Member Spotlight – Reflect

Dec 5, 2023

Life as a woman business owner is incredibly busy, and there’s so much power in “the pause”. It’s an opportunity to identify what went well over the last year and consider how to replicate your successes in the future. It’s also a time to identify where you experienced difficulties and think through what you can do to overcome these and improve. Share your reflections on the past year.

Nikki Bravo
Owner of Momentum Coffee

2023 has been a whirlwind! I have been hustling, expanding the business, sorting finances, wearing all the hats—wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend … you name it.

But what I am truly proud of is making the conscious effort to break away from the endless business tasks to spend quality time with my young daughter and husband. I’ve never once regretted the times we took a quick trip or went to the theater or just watched a movie on the couch versus me responding to one more email. The joy, the laughs, the memories—it’s the soul fuel I need on this wild entrepreneurial ride.

It’s these moments that hit home, reminding me why balance matters. Nailing it in business plus the personal connection are what fill my heart with warmth and purpose.

Allison Cummins
Founder & Managing Principal of Blue Outcomes

Business owners often talk about finding the balance between working “on” the business and getting caught up in the day-to-day operations. At the start of 2023, I consciously decided to step back and focus more on the big picture, on growing the business itself. After being fully involved in the nitty-gritty details for four years, taking that leap to concentrate on business development felt like a significant shift. It was a mix of fear and excitement, but deep down, I knew it was the right move.

Throughout the year, I dedicated myself to laying a solid foundation for growth. This involved creating effective brand marketing materials, fostering meaningful connections with clients and referral partners, and simplifying our approach to the industries we serve. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, and it certainly wasn’t always fun, but I had a fantastic support system that kept me going. As we head into 2024, I’m optimistic and confident that Blue Outcomes is on track for significant growth next year!

Tiffany Hopkins
CEO of Shäctee Engineering

As a business owner, there’s not much time to take pause and reflect on where we’ve been. So often, we’re so focused on looking forward to new opportunities, new visions and new dreams that we forget to celebrate where we’ve been and the progress we’ve made.

As I look back over this past year, there’s so much to be thankful for, but also, so many lessons to be learned. We have the most amazing and dedicated team – every person contributes something valuable and unique to our success. They’ve put their heart and souls into this business, and I couldn’t be more thankful for their faith. We continue to grow during lean times in our industry and we’re learning how to better anticipate and prepare for the ups and downs associated with the political climate (a big and valuable lesson).

Life as an entrepreneur is challenging, demanding and full of lessons – and I just can’t imagine life any other way. This year’s reflection is one of gratitude that I took the leap and have had the great fortune of being an entrepreneur and leading an amazing business.

Shian Jno-Lewis
Owner of The Tidy Queens

Reflecting on 2023, it’s been a transformative journey marked by significant achievements and valuable lessons. One highlight has been the strategic move to fortify our team with the addition of a skilled Business Development Manager. This decision not only streamlined our operations but also opened avenues for new opportunities, contributing to our overall success.

Embracing sustainability was another key triumph. Initiating the process to become Green Seal Certified not only aligns with our values but also resonates with an environmentally conscious customer base. This shift not only enhances our brand reputation but underscores our commitment to responsible business practices.

The decision to expand into Charlotte, NC, stands out as a testament to our ambition and growth. Opening a new office allows us to tap into a broader market, fostering increased reach and client engagement. It’s a strategic move that positions us for sustained success in a new geographical area.

However, challenges have been part of the journey. Managing increasing debt has been a hurdle, underscoring the importance of financial planning and efficiency. This realization prompts a commitment to more robust financial strategies in the future, ensuring the sustainable growth of The Tidy Queens.

As I navigate the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, these reflections serve as a roadmap for the future. Here’s to continued growth, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence in the years to come!

Ginna Ryan
Principal of Mauge, Inc.

2023 was another interesting year. I was so anxious to be fully “post-Covid” but our work in the real estate industry seemed to be trailing some other sectors. The upside to the slowdown is that we had some additional time to focus on internal initiatives. We solidified our product offerings and strategic partnerships while we continued to streamline processes and procedures and prepared ourselves for the work to come. And I don’t think there has ever been a time that our team has been more important to me, personally. I’ve always felt that our work has been a team effort, but there has been growth in the downturns. Trying to align “what’s best for the business” in relation to “what’s best for the team or the individual” has revealed what’s important in the relationships that we’ve nurtured, both internally and externally. NAWBO has provided the space to ask the sometimes-difficult questions about running a business and being an entrepreneur, without the fear of judgement. I am grateful for that space.

More Stories

Member Spotlight – Moments

Share a defining moment in your journey as a woman business owner and how it impacted you personally or professionally. Melissa Lagowski Founder/CEO/Queen Bee Big Buzz Idea Group There are so many defining moments in our history, but one of the biggest came in 2017,...

Message From Our President April 2024

Dear NAWBO Chicago Members, As we step into April – the beginning of spring, growth and transformation – our theme for this month is “Bold Moves.” What better way to embody this idea than by diving into the upcoming Women Mean Business®: NAWBO Chicago’s Regional...

Member Spotlight – Confidence

As a woman business owner, what tips can you share that help you remain confident and focused amidst the various demands of female entrepreneurship? How do you navigate challenges without letting them shake your determination and repurpose those setbacks to your...

Message From Our President March 2024

I'm thrilled to kick off another exciting month as your chapter president! With each passing day, we draw nearer to the highly anticipated Women Mean Business®: NAWBO Chicago’s 41st Annual Achievement Luncheon & Regional Entrepreneurial Conference, slated for...

Member Spotlight – Talent

Employees are the backbone of businesses, particularly small businesses. A recent SCORE study shows that for small business owners, 60.7 percent rank hiring the right talent as their top challenge. Meanwhile, 62 percent say they struggle to keep employees engaged and...

Message From Our President – February 2024

As we enter the second month of the new year, I’m reminded of the goals and growth we aspire to as business owners for ourselves, our businesses, and our communities. To achieve our goals, we must have the confidence and tenacity to see them through.  Confidence is...

Member Spotlight – Growth

The new year is the perfect time to adopt a growth mindset where you believe that you – and anyone in your organization – can level up with a commitment to hard work and determination. How will you use growth to power all your dreams in 2024? Caroline ReneeFounder...

Message From Our President – January 2024

Happy New Year! As we usher in the promising possibilities of 2024, I am enthusiastic about the incredible journey we have ahead of us as a community. Growth, both personal and professional, is at the core of our mission as women entrepreneurs. It is the force that...

Skip to content