A Message From Our President | NAWBO

What a crazy year it has been! We kicked off the first half of the year with an unprecedented virus pandemic that shuttered the economy, sickened thousands, and has kept us indoors for months on end. Just when it appeared that businesses were going to begin reopening, the riots and protesting over the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter created another undue burden to those companies affected in one way or another by the looting in or around their own neighborhoods.

Looking back, I can’t help but think about how many women entrepreneurs felt alone, frustrated and saddened by what they were seeing in the media while watching their businesses caught up in a situation that – through no fault of their own – set them back once again.

I am no expert on the virus or on issues of social justice, but I do know what it felt like when I lost over 90% of my business to the pandemic. During the first week, I panicked. I feared losing my business completely and I was overwhelmed with worry for my employees. When the protests began, another wave of emotions settled in as I asked myself, “Can it get any worse than this?”

With mixed emotions coming from all directions, I paused to consider what I could do at this very important moment that can make a difference. I already had the support I needed to get through this from my mentor and coach, and from my sisterhood and community through NAWBO. But what could I do for other women business owners who didn’t have either of those support systems in place?

In my installation speech I spoke about not fitting in at first when I joined NAWBO, but how I quickly realized that it really wasn’t about not having others who looked like me in the room: It was about allowing myself the opportunity to stand with other women who had the same common interests. Could it be that I also felt this way because I, too, have faced racial discrimination? Regardless of the answer, my NAWBO membership provided me with unlimited opportunities to learn and network with other women, and to remain strong under life’s unexpected circumstances. For that reason, I have chosen “Together and Stronger” as my theme for the 2020-2021 calendar year.

NAWBO was established 45 years ago to propel women to excellence and to be the unified voice of over 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States, representing the fastest growing segment of the economy. It represents the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries. Yes, I said all female entrepreneurs. As the Number One chapter in the US, we want to invite all women – especially those of color – to join our family. This moment is the perfect time to join an organization that really cares about its members. As we continue to face similar challenges in our businesses and at home, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that we step out of our comfort zone and expand our reach to not only a select few, but to the masses of women business owners that work hard to build up their communities.

As your new president, I cannot tell you how excited I am to lead this chapter. As I reflect on how and where I grew up, who would have imagined that a girl raised in Englewood and Little Village to a single mother of six, would be leading an organization like NAWBO Chicago. I am humbled to be working with a dynamic board that is ready and willing to serve ALL women owned businesses in Chicago. Collectively we are committed to increasing the diversity of our membership and board, bringing in programming that reflects the needs of our members, and standing by and supporting our members when they need us most.

I ask that you take a leap of faith and continue to support NAWBO, persistently invite your colleagues to join. and from time to time, to take a step back from your business and join us on a zoom Happy Hour, Connects meeting, or one of our Mastermind groups. It is here that you will see us TOGETHER AND STRONGER!


Elizabeth Colón
NAWBO Board President
Metaphrasis Language & Cultural Solutions, LLC

Related Posts

A Message From Our President: Minding...
April 07, 2021

Happy April! With some doses of warmer weather and stretches with real sunshine, I hope you are...

A Message from Our President: People...
March 31, 2021

Happy March! We are so excited (and relieved) that Spring is finally upon us! The theme this month...

Our Most Important Asset: Our People
March 17, 2021

At NAWBO, we know our most important asset is our people—the amazingly talented and diverse women...

Think Inclusive from the Start
February 17, 2021

The positive impacts of diversity and inclusion (D&I) are clear and run deep. In fact, we’ve...

A Message from Our President: Think...
February 03, 2021

If January wasn’t the “Fresh Start” to 2021 you were expecting, that’s okay! The beauty of fresh...

Member Spotlight: Ashley Logan
February 03, 2021

ASHLEY LOGAN Founder & CEO, Yakkety Yak   When Ashley Logan started in content marketing in...

A Message From Our President: Fresh...
February 02, 2021

Happy New Year! We can’t believe it’s already 2021, but we’re so glad to leave 2020 behind. Our...

Here’s to Fresh Starts!
January 20, 2021

“I want every day to be a fresh start on expanding what is possible.”  ―Oprah Winfrey   There’s...

Driven By Purpose
December 17, 2020

Several months into this year’s pandemic in the U.S., a Forbes article reported that a lot of...

A Message From Our President
December 04, 2020

  The days are getting shorter and colder, but we still have time left in this year. For many...

Let's Take A Retirement Test Drive
November 24, 2020

As a new year approaches, you are likely putting plans in place for your future. With the...

Positively In the Flow
November 19, 2020

  Quite simply, cash flow—the money flowing in and out of our businesses each month—is...

NAWBO Chicago Logo
As The NAWBO National Conference 2020...
November 02, 2020

To me, being Brave is being Courageous.  To meet the challenges that we face every day as business...

Keep Your Eyes on the Road Ahead
October 29, 2020

You know how a good driver keeps their eyes on the road ahead? That’s how we need to think about...

Not Fearless, Just Brave
Not Fearless, Just Tremendously Brave
October 29, 2020

  It’s not what you learn from an experience, but how it changes you. And I know I speak for so...

NAWBO Chicago Logo
As a small business owner, what signs...
October 19, 2020

For my business, I had a lot of clients who were skeptical of taking classes online even though it...

Continuing the Vision and Legacy
August 07, 2020

In 1975, there were no business organizations with membership open to women entrepreneurs, so a...

A Message From Our President
August 07, 2020

In writing my final newsletter, it’s hard to believe a year has already passed since I was inducted...

In the Right Place, at the Right Time
August 07, 2020

  The world feels like it literally changed overnight. Now a few months into the COVID-19...

The Diversity of Membership
August 07, 2020

One of the beauties of being a NAWBO member is the diversity of its membership.  Not only is it a...