From a Milestone Anniversary, to No Small Thing, to Public Policy Day and the National Women’s Business Conference, NAWBO Looks Back
NAWBO kicked off its 40th anniversary yearlong celebration. The organization was founded in 1975 by a group of women entrepreneurs who joined together to remove obstacles and create opportunities for other women entrepreneurs across the country. Today, NAWBO boasts thousands of members in chapters in nearly every major city nationwide and is the only member organization representing women entrepreneurs in all sectors, sizes and stages of their business development. Bank of America served as NAWBO’s 40th anniversary sponsor, hosting receptions and serving as the presenting sponsor of the 2015 National Women’s Business Conference to help celebrate. See NAWBO’s anniversary infographic here.
NAWBO honored Black History Month with a diversity-themed issue of the NAWBO ONE monthly e-publication. After all, the diverse makeup of NAWBO’s membership—with women entrepreneurs of all races, ages, geographies, etc.—is what makes us better together. Read the issue of NAWBO ONE here and be sure to sign up to receive the insightful e-publication if you don’t already! Also, read the blog from NAWBO’s National Chair on the beauty of diversity within NAWBO, businesses and the overall business world here.
Annual Membership Drive
As the annual membership drive came to a close, NAWBO had gained an impressive number of new members—who own and run businesses large and small—who are now benefitting from the sisterhood, networking connections, education resources, business tools, advocacy voice, exclusive discounts and more that NAWBO offers to women entrepreneurs across the U.S. Click here to learn more about NAWBO membership and its benefits; and be sure to share these with a friend or two who might also benefit!
No Small Thing Video Contest
It’s no small thing to run a small business, so in honor of all the small businesses that make up our great organization, NAWBO ran its second annual “No Small Thing” video contest throughout the month of April and announced the Top 5 winners during National Small Business Week, the first week of May that’s dedicated to recognizing and honoring the impact small businesses have in communities and on our nation’s economy. Check out all the 2015 winners here:
- For Zee Worstell and Francine Spinelli of AccelerateHER LLC in Williamsburg, VA’s video, click here.
- For Kim Brattain of Kim Brattain Media in Charlotte, NC’s video, click here.
- For Audrey Taylor of netlogx, LLC in Indianapolis, IN’s video, click here.
- For Tracie Rollins of The Rollins Advantage, LLC in Phoenix, AZ’s video, click here.
State of Women-Owned Business Report
Optimism of overall business performance from both a general and economic standpoint has trended upward in the last three years, growing 12 percent and 16 percent, respectively, since 2013, found the 2015 State of Women-Owned Business Report commissioned by NAWBO and Web.com, a leading provider of comprehensive online services for small businesses. The report, developed from an annual survey of more than 300 women business owners who are NAWBO members from around the nation, also showed that family and by extension, work/life balance ranked next to last (65 percent) of the top five key motivators for starting a business. The ability to express passion for your vocation ranked first at 92 percent. Click here to access the full 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report and here for the report infographic.
Public Policy Day
To raise NAWBO’s profile in the power corridors of Washington, D.C., and enable our leaders to engage public officials in Congress and the Administration, we held our inaugural NAWBO Advocacy & Public Policy Day on June 4th. A group totaling nearly 30 NAWBO members, including the NAWBO National Board as well as public policy leaders from several chapters, traveled in from California, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia to participate. The day included meetings with staff from the White House Committee on Women and Girls, the Small Business Administration and the U.S. House Small Business Committee. Click here to view photos and here to watch a video recap.
2015-2016 Board of Directors
After being installed at the end of June, a dynamic and diverse group of women entrepreneurs—some returning and others new—got to work to further NAWBO’s mission of preparing women leaders for a world of change. At the time, new National Board Chair Crystal Arredondo said, “As of 2014, women entrepreneurs accounted for more than 9 million businesses across the country—employing more than 7.8 million people and generating $1.4 trillion in sales. Since our founding in 1975, NAWBO has been advocating for women business owners in all sectors, sizes and stages of their business development. It is my pleasure to welcome these women to our National Board of Directors. I am certain they will help us empower more women to start and scale their businesses.” Meet this year’s NAWBO National Board here.
NAWBO officially launched a new website that is more user friendly than ever and better reflects NAWBO’s branding, membership, culture and benefits. NAWBO National is now in the process of working with chapters across the country to deliver website templates that deliver the same powerful user experience and branding yet allow for chapter-specific updates. We are proud of how NAWBO has evolved online. Be sure to check out the new website here. Also, if you aren’t already, be sure to follow us on all our social media channels for timely news and conversations: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
National Women’s Business Conference
NAWBO 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.” The conference speakers did just that, in ways that related to every woman listening. Paralympic gold medalist, business owner, leadership consultant and author Bonnie St. John, for instance, 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.” View the WBC2015 photo gallery here. Also, be sure to mark your calendar to join us next year September 18-20 in Columbus, OH!
NAWBO Virtual Happy Hour Kicks Off
NAWBO announced it would simplify its membership categories as well as offer a monthly payment option for membership dues, starting on January 1. As part of that, NAWBO launched NAWBO Virtual (formerly the At-Large membership category) for members who live and work 45 miles or farther away from the nearest NAWBO chapter. NAWBO also expanded this membership category to include Virtual Happy Hours every first Thursday of the month at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. The first Happy Hour in October featured Paralympic gold medalist, business owner, leadership consultant, author and NAWBO Virtual member Bonnie St. John. NAWBO Virtual also offers Connect & Learn educational webinars every second Thursday of the month, among other exclusive virtual programming and meet-ups. See the full NAWBO calendar of events here.
NAWBO’s Powerful Voice
NAWBO spoke out on a lot of issues throughout the year, from equal pay for women, to a proposed minimum wage increase, to fair taxes, to other challenges women entrepreneurs in particular continue to face. In November, National Board Chair Crystal Arredondo took to the radio to share her best advice for business owners that she has learn from speaking with other talented business owners, men and women alike who represent different industries and sizes of business. Click here to listen to the podcast.
Expressing Gratitude and Looking to the Future
As the year comes to a close, NAWBO is filled with gratitude for everyone who’s been part of NAWBO in ways large and small in 2015, and throughout our organization’s 40-year history. We know that this organization would not be what it is today without the amazing women (and men) who are members, chapter leaders, national leaders, national team members, corporate sponsors, affiliate partners, affinity partners and media partners.
We are also excited as we look to the future. NAWBO has so many incredible things planned for 2016 and beyond for our amazing community of women entrepreneurs. Be sure to take advantage of as much as possible, from free and informative online learning opportunities, to new membership levels and exclusive benefits, to inspiring leadership development and a world-class national conference. Happy holidays, and happy New Year!