When I first visited NAWBO Phoenix back in 2004, I knew I had found my tribe. It was my district manager who had handed me a newspaper clipping a few weeks earlier and thought I might be interested in the group. I didn’t hesitate to become involved and started volunteering on a committee, and, finally, the board! I am so grateful to have the women of NAWBO in my life — they are my friends, my mentors and women who just get me.
I found at NAWBO, you’re surrounded by women and men who understand the joys and struggles of being a business owner — they’re some of the most supportive people I could have met on this journey. Last year I saw that district manager at a function and have felt such gratitude for my experience in this organization, I just had to ask him, “Do you even know what a gift it was that you gave me five years ago? Thank you. Just thank you.”
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) has a mission that propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide by working to:
STRENGTHEN the wealth-creating capacity of our members and promote economic development;
CREATE innovative and effective changes in the business culture;
BUILD strategic alliances, coalitions, and affiliations; and
TRANSFORM public policy and influence opinion makers.
Last year we based our entire focus on the mission above, as we will continue to do this year but with the addition of our 2016/17 theme: “#NAWBOFirst.” This theme has several meanings, but mostly it’s that we put our membership first. This is a member-led organization; we are here to serve them. NAWBO is so much more than just a place for networking; it’s THE place for women business owners to reach their highest potential through fostering individual and professional growth and providing the education that is not available anywhere else, public policy awareness, and business growth opportunities in an environment that is truly uplifting and supportive.
Another #NAWBOFirst is when we started back in 1975 in Washington DC. Twelve brave women set out to challenge the business landscape and fight for gender equality in business ownership. We were one of the first women’s business groups to formally organize, and today we’re the unified voice for the 10 million women business owners across the nation, with more than 5,000 members and 60 chapters. Our national organization is stronger than it’s been since our strongest advocacy days at the beginning of this great movement and we are fortunate to have the power and strength of our large organization with us on this journey.
Lastly, we are #NAWBOFirst because we should be supporting each other as women in business, and supporting the male-owned businesses that support us. We have a member presence to pull from throughout Arizona and also access to the national website — think #NAWBOFirst whenever you need a service or product in your personal or business lives!
I am honored to serve as the president of NAWBO Phoenix this year, and I ask that you join me on this journey making #NAWBOFirst a priority this year for Arizona Women Business Owners. If you are interested in membership or becoming a corporate partner, please reach out to me or any one of our directors.
—Phaedra Earhart, 2016 – 2017 President NAWBO Phoenix
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