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Happy Thanksgiving! If you were one of the 43.4 million Americans who took to the roads and skies to be together with loved ones this holiday, I hope you had a pleasant journey and are enjoying a restful break.
In honor of Thanksgiving, in this B’s Notions I’d like to take a moment to reflect on this past year and give thanks to the many ways in which being part of WBENC and its wider community has made it such an enriching one. This was a particularly special year for me personally as at the start of the year I was named a 2014 WBENC “Star.” It was a great honor to stand up alongside the 13 other WBENC “Stars” from across the country in New Orleans back in March and very symbolic in terms of what WBENC represents in terms of being a source of support, motivation and inspiration to always drive me forward.
Another WBENC highlight of each year is its annual conference, this time held in June in Philadelphia. Keynote speakers at WBENC events are guaranteed not to disappoint, and this time was no different, with Randi Zuckerburg speaking – and at times singing – about her book and website, Dot Complicated. I also got the opportunity to pay it forward a little by participating in an IBM-hosted panel discussion on strategy-to-execution best practices. For me, an important part of being an active member within WBENC is the opportunity to give back, for example as a mentor to younger or less experienced WBEs, and I look forward to taking more of that on in 2015. Having had my own mentor earlier in my career, I know it can bring real value, and research supports that. According to data from a 2014 UPS survey reported here, 70 percent of small businesses that receive mentoring survive more than five years – double the survival rate of non-mentored businesses.
Back in September, we were proud to support Astra Women’s Business Alliance (the regional partner organization (RPO) providing WBENC certification in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska) for their two-day Connect to Success event. Hosted by Chevron at their San Ramon campus, over 200 attendees came together for this networking and matchmaking opportunity. We look forward to supporting Astra in the coming years.
Finally, last week I attended the WBENC Forum in Washington D.C. and as we discussed 2015 Forum goals, I was struck again by what fantastic work WBENC is doing. Next year looks to be busier than ever with a focus on even more networking and matchmaking events, increased WBE engagement and strategic input opportunities – I can’t wait!
Warmest wishes to you this Thanksgiving, and here’s to a successful 2015!
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