Thank you so very much for the privilege of serving as your NAWBO California President for the past year. It's been a year of remarkable heights for our organization thanks to the undying dedication and countless hours contributed by so many of our members and leaders.
Together we accomplished a lot this year. Here are our four top goals and some of the successes we achieved:
1. Increase NAWBO CA's presence and participation in statewide public policy in order to:
- Support public policy improvements that benefit the 1.5 million women business owners in CA
- Increase our visibility and recognition as the voice of the 1.5 million women business owners in CA
- NAWBO CA sponsored our first-ever legislation, SB 826, which is designed to increase the number of women on boards of directors of publicly held corporations headquartered in California.
- I was privileged to get to be part of the team of dedicated NAWBO leaders including Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, Lori Kammerer, Ami Barnard-Bahn, Annalisa Barrett, Dawn Haghighi, Diane De Mailly who contributed literally hundreds of hours working with Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and her Policy Analyst Nora Lynn, to develop strategies and respond to feedback about the bill.
- Dozens of NAWBO members wrote letters of support and/or appeared at hearings in both the Senate and the Assembly to voice their support.
- To date, the bill has passed all 4 committees plus Senate Appropriations and was approved by the full Senate! The 3 steps that remain are passage by Assembly Appropriations (tentatively on Aug. 7), voting by full Assembly sometime between August 7 - 31, and signing by the Governor. This is a HUGE accomplishment, especially considering organized opposition by paid lobbyists primarily for the California Chamber of Commerce.
2. Improve our marketing and social media strategies in order to:
- Reach more of the women business owners in California
- Expand our presence so people know NAWBO for who we are, not just for Propel
- Build our social media presence, followers and voice of 1.5 million women business owners in California
- Laura Neubauer stepped up as Marketing Chair and increased our year-round presence with social media posts and Eblasts highlighting successes by our chapters and by individual NAWBO members in California.
- Facebook Followers rose 13.2% and Likes rose 11.4% for the 12-month period ending in June. LinkedIn was used as part of our social media strategy for the first time this year, resulting in an increase in followers from 2000 to 2227 - an 11.4% increase over June 2017.
- Marketing for Propel started earlier and was much more robust, including using the Brojure platform for the first time to promote the event, and to report back results to our members and sponsors. Photos from Propel were posted out on social media. During the period of Mar/Apr 2018 (leading up to Propel) our Facebook reach on posts went as high as 4017 at one time and reach was consistently over 1200 for about 70% of the time during this period.
- Eblasts and social media posts engaged our audiences with news about SB 826 and enlisted support.
3. Continue improving the quality and relevance of training and mentoring for our members and others through the Propel conference.
- We held an amazing Propel conference, thanks to the many members who helped plan it, but special thanks go to President-Elect Mindy Bortness and to Summer Sepulveda of Plan the World for their inspired leadership and creativity.
- It was a FABULOUS Propel conference, attended by 160 amazing women! So many dynamic new features, including the Happiness Reception, Mentorship Connect, and the Pitch Fest made it even more fresh and engaging. We also introduced awards to honor a Corporate Representative of the Year and Lawmaker of the Year. To see the event recap, with photos and video, click on our Brojure.
- We now have a set of templates and scalable plans for next year, which will make planning our next Propel so much easier.
- Mark your calendar now for April 28 to 30, 2019. And by popular demand, we will be returning to the Citizen Hotel!
4. Increase sponsor and partner contributions to NAWBO-CA
- Thanks to the dedication and expertise of Laura Russell-Jones, additional connections and work by Mindy Bortness and Summer Sepulveda, and the help of Jennifer Dizon who manages our finances, this year:
- Bank of America stepped up to a higher level for NAWBO CA through Propel, as well as specific sponsorships directly to NAWBO Chapters across the state.
- We sold $64,000 worth of Sponsorships for Propel and introduced sponsorship levels for woman-owned and woman-led businesses. New sponsors included American River Bank, California Department of General Services (DGS), Communication Works, and YNotWeb.
Lastly, a very special thank you to the NAWBO California board members who all donate our time to make this organization a great benefit to all our NAWBO members across the state. And thank you to Andrea Messina and her team at Group Concepts who provide the back-office support to keep things running smoothly. It has been an honor and privilege to work alongside all of you this year. I am immensely grateful for your friendship, mentorship and dedication to NAWBO.
I am excited to hand the reigns over to the amazing Mindy Bortness as President for 2018-19, supported by President-Elect Hillary Lentini and Vice President Theresa Ashby. We could not be in more capable hands! Please offer them your support as they continue to grow the success and influence of NAWBO CA and the 1.5 million women business owners across California.