Public Policy 101 Series | NAWBO

NAWBO Advocacy


Public Policy 101 Series

The Public Policy 101 Series is designed to provide NAWBO chapters and members with the information and resources they need to effectively engage in public policy and advocacy. It is our hope that this step-by-step series will guide you through the process of preparing and executing a public policy strategy. If you find that you require additional information or have questions about this series or any other public policy matters, please email Joy Lutes at

Lesson 1: Why Advocate? 

You are the expert in running your business.  You know what helps and what hinders your success. 

Through public policy advocacy, you have the opportunity to impact change in your community and across the country. 

But sometimes public policy can seem tedious and difficult to navigate; like an ‘insiders only’ club.

NAWBO is your voice in Washington, D.C. and state capitals all over the nation making sure that your ideas and opinions are heard. 

Your voice matters to us.

When you join NAWBO you have the opportunity to weigh in on the business issues impacting not just yourself but also the women entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow. Advocacy is a great way to give back!

You may have encountered obstacles along the way in starting and growing your business. At NAWBO, we collaborate to remove these obstacles for all women business owners.

Working together, we can and will make it easier for women to start and grow businesses and drive our nation’s economy forward. 

At NAWBO, we can get you access to the people making decisions that impact your bottom line and because you are part of NAWBO your voice is joined with the voices of other women entrepreneurs and the message is amplified. 

We are all one voice and one team.  As we work together toward our shared goals you will find the wins are sweeter and the losses are less bitter because we are in it together with the purpose of serving women entrepreneurs.

We can make a difference, and we hope you will join us!

Lesson 2: How to be an Advocate

To be an advocate means to take action for or against something.

You probably are already serving as an advocate in many ways – on behalf of your family, your business and employees, your community or even a politician or political party you believe in.

At NAWBO, we have the opportunity to impact women entrepreneurs and leave a legacy for the next generation as well.

How do we know this will work? Because it already has!

NAWBO was founded in 1975 for the purpose of advocacy. A group of women entrepreneurs in the Washington, DC area saw obstacles to running and growing their businesses. There was no organization for them to join to network, share best practices and advocate for change. So they started their own!

During the years and decades that have followed, NAWBO advocated for laws that removed the requirement that female entrepreneurs have a male co-sign for their business loans, created the National Women’s Business Council, ensured that women entrepreneurs were being accurately counted and represented in government data, and so much more.

Today, NAWBO is still advocating on behalf of our members to ensure and increase government contracting opportunities, weigh in on tax and retirement reform issues, and open up trade opportunities for NAWBO members, just to name a few.

We hope you will join us in our advocacy efforts.

There are three things you can do to advocate successfully:

1) Assess the issues: be aware of issues that are impacting your business and check with your fellow NAWBO members to determine whether any of them are experiencing similar issues.

2) Assess your contacts: Look within your network to see if you or any fellow NAWBO members know anyone in public office. If so, these contacts will be the first place to start when discussing the issues you care about.

3) Assess the political climate: Just as you are aware of the business climate; you must be equally aware of the political climate (know which political party controls your city council, mayor’s office, governor’s mansion, state legislative, etc. Being aware of the political climate will help you set realistic short- and long-term advocacy goals.

Being an advocate can lead to many benefits. You may meet new potential NAWBO members, find new Corporate Sponsors, be invited to testify in front of a legislative body, or be considered for an appointment. The bottom line is being an advocate and taking action can be to the benefit of all of us.

At NAWBO National, we are here to serve as your advocate and help contribute to the success of your advocacy efforts at the federal, state and local levels.

Please reach out to Joy Lutes at with any questions or to discuss ideas.

Now is a great time to be an advocate for yourself, your fellow NAWBO members and all the women entrepreneurs across our great nation.  

Lesson 3:  Get out and VOTE!

Welcome to the third video in our Public Policy 101 Series.

As you can see, we're shooting this video live today in Lafayette Square right outside the White House.

We chose this location to highlight the opportunity for advocacy we all have this year.

I know especially during election years, it is easy to find things to complain about and that especially this election cycle which seems to be more personally vindictive and vitriolic than many others, many people are considering not voting at all.

But the fact that we have the ability to elect our leaders and watch a safe and seamless transition of power makes us the envy of many around the world. I hope you'll consider participating in what we at NAWBO National call educated and empowered engagement.

To put it simply – please get out and vote. Educate yourself about the candidates and the issues that will appear on your ballot and then vote.

Election Day is November 8, but don't forget that in many states there are early and/or absentee voting opportunities which in some places begin as early as late September.

So make sure you're registered to vote and encourage others to do the same. You can't participate if you're not registered.

Because we think participation is so important this election and every election we at NAWBO National are encouraging the chapters to join with us in a healthy competition.

We would like each chapter to keep track of their members and let us know what percentage of their chapter membership votes in this election.

Obviously we are all working on the honor system since voting is a private and sacred matter.

As we move closer and closer to early voting and eventually Election Day we will be providing tools that you can use for tracking and sharing results and show your pride in having participated in our democratic system.

Also please remember at NAWBO National we maintain great relationships with both presidential campaigns as well as many others. So if you're interested in volunteering or working on a campaign or for a political party or just looking for more information about the candidates and issues in general, please always feel free to reach out to us. It is our pleasure to be your conduit into the world of politics.

NAWBO was founded 41 years ago to be an advocacy organization. It's our honor to carry-on the bipartisan tradition right here in Washington, D.C. today.


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