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The Excitement and Opportunities Have Only Just Begun

If you’ve ever moved (and we all have!) you know that after all the boxes are carefully packed and then unpacked, you’re left with a new energy and excitement about the opportunities that lie ahead. There are new places to explore, new relationships to build, a new mark to make. It’s a lot like how our NAWBO® National leadership feels about our organization’s move back to Washington, DC—where NAWBO® was founded and where public policy is shaped and action begins—right in time for the 2012 elections.

While I have spent most of my career in the DC political and business landscapes, I have gained a new energy and excitement as I have focused on furthering NAWBO®’s vision and mission as the voice of thousands of women entrepreneurs nationwide. Your unique needs, challenges, concerns and success as women business owners are NAWBO®’s priorities in the conversations we are having with political, business and organizational leaders. They will no doubt be key to helping us to drive changes to create opportunities for ourselves, and for the overall economy, in the coming year.

These conversations have already resulted in some exciting news. NAWBO® is partnering in 2012 with two organizations with a shared commitment to women and small business owners—the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Coalition. The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. The Latino Coalition is a national organization that represents Latino interests with senior executives of many Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, both federal and local. Together, we will provide you with an unparalleled opportunity to connect with more than 600 women and small business owners and local chamber and association leaders from across the country at America’s Small Business Summit on May 21-23, 2012 in Washington, DC.

You will read more about the Small Business Summit in this issue of Focus with more details to come in the weeks ahead. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow NAWBO® National on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and check for Happening Now news updates at www.nawbo.org where you’ll hear many of these announcements first. We will be using these same online communication platforms in January to reveal the theme, sponsor news and opportunities and more for the NAWBO® Women’s Business Conference 2012, October 4-5 in Louisville, Kentucky. So stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I recently had the opportunity to travel to Indianapolis with NAWBO® Chair Evelyn Strange to take part in the local NAWBO® holiday luncheon. The turnout was impressive at 1,200 and included Governor Mitch Daniels and Olympic medal-winning athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee. It reminded me of NAWBO®’s strong presence and impact throughout the United States. A special thanks for the warm welcome we received and to NAWBO® Indianapolis President Sally Stephens and NAWBO® National Board member Billie Dragoo for inviting us to attend! Also, congratulations to event co-chairs Melissa Brown and Janet South for putting together such an amazing event.

Lastly, on behalf of the entire NAWBO® National Board of Directors and staff, I’d like to wish you a happy and healthy holiday and New Year. The excitement and opportunities for all of us in 2012 have only just begun!

—Diane Tomb, NAWBO® President & CEO