Even a pandemic can’t stop the women of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and their community of supporters.
That was clear by the turnout for NAWBO’s first-ever virtual National Women’s Business Conference (WBC) with the theme of “Brave Is…” in a year that marked the 45th anniversary of NAWBO as well as the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave most women the right to vote.
As Jill Calabrese Bain, managing director, internal and corporate communications for Bank of America (WBC presenting sponsor for the eighth year), says: “Brave is all of the women who came before us and made it possible for us to be here today. Brave is all of you who are paving the way for the next generation of business owners. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine all the accomplishments that are to come in the next 45 and 100 years.”
A fireside chat followed between Eva Saha, professional emcee and moderator, and Glennon Doyle, author, activist and founder of Together Rising. It was part of six live, interactive conference days filled with keynote speakers like Glennon, breakout sessions, workshops, networking, exhibit hall, awards gala and more.
Glennon, who recently released her latest bestselling book Untamed, shared about how for a long time, she felt like a “dormant cheetah with lipstick on.” “We are hiding from each other the very thing we’re meant to share and carry,” she explains. “It’s the shame about the pain in life that takes us out of the game.”
For Glennon, who opened up about everything from her broken marriage to her struggle with abandoning herself, truth telling in her writing proved life changing. “The only way to successfully parent, partner and love is to fully emerge.”
She went on to speak about what women are being charged with right now—juggling homeschooling, crisis parenting, keeping businesses going and more. “It’s not just hard, it’s impossible,” she says. “We’re so busy asking the world what it wants from us that we don’t stop and take the time to ask ourselves what we want from the world.”
She encouraged women to use this time deliberately and intentionally to create the life they really want for themselves—and to not go back to “normal” after COVID-19.
(Pictured l-r: Dr. Yasmin Davidds, Multicultural Women Executive Leadership Foundation, Rebecca Fyffe, Landmark Pest Management; bottom: Dr. Bertrice Berry, Lecturer & Comedienne)
Another keynote featuring several leading ladies of business was equally inspiring. They discussed obstacles they overcame, failures they learned from, wins that propelled their success and what bravery means to them.
Gail Becker, founder and CEO of CAULIPOWER and 2019 NAWBO Woman Business Owner of the Year, shares, “One thing I think I did right was I wasn’t afraid to admit I didn’t know it all. Part of being a successful entrepreneur is being free to admit this and then hiring around it.”
Amanda Spann, founder of The App Accelerator, built on the concept, saying, “You’re not always qualified to do things, but sometimes you’re just called to do them. When you have new ideas and projects, they’re on your spirit for a reason. Lean into your tribe and community to make these things happen.”
Other tips from these leading ladies, who also included Usha Boddapu, CEO of ESOLVIT, and Dr. Yasmin Davidds, CEO of the Multicultural Women Executive Leadership Foundation, Women’s Institute of Negotiation, were:
- Bet on yourself.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
- Don’t be afraid to fail.
- Be curious to learn.
- Know you are enough—and leverage that.
WBC attendees agreed this year’s event was as near in-person as you can get and left them feeling even braver. “The theme this year ‘Brave Is…’ could not better exemplify who we are as women business owners,” says Vikita Poindexter, CEO of Poindexter Consulting Group, LLC and president of NAWBO California. “However, the year 2020, this theme resonated more than we could have ever imagined.”
“To come together and support each other, laugh, cry and share our trials and tribulations in this incredible virtual world was extremely powerful,” she adds. “The conference displayed our rich history, where we are today, what our focus should be going forward and how the next generation is blazing paths as well. It allowed us to be authentic and show our strength and resilience. NAWBONation is the definition of what brave is.”
And that’s not stopping anytime soon.
Click here to read about the four amazing women entrepreneurs who were honored at this year’s virtual awards gala, including our 2020 Woman Business Owner of the Year.
Photo Credit: Karianne Munstedt Portrait