Reflections on the 2016 Women’s Business Conference

They say some are born leaders, and others become leaders…no matter the case, it was clear that every attendee at the National Women’s Business Conference hosted by NAWBO in Columbus, Ohio, exemplified leadership, which perfectly aligned with these year’s theme: Leading the Way.

Last month, women business owners from all over the country came together to gain insight and inspiration, to build powerful connections—both personal and professional—and to celebrate all the ways in which they are leading the way for women everywhere. From strong, empowering speakers to informational breakout sessions and local and national exhibitors, this year’s conference contained a multitude of channels for leading the way.

The busy and exciting exhibit hall was full of women business owners and corporate partners who have blazed the trails of business in fashion, technology, marketing, health, financial and more. Throughout the three days of exhibit hall exploration, these businesses led the way by sharing information, products and resources with attendees as well as with one another, forging new connections and expanding horizons.

Two keynote speakers embodied leadership and offered much insight and inspiration. Jenn Lim, Chief Happiness Officer and CEO of Delivering Happiness, led the first lunch session and lifted everyone up with her discussion of building a business based on the fundamentals that matter: “Happier employees = happier customers = more profitable company,” she says. Speaking about how many people feel disengaged from their jobs, she discovered that building up a comfortable and enjoyable company culture was the first step in increased profitability and higher overall success, and she shared this secret with avid listeners.

Conference goers were also treated to a truly unforgettable speech given by keynote speaker Dr. Tererai Trent, a trailblazer of social justice and beacon of light for women everywhere. From humble beginnings in rural Africa, she suffered due to cultural norms that kept her from pursuing an education. But due to her steadfast determination, hard work and sheer belief that anything is achievable, she has since earned multiple degrees and heads a global platform with world leaders, international businesses and audiences, where she advocates for universal access to quality education. All eyes were focused on Dr. Trent as she spoke of her past and the absolute importance of gaining freedom through education, the three powers of leadership and the power of mentorship, where she reminded everyone that real success is supporting and lifting each other up as women. “A successful woman is confident and empowered to see other women rise,” she says. “A successful woman knows that if another woman lights a candle, my light is not going to be diminished.”

This year, attendees also enjoyed an appropriate summation of the conference: A first-class Awards Gala, where NAWBO members from all walks of life were honored and recognized for their successes and for the ways in which they have led the way for all women business owners.

Mark your calendars and register now for WBC2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 15-17, 2017, featuring keynote speaker Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and most recently Big Magic! https://www.nawbo.org/national-womens-business-conference-2017

ATTENDEES SHARE HOW THEY’RE LEADING THE WAY

Katherine Chrisman

Vice President, Park Lane Jewelry

“After 25 years in my industry, I’m really focused on who’s coming behind me in general and what I can do to support and encourage other women blazing the same trails I have. I strive to strengthen the importance of interpersonal connections in the workplace through coaching. I know this next generation is all absorbed in technology, so I want to help coach and mentor them to remember that while sending an e-mail is easy, tech will never replace interpersonal interactions.”

Anne Freedman

CEO, Speakout, Inc.

“I’m always involved in the community and always looking to recruit new NAWBO members. Professionally, I run a speech coaching company and very recently created a do-it-yourself public speaking program to help those lacking time or for those on-the-go to feel more confident when speaking. It’s a simple platform anyone can use as tools to build their confidence.”

Sheila Mixon

Executive Director, Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council

“I feel I help aid as a resource to women business owners through helping to provide training to women-owned businesses. I advocate for their growth and success, because we really want to lift every woman up and help her follow her dreams.”

Susana Fonticoba

Marketing Specialist, Right Click Advantage

“I’ve started to get a lot more involved—I’m on the board of NAWBO-Central Jersey and I’ve taken a very active role. By doing so, I feel I’m helping other women work together to build each other up and act as a role model for my children, which is very important to me.”

Tina Greenbaum

LCSW Optimal Performance Coach, Mastery Under Pressure

“I teach a program (Mastery Under Pressure) to business owners in which they learn and practice how to manage their emotions in high-pressure situations. I feel I’m helping to lead the way because I’m helping others find how to be comfortable when performing under pressure, and this helps them to do and be their best.”

Ranjani Mohana

President & CEO, R Mo Business Solutions

“My business helps other women get certifications as business owners. I want to lift other women up and help them achieve their dreams and grow their business. I know they will benefit greatly from it, so I always discount NAWBO members because it isn’t about the funds but about helping other women to succeed.”

ATTENDEES SHARE THEIR MOST VALUABLE WBC TAKEAWAYS

Susana Fonticoba

“I will forever keep with me the leadership principles I learned this year. During the leadership sessions, we learned that any efforts, no matter how small, to help others in leading the way and through helping others will make a difference in the overall outcome. It’s a very powerful sentiment: If you help the other group up the hill first (help others first), you will achieve more together than we could alone.”

Ranjani Mohana

“Connecting with people from all over. I attended last year for my first time, and I was only a member for one month, so it really helped me see all of the great benefits of engagement and hearing the keynote speakers, so this year I knew how to be prepared. As a NAWBO board member, it truly helped me to see what information I can get from others through reaching out and networking. This year, during the leadership training, I learned how to better communicate and find good times to talk, and I was able to meet women from chapters all over. NAWBO is incredibly valuable as I travel—connecting with NAWBO members in the area that I’m in is a wonderful way to utilize the benefits of my membership. I love NAWBO, because it helps me be confident about who I am and where I’m going.”

Matina Zenios

President, Artina Promotional Products

“The fact that anything in achievable. Dr. Tererai Trent’s keynote speech this year was so powerful and inspiring, and it touched on the fact that anything is achievable. It was a really, really incredibly powerful speech, and I’ve seen a lot of speeches! She was uplifting, and many of us were tearing up.”

Speak Your Mind

*