Their flights are scheduled, their rooms are booked and their personalized T-shirts are pressed and ready to wear to the 2019 National Women’s Business Conference hosted by NAWBO in Jacksonville, Florida. When the conference commences this month, NAWBO-San Antonio will roll in 17 members strong—more than quadrupling the chapter’s four-member attendance at last year’s National conference.
While the chapter certainly strategized to boost attendance, the desire to do so came about organically. “Owning a business can be lonely,” shares Pam Goble, chapter president of NAWBO-San Antonio and CEO of Ability HomeCare Inc. “When I first entered the NAWBO National conference last year, I found myself surrounded by 700 women and thought, ‘Wow, these are my people. This is my tribe.’ I initially joined NAWBO for personal reasons. I wanted to get out of the box and out of the office. And I love the camaraderie here.”
Pam knew there were other women business owners who also felt alone and would benefit from both a NAWBO membership and the National conference. During fiscal year 2019, NAWBO-San Antonio worked hard to grow from 126 to 182 members, making it the second largest NAWBO chapter in the nation. And their retention rate hit 78 percent, which surpassed the national rate of 70 percent.
Increasing membership gave the chapter more opportunities to promote the National conference via eblasts, social media and monthly chapter meetings and during quarterly coffee, lunch and cocktail connections. “To encourage our board members to attend, we even offered a $500 incentive to pay the conference registration fee for five women,” says. “We had the extra money in our budget to do so, and it helped generate excitement about the conference.”
Seventeen RSVPs and “One Team, One Dream” T-shirts later, NAWBO-San Antonio is eager to connect with other members of our tribe. Not only is Pam thrilled about NAWBO-San Antonio’s attendance, she’s also excited to celebrate with her fellow NAWBO Circle Group members who achieved a gross revenue of $1 million this past year. “I want our members to feel inspired to do the same,” says Pam. “We may have different businesses, but we share similar challenges. The conference gives us an opportunity to share best practices and learn from one another.”
Business aside, Pam’s reason for joining NAWBO has bloomed to a national level. She’s gathering with friends from all over the country to learn, and be inspired and entertained—and they’re all buzzing about the keynote speakers. “We’re all really busy, so we want to commit to things that are meaningful and fun. Here, we’re a positive force of supporting women,” she says. “We’re all super excited and super hyped!”