June President's Message | NAWBO

Greetings #NAWBOcommunity,

We trust this email finds you and yours safe and well, and using your voices to bring about equality for all.

I hope you received and read our letter on June 3rd, co-written by our incoming President, Vikita Poindexter and me. I’ll quote a bit from it below:

Women business owners have always been the catalyst for positive change. Together, we are building diverse teams that work differently than the ones before us. There is no better multiplier of positive change than our voices and actions as leaders. Our diversity IS our strength.

When the world around us is going through so much, it is each of you who reminds us that there is hope. Our hope comes in the form of being a collective, clear voice of public policy, economic opportunity, and diverse talent collaborating over new ideas, engaging in difficult but necessary conversations, and lifting one another up in good times and in bad. 

It’s been my experience that we #NAWBOcommunity members are a resilient and forward-thinking group. While we navigate all that is going on right now, we still seem to manage to think past the now, and envision the future. As we do this, please know that NAWBO-CA is here for you, as always, as a resource, a support system, a sounding board, and so much more.

This will be my last letter to you all as NAWBO-CA President. My term ends June 30. It’s been an honor to serve with and for you. It’s been inspirational for me to watch all the brilliant and talented women on this board accomplish amazing new milestones:

  • Advocacy: The “dream team” of Director of Public Policy Moreen Lane and Legislative Advisor Lori Kammerer, who have accomplished so much more that we’d ever hoped. Our goal was to grow the state-level visibility of NAWBO-CA as a key player on proposed public policy, whose perspective was invaluable and should be sought out for input and insight. I am pleased to say that this has come to pass, thanks in no small part to Reenie and Lori, and their dedicated Committee of chapter VPs of Public Policy across the state. NAWBO-CA has been asked multiple times to weigh in on key legislation throughout this past year. We’ve been able to mobilize quickly and concisely, proving that we can show up for our elected officials when it counts. See the below Advocacy update for the latest.


  • Marketing: With what seems to be effortless (yet I know it’s not, since I’m in marketing too and I know what it takes!) our Director of Marketing Amber Wallace has created, from the ground up, a statewide social media marketing advertising campaign that is geographically-focused and drives traffic (aka new membership leads) to your chapters. That’s the “marketing speak” – because of course these are so much more than “leads.” These are our colleagues and fellow women business owners who are not members yet. These are WBOs who need to know about us: our strength, our network, our power. Together, we can accomplish anything we focus on. So to me, and I know to you, the more our membership grows, the more WBOs we can help grow, scale, and succeed.


  • Amplification and Scaling: Gratitude also goes to our Director of Affiliates and Affinity Partners, Schenae Rourk. Schenae has created an excellent Affiity program. NAWBO-CA Affinity Partners provide exclusive member-only discounts and benefits that help our members increase their bottom line. Through these alliances, Affinity Partners reach out and influence decision makers, elevating their status as the “brand of choice” in delivering workplace and at-home solutions for women business owners. If you’re interested in becoming an Affinity Partner, complete this form and the committee will contact you. She also brought us a partnership with the deep resource website https://www.covid19biztools.com/ created by Jesse Torres and Sid Voorakkara, who held leadership roles under California Governor Brown's Administration at the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development. 


  • Insight: Thank you also for taking our updated COVID-19 survey in early May. The information you shared informs our advocacy efforts, our perspective, and our goals. Here are the latest topline results:
    • 21% of respondents are sole proprietors, 65% of our respondents employ 2-5, and 14% employ 22 or more.
    • 78% of you have experienced the impact of the novel coronavirus on your businesses, and have noticed a decline in your business in comparison to this same time period last year.
    • 50% of you expect a continued decline in business, while 42% said it was too early to tell
    • 65% of you said that as a result of novel coronavirus, you changed your business practices (up from the first survey)
    • 21% of you have temporarily laid off staff practices (up from the first survey)
    • 65% are reducing expenses practices (up from the first survey)
    • 7% are cutting your own hours (down from the last survey)
    • Of the 42% of you who applied for the EIDL loan, 66% received it
    • Of the almost 100% of you who applied for the PPP loan (or just the grant version of that loan) 85% of you have received the funds, and 15% were still awaiting it as of early May. The overall “degree of difficulty” on getting the loan was pegged at a 4.8 on a scale of 1 – 5 (easy to hard).
    • For the question: what is the surprise silver lining (if any) or a special success (if any) of that may have arisen for your business from the quarantine, you answered: team getting closer as they support each other during this time, more time to focus on overall strategy, the clutter and noise of pre COVID-19 has given way to time for deeper focus and clearer priorities
    • We asked what was keeping you up at night, and here are the top three things: maintaining staff morale, attracting/keeping business, and money – paying fixed costs not only for your business, but also for your families.
    • To maintain your well-being, the top 5 things you’re doing are: connecting with friends, talking to loved ones, watching Netflix/TV, enjoying drinks, and cleaning/doing home projects.


  • Resource Partners: We will be creating a partnership with Know Better World Foundation (KBWF) to create a series titled: Entrepreneur Enrichment. It will be a series of e-courses, based on the needs and interests of members, to help build confidence, boost creativity and improve decision-making abilities. The series will be available free to NAWBO Premier members. Look for more information on this in the coming weeks.


  • A Seat at the Table:  NAWBO-CA was invited to participate in the Small Business & Innovative Startups Recovery Working Group for the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA). I’ve attended 5 working group sessions already to share our needs and interests with this important committee. My work  on this committee will continue for the next year. As well, our Legislative Advisor Lori Kammerer was asked to serve on the ACA 5 Legislative Committee. She’s been instrumental as our voice on that committee, and we are proud of NAWBO-CA’s work in getting this key legislation through the Assembly (on June 10) and —as I write this we, with your help, calls, and emails — hope to get this through the Senate this week.


  • Leadership: Thank you to all our Board Members for your service and dedication. Special thanks goes to our Executive Committee members, who acted as my braintrust all year, on strategy, decision-making, vision, and so much more. Thank you (in alpha order): Immediate Past President Mindy Bortness, Secretary Lynnette Coverly, Treasurer Jennifer Dizon, President-Elect Vikita Poindexter and Vice President Amber Wallace. Thank you also to our full board (again, in alpha order): Director of Membership Kathy Clark, Director of Corporate Partners Laura Russell Jones, Legislative Advisor Lori Kammerer, Director of Public Policy Moreen (Reenie) Lane, Business Policy Advisor Shaila Rao Mistry, Director of Education Megan Rios, and Director of Affiliates & Affinity Partners Schenae Rourk,


  • Thank you to all the Chapter Leaders for all that you do, each and every day, to support your members. Your service and energy are seen, noted, and appreciated by all.


  • Thank you also to our wonderful administrative support team: Group Concepts. Founder (and WBO!) Andrea Casillas and the amazing Jenn and Heather on her team have been incredibly helpful and a definite part of our success. We appreciate you!

Looking forward, I am so excited for the next chapter of NAWBO-CA under our incoming President, Vikita Poindexter. Her experience in business and leadership is vast, her judgement is impeccable, and her dedication to making this state a better place for WBOs to do business through public policy is boundless. I look forward to serving as Immediate Past President and supporting Vikita in all ways needed.

See You at Propel 2020 Virtual!

This year Propel is a full day virtual conference of session blocks, activities, and networking on relevant, needed topics. Mark you calendars for Wednesday, July 29. Visit NAWBOpropel.org for updated info and to register. Hope to see you there!

Stay amazing, stay brilliant, and stay inspiring, my #NAWBOcolleagues!

Hilary Lentini

- President, NAWBO-CA

- Past President, NAWBO-LA

- Founder & Creative Director, Lentini Design & Marketing, Inc.; DBE, WBE, SBE, SB, SLB, EBE, VSBE

- Governor-Appointed Board Member, California Workforce Development Board

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