Summit & Salute is a signature event from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) dedicated to the development, growth, and success of women-owned businesses. From March 11 - 13, 2019, women entrepreneurs, corporate representatives, diversity and inclusion experts, and other supporters gathered in Houston, Texas for three days of networking and learning, all centered around finding and nurturing business opportunities for women-owned businesses.
We kicked off pre-Summit activities with the inaugural Women of Color session, focused on business and personal development, and building business and social networks. Monday evening, the NextGen of the WBENC network came together for an interactive networking happy hour.
On Tuesday, pre-Summit activities continued in the morning with the NextGen Meeting and Keynote, featuring a keynote, table discussions and breakout sessions, followed by WBE 2 WBE Connection, an opportunity for WBEs to connect with each other to discuss business opportunities in a formal but open environment. In the afternoon, the room was filled with engaged WBEs for the Women's Enterprise Forum Meeting & Keynote.
The Summit officially began with the Procurement Opportunity Connection Meet & Greet in the morning. This session is designed to allow WBENC-Certified WBEs to position their companies, products and/or services to participating National Corporate and Government Members. Our luncheon programming included panel discussions with the WBE Stars, introducing some of America's Top Corporations for WBEs, discussion about some new innovative WBENC programming in partnership with our Corporate Members, and a sit-down with Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture in North America. Julie was also awarded the WBENC Crystal Leadership Award and is only the fourth recipient in our 21-year history to receive this award.
In the afternoon, we kicked off the first round of industry focused sessions where attendees learned from visionaries representing corporations within the WBENC network. Finally, we ended a productive day in the beautiful Sculpture Garden at the Hilton Anatole for the Welcome to Dallas! Reception.
Our busiest day yet, Thursday kicked off bright and early with WBENC’s signature 1:1 MatchMaker Meetings. This is an opportunity for WBENC-Certified WBEs to have pre-scheduled appointments with National Corporate and Government Members and their prime suppliers/key business partners to explore 1st, 2nd and 3rd Tier sourcing opportunities.
A productive morning continued with a second round of engaging industry focused sessions, followed by a luncheon featuring a panel discussion with more of the 2018 WBE Stars, as well as a keynote by the amazing and inspiring Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour. Following lunch, we headed to a final round of industry focused sessions.
The evening festivities began with receptions to get everyone in the celebratory spirit before heading to the Salute! Dinner. This final program helped to culminate our time together by recognizing various individuals from around the network with celebrations, reflection, and plenty of fun. After dinner, we headed to the Detroit Bound After Party for some dancing and photo booth fun!