by Rachel Owens –
I am constantly being asked why I have been a member of NAWBO for more than 20 years. The answer is clear. I get more value for my membership than the annual fee. What kind of value do I get? Again, the answer is easy — personal and professional development. Over the 20 years of my membership, I have participated actively on committees and the Board. Through my participation, I have learned how to lead, how to build consensus in a group, and how to manage my business professionally and profitably.
Over the years, we have had many dinner speakers presenting marketing and branding concepts. In 1993, I took their advice to heart and decided my financial services practice should focus on the needs of family owned businesses. At that time there were seven Family Business Centers at universities around the country and I felt we should have such a center in Orange County. Through my NAWBO connections, I was able to reach the Dean of the Business School at the University of California at Fullerton and present this concept. With help from two NAWBO members, I wrote a business plan for the center and in 1994 Fullerton launched their Family Business Council. That Council has been serving the needs of OC businesses for over 15 years.
Today, my business focuses on Succession Planning for family owned businesses. Today, I serve as the President of OC’s 501c3 Education Entity, the Women’s Business Institute. Today, I serve on the California Board as the director of Education. Today, more than 25% of my business comes from NAWBO members and referrals. Today, my clients know I have a reliable source of referrals that will help their businesses grow. Today, some of my closest friends are NAWBO members.
Has this been worthwhile? Absolutely, and I will continue to participate.
Rachel Owens is President of Succession Strategies, a business consulting firm specializing in helping family owned and closely held businesses build value.