What a great time of the year. The days are getting longer, the air is getting warmer (if ever so slightly), and there is a feeling of change in the air. In the spirit of the season, there is also a fair amount of change going on in the WBENC network. We are fresh off the heels of a record-breaking Summit & Salute, where we introduced some new programs, partnerships and opportunities. More to come as we gear up for the National Conference & Business Fair in Detroit!
But first, a huge thank you to all who sponsored, attended and participated in this year’s Summit & Salute, particularly our presenting sponsors Accenture, Bristol-Myers Squibb, EY, Ampcus and ASAP Solutions. It is because of your involvement and support that we are able to bring together the programming and opportunities that we know will lead to BIG business.
One of the big announcements made at Summit & Salute is our new partnership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a leading public policy organization which advocates on behalf of women business owners. In our first National Partner Organization (NPO) agreement, WBENC is strengthening its relationship with WIPP to help us further fulfill our mission of supporting and developing women-owned businesses.
Our very own Candace Waterman, WBENC’s VP of Certification and Program Operations, will be leaving WBENC on May 1, 2018 to assume the helm at WIPP as President & CEO. As sad as I am to see Candace leave WBENC, we are enormously excited about what she will bring to WIPP as the organization embarks on this new chapter, and we so look forward to working together on behalf of women business owners.
I also had the highest honor of paying tribute to our late friend, a shining star of WBENC, Cheryl Snead. As part of a moving tribute, we introduced the Cheryl Snead Award, the highest honor given to a Women’s Business Enterprise leader in the WBENC network. The Award recognizes a champion for WBES - a beacon of compassion, generosity and inclusion; an exemplary mentor, role model and leader with a marvelous spirit. Our hearts and gratitude go out to Cheryl’s husband Roland, who was there to accept the inaugural award.
While there are so many more incredible moments from the event, one of my personal highlights of the event was an inspirational keynote from Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s first African American female fighter pilot. She even took the time to take a selfie with myself and a few of our sponsors!
I am so honored to lead such a dynamic network of incredible women and #Hes4Shes, and that is no more apparent than when we are gathered together at our signature events. It is hard to believe we have less than three months until we connect again at the National Conference & Business Fair. Detroit – we are coming for you!
What were your favorite moments from Summit & Salute? I would love to hear from you – share below in the comments!
WBENC President & CEO