NAWBO Awards

The NAWBO® Annual Awards honors the accomplishments and contributions of exemplary women who have led the way in the women's business community and is building a legacy for the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Nominations Open - 2017 Woman Business Owner of the Year Award

The NAWBO National Woman Business Owner of the Year Award recognizes an entrepreneur who excels at strategy, operations, finances, problem solving, overcomes adversity and gives back to her community.

To be eligible for this award the nominee must be a NAWBO Premier member who is not currently a member of the National Board of Directors. The Woman Business Owner of the Year award is open to any woman business owner that owns at least 25% of her business and actively runs the day-to-day operations. The award winner must be available to accept the award in person at NAWBO's 2017 Women's Business Conference in Minneapolis, MN October 15-17 2017. Click here for more information and to apply or submit a nominee.

Nominations Open - 2017 Dr. Tererai Trent Award

Dr. Tererai Trent Award recognizes a woman who encompasses the characteristics displayed and practiced by Dr. Trent - A desire and focus on serving others, a voice toward equality and empowerment for women and girls, motivates others to dream and take action, and uses her influence to give back and serve.  

The Dr. Tererai Trent award will be presented at the National Women's Business Conference Awards Gala on October 17 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Click Here for more information and to make nomination.

The Susan Hager Legacy Award

As NAWBO celebrates our 35th Anniversary, 2010 marks the establishment of a new NAWBO award named in honor of NAWBO’s founding president, Susan Hager (1974-75). The women’s community lost a great visionary when she passed away in 2008 as Susan was a stalwart champion of women’s economic empowerment and someone who built a legacy for others to follow. The Susan Hager Legacy Award gives honor to a person or group of persons who, through their advocacy and actions, have helped to establish the legacy of women’s entrepreneurship for future generations. Recipient is a current or past NAWBO member.

The Gillian Rudd Business Leadership Award
The NAWBO Gillian Rudd Business Leadership Award recognizes a women business owner who has made a significant contribution to the status and visibility of women-owned firms and to the empowerment of women entrepreneurs both nationally and internationally. This award was named after Gillian Rudd, who served as NAWBO’s national president (1987-88) and contributed both strategy and personal charm to NAWBO’s early political advocacy activities. Gillian was also instrumental in helping NAWBO establish the National Foundation for Women Business Owners—now known as the Center for Women’s Business Research. Recipient is a current or past NAWBO member.

NAWBO Hall of Fame Awards

Every year, during the National Women’s Business Conference hosted by NAWBO, our organization is proud to present Hall of Fame Awards to some of the most dynamic and significant women business owners and advocates in the U.S. Every honoree is a trailblazer in her own right and reflects the legacy of power and success of the women’s business community at large.


Congratulations to the following Hall of Fame Awards recipients:


  • Bonnie St John - Hall of Fame
  • Leigh Anne Tuohy - Hall of Fame
  • Suzanne Pease - Unsung Hero Award


  • Erin Andrew, assistant administrator for Women’s Business Ownership U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Muffy Davis, Paralympic gold medalist and motivational speaker
  • Susan Duffy, executive director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College
  • Katherine Kallinis Berman, co-founder of Georgetown Cupcake and star of TLC’s DC Cupcakes
  • Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, co-founder of Georgetown Cupcake and star of TLC’s DC Cupcakes
  • JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC’s Your Business and co-founder of
  • Susan Solovic, THE Small Business Expert


  • Charlotee Beers, first-ever woman CEO of top advertising agency and author of I’d Rather Be In Charge
  • Alexis Maybank, co-founder of the Gilt Groupe
  • Gina Rudan, president and CEO of Genuine Insights, Inc.
  • Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of the Gilt Groupe


  • Kathy Ireland, chief designer and CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide
  • Katrina Markoff, owner, founder and chocolatier of Vosges Haut-Chocolat
  • Karen Mills, administrator of the Small Business Administration


  • Azure Antoinette, poet, spoken word artist and millennial and arts education advocate
  • Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder and CEO, ACT-1 Group
  • Koni Kim, president and CEO, Koni Corporation
  • Maria de Lourdes Sobrino, founder and CEO, Lulu’s Dessert Corporation
  • Lynda Weinman, co-founder,


  • Honorable Mary Landrieu, chair, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Virginia Littlejohn, president, CEO and co-founder of Quantum Leaps and past NAWBO National present
  • Honorable Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Honorable Olympia Snowe, ranking member, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship

The Susan Hager Legacy Award

  • 2015: Patty DeDominic, DeDominic & Associates
  • 2010: Virginia Littlejohn, Quantum Leaps, Inc.

The Gillian Rudd Business Leadership Award

  • 2010: Dr. Terry Neese, Institute for the Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW)

National Member of the Year

  • 2009: Diane Sears, DiVerse Media LLC
  • 2008: Therese Smyntek, Everything Nature
  • 2007: Lola Kakes, Professional Administrative Services, Inc.
  • 2006: Diane Sears, DiVerse Media, LLC