Watch this special video message from NAWBO’s CEO:
Diversity and inclusion don’t happen on their own or overnight. They take a dedicated, long-term mindset and ways to measure progress to truly make sure every woman feels welcome and included.
At NAWBO, since the very beginning, our goal has been for every woman to see herself when she comes to a chapter or National event or participates in educational or advocacy programming. But the last several years, we have been even more mindful and strategic around this goal, as we know our differences as women business owners make us even stronger.
As part of NAWBO’s Diversity and Inclusion Priority Objective, we have heard the voices of our women business owners of all ethnicities, ages, sizes and business segments, including our black, brown and next gen members. This has been accomplished through online surveys, focus groups and deeper one-on-one conversations that ask questions like:
What have your experiences been like accessing capital?
How are they different than other members?
How did you feel when you walked into your first NAWBO meeting?
Have you continued to feel welcome and included?
How do you rely on NAWBO?
“In everything NAWBO does, we try to make sure we listen to all our members so that we can fulfill our mission,” says Karen Bennetts, NAWBO National Board Secretary/Treasurer and member of the committee helping to drive this priority objective. “In this case, it’s being able to support and lift up all of our women business owner members and to help them be more successful personally and professionally.”
These honest, straightforward conversations, over the past few years, have shaped everything from how we visually represent our members to our communities to the educational topics and expert speakers we choose for our events and programming.
And they are just the beginning. Starting in July, we will hold another round of focus groups and one-on-ones with NAWBO members. We will also look at how we can better support our chapters in their ongoing efforts to have honest, straight-forward conversations within their boards and to diversify their leaders, members, partners, events and more.
“We have to be mindful of it, talk and take action,” says Karen. “Look around on our Zoom calls or in-person. Are we seeing the diversity necessary for us to be one community supporting all women business owners? Are we as focused on the inclusion of all women as we should be? If the answer isn’t a resounding yes, then we have more work to do…together."
If you are interested in participating in an upcoming focus group and one-on-one conversation, please reach out to Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leading By Example
“The time has come and it’s long overdue. Let’s pull some women up to the table with us.”
Last month, our Buffalo Niagara chapter launched a new Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Read about it here.