane

Rene Delane
Women Who Dare

NAWBO-Columbus Member

“Through my membership and conferences like this, NAWBO has given me three things: First, it’s built real bridges with people who share the same values, which are integrity, courage and contribution. When a person or an organization fits those values, I know I am aligned and it makes decision making easy. Second is it allows me to be energized and invigorated so that I can innovate. Third is it helps me to find companies, corporations and people who I can serve. NAWBO has been pivotal in my life and in my career. Because I have a business called Women Who Dare that is based on inclusion, this is my north star.”


Barbara Girson

Barb Girson
My Sales Tactics

NAWBO-Columbus Member

“This is my second conference. We are very proud to bring the WBC to Columbus next year during an election year when two strong women candidates are running. We are going to roll out the red carpet for all of the women in attendance. As women business owners, we are doing a lot to give to other people. I look for opportunities to feed my own inspiration. It’s a time to step away from being in my business to being on my business and hear how other women run their business. It’s an opportunity to renew and challenge me to think bigger. This is a national platform, and as I work nationally as well, it helps me to remember to play big, as the speaker Bonnie St. John said, to keep renewing so I can keep having energy to be in my business.”


Tina Lee

Tina Lee 
Chew & Lee Accounting Group
NAWBO-Wichita Member

“NAWBO has helped me by giving me the ability to talk with other women who have the same types of problems that I might have as an owner. I’ve come to the conference every year since Chicago. The people I meet and the speakers are phenomenal. From the first year I came, I met a gal who was just in the audience, and I ended up writing a chapter in a book because of it! The knowledge that I get from the speakers and the other attendees at the conference is great.”


“At this year’s conference, I’m hoping to change some of my own processes and procedures. It’s really about inspiring the change within my business and company culture; to have better communications with employees and a better understanding of what I expect of them, what our customers expect of them and what everybody expects of me as the owner of the business.”


Pam Williams
PromoQuest, Inc.
NAWBO-Greater Raleigh Member

“This is my first conference, so I came for the learning and networking. I’m president elect of my chapter, so I felt it was important. NAWBO has really helped me to grow personally and business-wise, especially at the local level through mentoring, networking and leadership development. Our chapter is very sisterhood oriented, which I love.”


Yvonne Graber

Yvonne Graber
Computer Community Hospital

NAWBO-Fort Lauderdale Member

“NAWBO has brought out qualities in me that were dormant. It has taught me how to be a better speaker. If it weren’t for NAWBO, I would have never known about Make Mine a Million and Count Me in, of which I was a finalist in 2007. I really have benefited from other members’ knowledge and expertise. I have formed a lot of strong relationships, which has helped my business to grow. I have been to every conference since I joined NAWBO nine years ago, except for Louisville. I come for the relationships—I hope to find one good relationship that will help the growth of my business. Moving forward, I am focused on more growth and also working on a new venture, so I am hoping to make one contact here that will help that growth happen.”


Sharon Hairston-King
Hairston and Associates Insurance Services
NAWBO-Houston Member

“I love NAWBO-Houston. I am an independent insurance agent, so I have met so many people that I would not have otherwise met. I’m getting out of it what I put into it. When Darla [Beggs, past NAWBO National chair] and Crystal [Arredondo, NAWBO National chair] came to speak at a Houston meeting, they made the conference sound so exciting that I just had to go. I’m a 10,000 Small Business graduate, so I was excited to see that as part of the breakout session programming. It’s really a great opportunity for business women.”


Derba Mills
Clothesline Cleaners
NAWBO-San Antonio Member

“I’ve often felt too introverted or inferior in the business world, but then I joined NAWBO. The women of NAWBO make me feel great about myself—just being around these amazing, incredibly talented women. This is my first conference. I loved hearing about the history of NAWBO and how these amazing women who genuinely care about one another and lift each other up and support each other. My takeaway was really that first panel of Leadership Boot Camp on the history of NAWBO.”


Linda Elliott

Linda Elliott
Elliott Connection

NAWBO-San Antonio Member

“I’ve made a lot of friends in NAWBO. It’s just such a great networking device. The president of our chapter now, I introduced her to NAWBO three years ago and she’s now president. She was a client of mine and she’s now living the dream. It’s just been amazing being part of this organization. I’ve brought a lot of clients to other members and received a lot of clients. One new member recently called me because of NAWBO. I come to this conference because you just meet so many other people and hear about other chapters. I haven’t been in several years, but I have seen and reconnected with people I know from previous years.”


Kelli Robbins
Contact One Communications
NAWBO-Pittsburgh Member

“NAWBO has afforded me the opportunity to have fairy godmothers. It’s different from any other advocacy and networking group I’ve been involved in. The women take you under their wings and kick open doors with their high heels and then say, ‘Let me open a door again.’ These are doors to learn better, discover new contacts and be politically active (which I now want to do). These are women who tell you that you can do anything. We build coop-etition, not competition. This conference has been truly amazing. You see the benefit of being part of such a large, national organization, but it’s also such a homespun, very grassroots organization. The women of NAWBO invite you into their homes, where you get to know them and their families.”


“I’m president of NAWBO-Pittsburgh and of several other organizations. I came here to learn how to be president of my NAWBO chapter. I was just inducted last week, had a party and then came here. So I hoped to learn how to be president, but what I got instead is the ability to take information—a unified message—from the national organization back to my chapter to excite and inspire women in same way I was excited and inspired here. I am now hoping to connect with the speakers and panelists and write about my experiences here to inspire others like I’ve been inspired. My goal is to bring 100 women from my chapter to Columbus in 2016!”



As NAWBO celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015, what’s your anniversary wish for NAWBO to achieve in the next 40 years?


Pamela McAfee

“As we begin to strengthen, I want us to celebrate our diversity as much as possible. I think that sometimes, especially as we expand, we start thinking as one that all women have these same issues. Sometimes, that is not necessarily true. Not all of us have the same advantages that others of us have. I feel like we’re a large group now, and I don’t want us to lose that diversity that we have today. I don’t want us to lose that closeness. With our goal of 20,000 members by 2020, I hope those 20,000 women know that they can connect no matter how different we are physically or mentally. I wish for us to continue with all the great things we’re currently doing.”


Tina Lee 

“I really enjoyed the panel with the past presidents and the history they gave us and understanding what they have done for women business owners. We pick up new pieces of that every year. This year, highlighting 40 years helps us understand better. The bigger and better we get helps us understand what we can do; to creating a bigger voice to keep women business owners strong. We are striving in the Wichita area to make NAWBO and women business owners have more of a voice that needs to be heard.”


Barb Girson

“One that comes to mind is that women can continue to expand our reach through NAWBO and have a collective voice through public policy and a stronger impact to improve the balance of women in business. We’re an underutilized resource. We can do better. We’ve made great headway, but we can do better. In doing that, we need to be accepting of all size businesses and not be judgmental. We need to be women leading together.”


Linda Elliott

“My anniversary wish for NAWBO’s future is to see a lot more chapters. I love this Virtual membership, but it blows my mind that we don’t have an Austin chapter, for example. I’d like to see us spread the wealth and have chapters in a whole lot more areas.”


Pam Williams

“My wish for NAWBO’s next 40 years is that we realize gender equality across the board—in pay, jobs, leadership positions on boards. I definitely believe in that and want to help further it.”




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