Since 1938, National Business Women’s Week has been celebrated during the third full week in October every year. This year marks the 81st year of NBWW! According to Cheryl Grazier, executive director of the Missouri Business Women’s Council (2002), the purpose of National Business Women’s Week is “to recognize women who have been the cornerstone of working in business in the United States in the past and to examine how far women in business have come.”1
Today there are 7.2 million majority-owned, privately-held, women-owned businesses in the United States. These firms employ 7.3 million people and generate $1.1 trillion in sales.2 NBWW provides us all with an opportunity to call attention to women entrepreneurs, facilitate discussions on the needs of working women, recognize the progress and achievements women have made as business owners and entrepreneurs, and raise awareness of the resources available for working women in their communities.
One of the great resources available to women entrepreneurs is the National Association of Women Business Owners(NAWBO). Founded in 1975, NAWBO is the unified voice of over 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States representing the fastest growing segment of the economy. This organization aims to propel women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide.3
I am the current president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of NAWBO. I have been a NAWBO member for 20 years! I am no stranger to circulating in the world of Women Business Owners. My business is 29 years old. I just got back last week from the NAWBO National Women’s Business Conference in Jacksonville, Florida and it was a fabulous event! It amazes me how there is so much to learn no matter what stage your business is in and how many valuable layers there are to attend the NAWBO National Women’s Conference.
The conference theme for 2019 was “Our Time is NOW” – I love this theme because we all have to act on the “now”. We need to be present and attentive to each other so that we can lift each other up and help make connections for each other. We need to be proactive in seeking out new business opportunities. We need to pay act on what we feel in our guts are actions that we need to take and not put them off!
As business owners, we are leaders – one of the most powerful statements I heard during the conference last week was, “Good leaders know when to say yes, great leaders know when to say no!”
One of the keynote speakers for the conference was Sophia Amoruso (founder of Nasty Gal and author of #GirlBoss). I have to admit that I had absolutely no idea who she was. Literally the day before I was going to leave for the conference, my 27 year old daughter called me to tell me that she noticed on one of my fellow Philadelphia NAWBO members LinkedIn pages that Sophia was going to be one of the keynotes! I said, “Oh yeah, I have no idea who she is, do you know her?”
She told me yes, and that she had read her book a few years ago. I then shared that I could take her book with me to the conference and possibly get it signed for her as I was going to be able to participate in a Meet & Greet with Sophia. So, since I was traveling with the book, I decided that I might as well read it (started it in the plane ride to Jacksonville).
I actually enjoyed the book, and found it very insightful! I absolutely loved Sophia’s fireside chat at the conference – she has a lot of grit, humor and is very inspirational. I am grateful that I was able to read and learn from a book that was not even on my radar.
One of my biggest take-aways from reading Sophia’s book was that it gave me insight into the mindset of a young adult in the business world! We all can learn so much from each other regardless of our age – I am so grateful to have so many business women that are a part of my tribe.