Research into the gender gap in the United States and across the world has proven what many women business owners instinctively feel: “a fundamental lack of belief in our own value, worth and ability to achieve consistently tempers female ambition and holds women back.”
To close the gender gap, we must first close the “gender confidence gap”. In light of this knowledge, we have chosen the theme for NAWBO-OC’s 2019-20 term: “Seasons of Self-Regard.”
Simply stated, self-regard is a feeling of self-respect or personal worth. Throughout this year, and thematically rooted in the seasons, we will uncover sources of our self-regard, cultivating and practicing self-regard alongside business development training, opportunities for networking and visibility, and legislative advocacy for women entrepreneurs.
Over the past year, the NAWBO-OC Board has developed more meaningful ways for our community to connect. We have transformed our organization from a business association for women to a community of women entrepreneurs and advocates that are dedicated to each other’s success.
We believe in the power of feminine ambition, the importance of non-traditional businesses of all sizes, compassionate leadership, and emotional integrity. We believe these are essential facets of a successful and fulfilling business – and we want a business community that is representative of and values our contributions.
We have moved away from a preoccupation with attendance as the ultimate indicator of our chapter’s success. Instead, we are focused on the quality of the experiences we program, measuring our success by the effect that our programs have on the women who participate in them. Some of our most successful programs have been our most intimate. These programs are key to helping women build the confidence to take the risks necessary to grow their businesses.
We’ve programmed an entire year of events, workshops, and gatherings that prioritize these needs – and we’ve done it in advance because we know how complicated the calendars of women business owners can get.
This year, we will catalyze the success of our members by expanding our commitment to building programs focused on the biggest obstacles to our collective success. We’ve asked about and listened to what women entrepreneurs want from NAWBO-OC: a safe space to bring challenges, trusted relationships, actionable business advice, mentoring, visibility, and connections.
The theme “Seasons of Self-Regard” is inspired by The Source of Self-Regard, a transformative collection of essays, letters, and speeches by Toni Morrison.
In her speech “Cinderella’s Stepsisters,” Morrison draws parallels of the fairy tale – the domination of Cinderella by her stepsisters – to the contemporary experience of competitive violence between women … especially in business. She warns against diminishing our “stepsisters” in careless or ignorant pursuit of our ambitions.
We welcome you to NAWBO-OC’s 2019-20 term. Join us for Seasons of Self-Regard!
– Katie Adams Farrell
President, NAWBO-OC 2019-20