Women Business Owners Benefit from NAWBO Mentoring Program 

by Sandra Abbey

Each year, the Phoenix Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners has provided one of the Valley’s only business mentoring programs that is designed and facilitated exclusively for women business owners. Hundreds of women have benefitted as mentors or mentees. Mentees develop a business plan, learn from experts in the community and form masterminding partnerships with experienced mentors and other program participants. 

The nine-month-long program has been sponsored by a number of organizations over the years and is currently seeking partners to sponsor the 2018-2019 program. A long-established relationship with the Maricopa County Small Business Development Center has been a mutually beneficial community partnership over the years, introducing women business owners who participate in the NAWBO mentoring program to business development tools and one-on-one counseling. 

Notable NAWBO mentoring program chairs over the last several years have included SBDC counselors Nancy Sanders and Paula Wittekind, as well as experienced NAWBO business owners Cindy Gordan and Sara Regester.  I am joining these notable women as program chair for 2018-19.   I am an experienced business strategy and results consultant who plans to bring my unique style of authentic, supportive accountability and sense of community to the program. My goals are to help more mentors and mentees achieve their goals of generating jobs, increasing revenue, serving more customers and clients in the community, and developing a leadership legacy for the future.

The Phoenix Chapter has received accolades from the national NAWBO organization related to the mentoring program, and an additional goal for the coming year is to develop a turnkey program guide that can be shared with other NAWBO chapters around the country. We know this program is producing incredible results for our mentees and mentors here in the Valley, but we don’t want this to be a best-kept secret any longer.  We look forward to role modeling the program nationally. 

To make a bigger impact this year, applications to the mentoring program will be open to both NAWBO members and non-members. Applications will be available in early August and must be submitted to the mentoring committee by Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.  Mentors and mentees will be matched and the program will kick off in September and run through May 2019, culminating with a celebration of the business and personal goals and accomplishments of each mentee and mentor.  

Each month of the program, a subject matter expert speaks on a different topic related to developing and growing a business.  Additionally, a monthly facilitated mastermind group for mentees and mentors focuses on implementing the business building topics within each mentee’s own business and using this information to achieve her individual developmental goals.  Many mentees and mentors meet outside these formal sessions and form lasting business relationships and friendships. 

Woman business owners who want to participate in the next Mentoring Program must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a vision, goal and commitment to developing their current business or business idea;
  • Have a high level of commitment to the nine-month program (September 2018 to May 2019);
  • Be willing to dedicate 7-10 hours each month to attend topic sessions, mastermind meetings with their mentors, and complete assignments directly related to the development of their business;
  • Be a current business owner for a minimum of one year (recommended, but not required); and
  • Active NAWBO members receive a discount on the mentoring program; however, this year the program will be offered to non-members.

Mentors should have the following qualifications:

  1. Will commit to attend the September and October speaker sessions and the monthly mastermind sessions October through May; 
  2. Have at least three years’ experience as a business owner, or other equivalent experience; and
  3. Have a proven business development and growth record.

Sandra Abbey is the NAWBO Mentoring Program chair and owner of Leader Discovery. For more information, visit www.nawbophx.org.

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