The Power Of Our Voices

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What makes “now” different than any other moment in history is that for the first time, we women understand that we are all more connected than ever. Women have discovered the key to achieving more in Big Business, in entertainment, in technology and finance lies in the power of our voices.  The message of the day was that massive results are possible and that together we can make the changes we want to see in the world:  equality, equal pay, more women on Boards, in Leadership, and in Office, and teams that are diverse. We all have to motivate, get up and get out, and speak up to become the trailblazers that will make the change.

The Power Of Our Voices was the title of the 32nd Annual Leadership & Legacy Awards, or as we call it, the NAWBO-LA Gala. President Schenae Rourk’s vision came to life in this beautifully designed event that was created by our very own Board Member and one of our Gala Co-Chairs, Cynthia Lopell of CL22Productions. As the Programming Chair and a Board Member, I’d like to brag about CBS2 News co-anchor and our MC, the incredible Pat Harvey, the esteemed presenters, and trailblazing award recipients. More on that in a moment…

I’d also like to make special note of the immortal words of Laura Yamanka, the recipient of the Legacy Award who expressed so eloquently when she accepted her award on behalf of all women: “It’s not me. It’s not you, but rather, it’s all of us.”

What Stands Out Most

First, the attendees walked the exhibitor hall and indulged in the wares that ranged from jewelry to shoes. Then, they  learned about propelling their businesses forward by using such services as graphic design, Metro Los Angeles’ Small Business Program, or the special business incentives showcased by the Office of the State Treasurer.

During the program, we listened in awe to inspirational messages from Trailblazer Awardee Barbara Burrell. Erika Girardi’s husband, Tom Girardi, accepted the Innovator Award on her behalf and blew us all away with his wit and grace. Woman Business Owner of the Year winner, Jayme Bella from Greenerways Organic, made me look at my cleaning products with a critical eye. Public Corporation of the Year Award was given to Southern California Gas while Metro Los Angeles took home Public Agency of the Year. What stands out so much more to me than the stories that make you think and nod in agreement, are the women themselves. They truly embody the attributes of strong female leaders.

NAWBO-LA is proud to showcase that our own diversity and inclusion goals are met every single year. We don’t just advocate for women in business, we make sure we put it in action. Women from all religions, races, and ages attended this annual event to foster the power of community. The hallways were filled with business owners of all sizes and sponsors who mingled and networked.

The Lost Art of Connection

Truth be told, as business owners, we spend too much time furiously typing away at our computers. And if you are like me, you may be addicted to the rush that the little the ping on the phone brings. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I heard something that made me think twice. It was Catherine Francis, facilitator of SCE workshops, who said, “It’s not going to happen in your office;, it happens OUT THERE.” Just like that, it became clear to me that to grow our businesses we need to (drumroll) leave the office! I know, it’s shockingly simple. A personal conversation with an in-real-life person is a reprieve and refreshing change from an endless onslaught of emails asking you for something. This Gala provided the experience to feel alive and be seen. As you can tell from the image gallery, there were many connections made. Good times were had by all.

Special Thanks Go to…

Noteworthy contributions were made by our generous sponsors, like Presenting Sponsor Bank of America, and other major supporters such as Union Bank, AEG and Epson. Bank of America facilitated a jam-packed workshop on small business. Massive thanks to all who made this event a huge success, including my fellow board members, sponsors, honorees, presenters, guests and volunteers including everyone else who filled the goodie bags and provided what’s needed to make this event a smashing success. The countless hours of dedicated volunteers…it truly takes a village.

What’s Left to Say?

For anyone who’s met me, you know I am not one for too many words, unless you put me on a stage and ask me to talk about Balanced Leadership and Entrepreneurship. But, I am known for hurricane-like action. So here’s my pitch…

If you were once a member but let your membership lag, please join us again. We want YOU. If you are a member but have not attended an event, a Connects, or a Signature event, please go to the events page and find one and say YES immediately. If you are coming to our events (yay!), please contact us and find out about our various committees so that we can find a spot for you to get involved.

NAWBO-LA is a dedicated group of women committed to making an impact. We’d love for you to join us and as President Schenae Rourk said, there really isn’t a better time to join than now and when you show up, you grow.

Beate Chelette, a first generation immigrant is The Growth Architect® and serves as the Programming Chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-LA). Once $135,000 in debt and a single mother, she successfully sold her business to Bill Gates in a multi-million dollar deal.

Beate has served thousands of Entrepreneurs, Founders, and Small Business Owners through her online courses, one-on-one training programs and live speaking events. She develops custom entrepreneur skills programs for her clients and trains entrepreneurs in her system through the 5 Star Success Blueprint, that shows how to grow, build and scale a business from idea to acquisition.