|Some days, it’s very easy to feel alone as a business owner. The buck always stops in your office, regardless of how much wishing and hoping that it will detour to another location down the hall. It is just one part of the joy and pain of entrepreneurship.
Fortunately, on other days, I feel like I am part of a small army of businesswomen, with a platoon marching alongside, each carrying similar responsibilities, challenges, and ultimately, rewards. Monday was this kind of a day for me. Let me explain . . .
FACT: There are 1.3 million women business owners in the state of California. This is the fastest-growing segment of the business community. REALITY: This number is SO big it is almost meaningless to me. I don’t know 1.3 million women business owners.
What IS meaningful to me: the two dozen women business owners who gathered Monday in Long Beach at the NAWBO-California board meeting. This group, which meets three times a year, is a consortium of all the NAWBO chapters in California – currently 8, soon to be 9, stretching from Sacramento to San Diego. Together, we represented more than 1,400 women business owners in California. That’s a healthy chunk of the 9,000+ NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) members in the nearly 90 chapters throughout the United States.
We talked, we laughed, we even gently argued once or twice. NAWBO-California board members, plus at least one representative from each California chapter, conferred on which public policy issues in Sacramento were most critical. We offered up best practices to each other that have worked wonders in our own chapters. True, what works in San Francisco doesn’t always fly in Orange County, and what drives Los Angeles isn’t always the best idea for Ventura. But fortunately, through our commonalities, we could reach out and help each other – and all the women business owners we represented.
Earlier this summer on this blog, I posted my thoughts on the national NAWBO conference in Arizona: a very inspiring, huge collection of women from every walk of life. Today, my thoughts are more localized in California, but no less inspiring. After the formal meeting, I chatted over wine with two fascinating brand-new friends – Jane Skeeter and Sonia Cohen. Jane is an artistic woman whose company, UltraGlas, is a highly successful architectural glass company thriving no doubt due to her unusual dual left brain-right brain strengths. Sonia, whose charming accent quickly gave away her South African origins, thoroughly enjoys a well-respected advertising specialties business, Cohen Marketing International. Besides running their businesses, both are newly elected NAWBO chapter presidents (Los Angeles and Ventura), no small task.
Indeed, it’s hard to feel alone as a woman business owner when you have at your fingertips a group of powerful, HELPFUL, women who are eager to share good ideas, commiserate on setbacks, and become good friends. If you are a woman business owner, anywhere in the country, and haven’t checked out NAWBO yet, take a look. nawbo.org.