Editor’s Note: In 2017, WBENC is proudly celebrating our 20th Anniversary year by launching the Legacy of Leaders, a structure established for recognition of Corporate Members and WBEs who have served in a significant leadership role throughout the WBENC network. One of two groups under the Legacy of Leaders umbrella is the Women of Distinction. This exclusive group of WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) is comprised of 25 women leaders who have demonstrated a deep commitment to the organization and to breaking down barriers for women owned businesses in the corporate and government supply chains. The Women of Distinction program was established to create a strategic role for highly successful and dedicated WBEs as advisors to WBENC, supporting the growth and success of all WBEs. WBENC is honored to showcase the Women of Distinction as they celebrate 20 years of success.
Throughout the year we are sharing personal stories from the Women of Distinction about their journeys with the WBENC network. Today, we have a guest post from Brenda Loube, M.S., President and Co-Founder of Corporate Fitness Works describing her certification journey.
My Certification Journey
In looking back these past 16 years as a certified WBE, it is truly amazing to reflect on my personal journey with WBENC. To see where I am today is a great illustration of the phrase that you have probably heard many times: what you give back will reward you twice over or to receive you must give. To be honest, it never crossed my mind what the ultimate outcome or benefit of becoming a WBENC-Certified WBE would be to my company. I just loved being around like-minded women who only want the best for their company and strive to be successful.
When I reflect on this journey there are certain factors that come to mind: my company’s success and the resources made available for me to leverage our certification. I do believe timing is everything and you must be prepared to leverage every opportunity that comes your way.
I will never forget attending my first WBENC RPO networking meeting and hearing all the acronyms. I used to joke and say, that it is all LMNOP. I thought I would never remember and learn what all these acronyms represent. My introduction to WBENC came because of a client’s recommendation to consider certification. That same company recommended and sponsored us to attend the Tuck Executive Training, which was amazing. I was surprised and touched by the corporate support WBEs received. I would go on to attend the networking sessions WBENC offered as my schedule could handle. What I valued most from these meetings was the ability to network with other women business owners who freely shared experiences and skills to help each other be successful.
The Forum became a place where I truly felt that I could eventually give back and support WBENC while learning how to navigate the entire organization. I knew I wanted to establish a brand for my company, Corporate Fitness Works, with the goal to grow our business. While involved with the Forum, I participated on a variety of committees, and I had an opportunity to promote daily physical activity and share how to incorporate fitness into the very busy lives of my fellow WBEs, their companies and the corporate members.
What I valued the most initially was the strong relationships that led to strong friendships. The lifelong friendships are truly priceless and completely unexpected. We have been there for each other and supported each other to help grow our businesses.
As a result of participating in the Forum, other opportunities started to take shape. I had opportunities to speak at the Florida Regional Conference and the WBENC National Conference, was appointed to the National Board of Directors, and the benefits continued to increase each year. To reiterate, to receive you must give, the reward will be twice over!
It wasn’t until last year when I was presented the opportunity to Chair the 2016 National Conference Host Committee, that I really began to see how my certification could transform my business. About four years prior, I declined the opportunity because as a company we were not ready and I am so grateful I waited for the right moment. Let me just say it was worth the wait. The Host committee experience was rewarding and I can share that I met our company goal as a result. Drum roll please, our goal was to secure one new contract as a result of our sponsorship, and not only did we meet this goal, our pipeline of RFPs has grown significantly. The increased brand awareness was more than I could have imagined.
Along with our role as Host Chair, we also orchestrated the first ever wellness challenge. During the 2 ½ days of the conference, the registrants had an opportunity to win prizes. The entire experience totally exceeded my expectations. With the help of an awesome team behind me, we accomplished so much, everyone had fun, increased the energy levels at the conference and hopefully motivated some to continue the commitment to walk daily when they returned to their routine. I believe we have inspired many WBEs to become wellness champions for their business.
Through experiences like this we support our vision to Lead the Health Revolution that Moves Everyone! Thanks to taking that leap of faith as Host Committee Chair, we knew it was worth the investment to keep building on that momentum. In 2017 we became WBENC’s first WBE Wellness Sponsor, and led both the Forum’s netwalking event and the Go the Distance Step Challenge in Vegas. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring and how we can continue to inspire all to champion their own well-being.
My WBENC journey has been exciting and exceeded all my expectations. I have enjoyed meeting so many talented women, learning from their experiences, sharing our hopes and dreams, while receiving and giving so much support along the way.
Brenda Loube, M.S.
President and Co-Founder of Corporate Fitness Works
Since 1988 Corporate Fitness Works has been a trusted provider of comprehensive wellness and fitness solutions. With over 40 years of experience in promoting good health and fitness for all, Brenda has become an award-winning, accomplished author, advocate, and business owner. Brenda and the Corporate Fitness Works team partner with corporate, government, residential and community leaders to make healthy active cultures a reality, leading the health revolution that will move everybody.