As the CEO of a fast-growing technology company my days are filled to the brim with meetings, phone calls, emails and doing research, often extending well into the evening hours. As the CEO and leader of your company, I am sure you can relate to the seemingly endless demands on your time. I’m sure you can also relate to that sense of isolation, loneliness, moments of overwhelm and even defeat that seem to come out of nowhere. But these are precisely my reasons ‘why’. Allow me to explain.
For several years now I’ve been increasingly involved with the Minnesota chapter of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners). Earlier this week we held one of my favorite events of the year; our annual NAWBO Achieve Awards held on October 28th. These awards are open to women business leaders and CEOs in the region and each year we encourage the greater community to nominate a woman for recognition.
Why do I think this event is so great? First, it’s exciting to recognize and celebrate other women’s success. We know how hard business owners work, we know what it takes to build a solid business, and we know that at times it seems like no one notices. It’s so inspiring to hear the winners’ stories of challenges overcome and successes achieved.
Second, winning one of these awards can be a true pivot point for a business. I know firsthand the impact of winning. I was honored to receive the Innovative Business of the Year Award back in 2008, and I remember clearly the impact it had on me and our business. It was the catalyst that transformed us from a struggling startup to an established, respected business. It was partly the award itself, but more the recognition by the community that seemed to give us credibility. It was a true turning point for which I will always be grateful.
Why do I think NAWBO is so great? That’s easy to answer. As a woman business owner, it seems like you have no one to talk to about your business, no one who really ‘gets it’. Remember the isolation, loneliness and overwhelm I mentioned at the beginning? They are a reality of business. I like to refer to our chapter as a sisterhood. I encourage the women business owners I meet to ‘lean in’ to yourself and ‘lean in’ to NAWBO where you will find a sounding board and a support system as you grow your business.
Why do I invest my time and energy in NAWBO? Many years ago, I attended a NAWBO event and remember coming away from that event really excited about achieving the dream of growing my business. At the event, I had collected a sizable file of business cards. Years later, while cleaning out a file drawer, I opened that file to discover that I had done business with every one of those companies.
Now, as president of our chapter, I truly love helping other women achieve their dream. That’s my ‘why’.