Leadership in the Spotlight | Page 2 | NAWBO


Leadership in the Spotlight

As women business owners, when we think about the topic of leadership—the theme of this month’s issue of NAWBO ONE—a lot of things come to mind. We are leaders in our businesses, households and communities. We have friends, customers and vendor partners in prominent leadership positions in corporate America. And, of course, with election season in full swing, we think about our political leaders—both male and female—and the issues we care about most that we hope they’ll embrace and support.

As the voice of women business owners and with advocacy at the heart of our organization and its founding, NAWBO is particularly focused right now on our political leadership. We are advocating for more women to run for political office, and for more of those who make it into seats to get behind women-owned and small businesses issues.

To this end, we have released a 2016 public policy agenda to help women business owners who are part of our community and the elected officials we interact with to understand what we care about most—issues that are critical to our personal and business health. The issues we have chosen to pursue benefit the majority of our NAWBO members while also increasing our visibility and credibility with elected officials, agency personnel, peer organizations and members of the media. They include:

  • Access to Capital
  • Education and Workforce
  • Government Contracting
  • International Trade
  • Regulatory Reform
  • Taxes

Additionally, we have chosen to expand our agenda from last year to include other issues that impact women entrepreneurs, such as breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, pension reform and retirement planning. By broadening our focus, we increase our ability to build coalitions and credibility with leaders of both political parties.

A few weeks back, I was thrilled to participate in a town hall-style event in New Hampshire one day before one of the presidential debates. Hosted by the Job Creators Network (JCN) together with the Independent Women’s Forum and moderated by CNN Poitical Commentator Margaret Hoover, this event brought together local and national business leaders to discuss what women really want this election season—is it issues like reproductive rights and the gender pay gap that typically get top billing in the media, or economic issues that impact job creation and opportunity, like a poll recently found?

The women I was proud to speak alongside, including Sabrina Schaeffer, Executive Director at the Independent Women’s Forum, and Teresa R. Rosenberger, President of Divine Strategies, a local business consultancy, focused on the economic hurdles women face to succeeding in business, highlighting the challenges of overregulation, overtaxation and a lack of access to capital. Click here to view a video of this discussion.

As always, I’d love to hear from you! What leadership qualities do you look for in your elected officials, in your own employees, in your customers, etc.? And what issues do you care about most this election season? Together, as leaders and advocates, we can make a difference.

—Crystal Arredondo, NAWBO National Board Chair