NAWBO-OC 2012-2013 THEME
“STEP IT UP!”
Thank you, Maureen for all the hard work and dedication you have displayed as President over the last year.
I am excited to stand before all of you to share the vision I have for this upcoming NAWBO-OC year. As I look amongst you, I see many faces that have been a part of this organization longer than I have and I see many new faces as well. I would like to give all of you some perspective of our recent history, which will lead into where I would like to take us going forward.
NAWBO-OC has been on a rollercoaster ride these past six years…a ride as wild as the economy has been. When I joined NAWBO-OC in 2005, it was the “best” of times – the economy was strong and the organization had nearly 500 members. We had more than 30 Corporate Partners and all were giving at significant levels. In addition, we had media in-kind sponsorships giving us on-going recognition in the business community.
When recession hit in 2008, NAWBO-OC rode the wave down along with the economy. Our membership declined by half, we lost important Corporate Partners and the Corporate Partners we kept, decreased their sponsorship. To the credit of our NAWBO-OC Board, we immediately tightened up our belts and got our financial house in order. In 2008 and 2009, under the leadership of Cassie Hoag and Karen Gifford, we not only prevented bleeding, the board set a savings goal and we significantly increased our reserves to a level of sustainability for the organization.
When the dust began to settle in 2010, we found ourselves in a position to add valuable member programs and under Kathy Dawson’s Presidency and myself as VP Membership Services we launched Power Partners. Kathy also elevated the quality of our speakers and as a Board, we made the bold and much needed decision to upgrade the web site. It was a turning point for our organization and it spurred a new energy and focus that put us on the growth track once again.
This past year, with Maureen Rhyne leading the way, we have revitalized the organization at its core by adding strategic board positions, engaging the executive committee, implementing board training, leveraging technology and modifying the board structure to ensure long-term succession planning. For our members, we implemented the new member breakfasts. We also formed exciting new in-kind corporate partnerships to support Public Relations and Accounting and we grew corporate partners at a higher level than we have in more than 4 years.
In the face of adversity we have been resilient and we have emerged victorious. That is what we women do, right? So let’s give ourselves, our leaders and our history a hand. And now – my vision for this next year is that it is time to STEP IT UP…Together.
As the economy, our organization and our businesses are improving, it could be tempting to sit back and enjoy an easier ride. But when have ANY of us EVER enjoyed the easier ride? That’s right – NEVER. And now is not the time to start! As a driver myself and I am sure you are as well, I see us leveraging all the work we have done together over the past several years. The recent changes and successes provide us a platform to transform our NAWBO-OC image in the community from “a good organization” to “a formidable one” – from a group of “nice supportive women” to a group “powerful business supporters” – from a “networking organization for women business owners” to a “movement of the women movers and shakers in the OC business community”.
Some of us have been around long enough to be exhausted at having been a part of many or all or even more than those years I talked about a few minutes ago. However, now is not the time to grow weary; now is the time to celebrate, KNOWING that your efforts and your patience have not been in vain. If your desire is to be an integral part of Orange County’s premiere organization for women and to invest in your business and in your personal growth – then THIS is the year to realize the fruit of your labor and THIS is the organization of which to be a part. This is our year to Step It Up into success. This is our year to take ownership of what we have earned for our businesses, made for our organization and are implementing into our lives. And as we demonstrate this vision, it is our year for the greater business community to take notice of who we are and what we are doing…together!
For many reasons, we have perhaps the strongest board and organizational support system we have ever had. Because of the work that has already been done with our infrastructure, we are now poised to take NAWBO-OC to the next level… That means we can join together and Step It Up even more. And while not everyone individually will feel that they need to Step It Up, there are three broad areas of opportunity in which I see that NAWBO-OC can Step It Up in the next year: 1) Step It Up For Our Members, 2) Step It Up For Our Organization and 3) Step It Up To the External Business Community.
Stepping It Up For Our Members
- In Corporate Partners I want us to step it up so significantly that by the end of the year, there will be competition for who will get the industry exclusivity slot for the $30,000 level of sponsorship. How will we accomplish that? By stepping up our commitment and service to existing CPs.
- For our Board Culture stepping it up means fostering an even greater Board culture of collaboration, support and openness to new ideas. We have made gains in the past year and I am looking forward to seeing our refreshed organization provide the capacity and the tools to help us all step up to excellent leadership.
Stepping it up offers great opportunities to each of us and to all our members and I think as a group we can do great things! I would love to hear your feedback and ideas on how we can Step it Up this year!