I am inspired to write this column about change because of an upcoming conference I will be attending on Sept. 27-29. It is the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) 40th anniversary, and the national conference is being held in San Antonio. The theme is “Inspire the CHANGE.” It’s all about proactive, positive change: Embracing it, leading it, driving it and growing as a result. Our economy is on a trajectory of recovery, and women are one of the main reasons.
Take a look at these statistics:
• Data from the Federal Reserve Board reveal that women control 51.3 percent of all personal wealth in the U.S., and they make 83 percent of all household purchasing decisions.
• According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the United States economy, representing $3.3 trillion in purchasing power.
If that’s not enough to make your brain swim, try wrapping your arms around these facts, which come from a 2014 American Express commissioned “State of Women-owned Businesses” report:
• There are over 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., generating a combined total of over $1.4 trillion in revenue and employing over 7.8 million people.
• There are over 756,000 women-owned businesses in the state of Texas, generating more than 620,000 jobs and over $117 billion in revenue.
• There are over 63,000 women-owned businesses in the city of San Antonio, generating over 61,000 jobs and over $8.5 billion in revenue.
• Texas ranks No. 2, after Georgia, of states with the fastest growth of women-owned businesses between 1997 and 2014.
• San Antonio is the No. 1 ranking city with the highest combined economic clout for women-owned firms of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas, measuring growth in numbers, revenues and employment since 2002.
So, how did this phenomenon happen? What created this burgeoning turn of societal norms? After all, weren’t we reared to believe that “Men rule the world”? Yes, I do have my theory on how this all came about…
Back in the early 1980s, some of the best advice I received came from a man. He shared with me the secrets to penetrating the man’s world of business in a respectable and honorable way. I have always followed his advice, and it has paid off in spades. We women typically thrive on and learn from advice from mentors. And it would be my bet that many of those mentors are men.
We women, speaking from a sexist and God-given gene perspective, are generally more detail-oriented and organized. I do believe that it comes from having multiple balls to juggle simultaneously. We know how to get things done, and we know how to multitask. That is proven, seeing the number of men who join women-organized and managed organizations. We know how to get it done!
I also believe that we women enthusiastically embrace new ways, new ideas and new technologies to make business happen. I’m an advocate of using technology to grow your business, and I believe that women have the creative ability to embrace that direction. We must accept the fact that social media are here to stay. But how do we make them work for us? I have personally seen so many incredible women, both in private and in the public sector, use this medium to tell their story in a persuasive way. I applaud them! In fact, I just learned the new NAWBO-San Antonio president, Cristina Heaney, has made social media a top priority during her two-year term.
I could offer you stories upon stories about remarkable women who have achieved greatness, but space does not allow. My personal story, however, might resonate for some. Elliott Connection has no value beyond me because it is too branded. However, Healthcare Think Tank, which I created, does. I have a wonderful team who will ultimately inherit this initiative and can build it to anything they want – and I know they have huge aspirations. BTW, my team consists of women. Go figure!
If you are so inspired by this article to learn more about how you can become a woman who can change this world, consider attending the NAWBO National Conference. Go to nawbo.org for more details.