The MOMENTUM continues to build within the WBENC network as we approach the largest event of its kind – the 2023 National Conference!

In this feature article from some of our amazing Conference Co-Chairs and Host Committee members, see what they consider “momentum” within the network and women’s enterpreneurship, and gain invaluable TIPS on how to leverage your Certification and the 2023 National Conference.

Marcella McCullough | Nissan Group of the Americas

“Momentum is continuing to build strength and stimulate growth. This conference is an important gathering of members to exchange ideas and have discussions about programs, resources and initiatives that will continue to support and champion women entrepreneurs. We believe that partnering with female-owned businesses provides new ideas and experiences, which is core to Nissan’s Supplier Diversity strategy.”

Tip from Marcella: WBEs should review the participating exhibitors list and create a plan on which company they would like to meet. Do your homework on the company to ensure you know what they purchase. Please do not ask, what do you need? You should be ready to sell your company. Therefore, provide a brief company introduction and register on their company’s supplier portal. Also, follow up with the company’s representative within two to four weeks. Remain positive, patient and confident, in the automotive industry it takes time to vet and bring in new suppliers.

About Marcella McCullough

Marcella McCullough is Senior Manager of Supplier Diversity, Purchasing Strategy, for Nissan Group of the Americas. In this role, she is responsible for developing supplier diversity strategies and processes of performance key indicators internally and externally. Additionally, Marcella assures appropriate company presence at national and regional diverse business association meetings and conferences. Marcella is committed to developing an increasing robust supplier diversity program that will create economic opportunities for diverse supplier enterprises within Nissan.

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Peggy Del Fabro | M. Davis & Sons Inc.

“Momentum to me means passion and energy. WBE’s have a passion for their businesses and the products and services they provide. We want to help solve challenges that our customers face.”

Tip from Peggy: WBEs should plan ahead and stay focused. Review the conference schedule and formalize how you’ll spend your time in advance. Identify who you want to connect with and make sure you know what value you can provide them. Our team utilizes a spreadsheet listing companies that we want to be sure and connect with to help us stay organized and focused. It’s even color coded!

About Peggy Del Fabro

After over 20 years of leadership positions with M. Davis & Sons, Inc., Peggy Del Fabbro assumed the role of CEO in 2008. She is the 5th generation of the Davis family to lead M. Davis, which is now in its 153rd year in business. Peggy works to distinguish the construction company in the marketplace through an unwavering commitment to safety and quality, and through a forward-thinking approach to sustainability and the future of construction.

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“We can create Momentum when we as fellow women business owners come together, share our best practices, develop partnerships and scale our businesses to best serve the corporate partners who have committed to understanding our unique value propositions and opening their supply chain to give us a shot to prove it. Collaboration equals Momentum and this conference offers a platform to achieve it.”

Tip From Cassandra: My advice to women business owners attending the conference for the first time would be to be strategic with your time and activities during the 2 ½ days. There are thousands of attendees, hundreds of booths, and dozens of workshops. First thing to do, evaluate the list of workshops and plan to attend the ones that are most applicable to your business. Secondly, review and note the booth numbers of the corporations that you believe are prospective clients of your business in order to ensure you visit those first thing the day of the Business Fair. Thirdly, constantly engage with others because you never know who you will meet and how you may be able to help each other!

About Cassandra Sanford

Cassandra Sanford, CEO and co-founder of KellyMitchell, is responsible for talent experts who enable Fortune 100 Clients to achieve their IT, Business and Financial goals by providing a flexible and skilled workforce. Started in 1998, by previous Boeing employees, KellyMitchell has partnered with many Fortune 100 and 500 companies servicing their technology and professional staffing needs on a national level, in all major geographical markets, across all industries. Cassandra has grown KellyMitchell from 3 employees to over 2000; from a local St. Louis company to a national organization with 18 offices throughout the U.S.

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Janice Bryant Howroyd | The ActOne Group

“Momentum means keep moving forward and keep growing. We, as women, do a great job of taking care of each other and everybody else. But we don’t always do the best job taking care of ourselves. There are so many talented and inspiring women here that can help you grow and keep your momentum going, together. It’s important for women established in business with great momentum to pay it forward and help others grow and build momentum as well.”

Tip From Janice: Will what got you here, get you where you want to be? It’s important for all WBEs to ask themselves this question as they plan for what’s next – whether it’s growth, or a big pivot. The national conference provides women with an opportunity to connect with likeminded entrepreneurs and to learn from them, but as you plan to grow your business, make sure that growth aligns with your values and priorities.

About Janice Bryant Howroyd

Janice Bryant Howroyd, fondly known as JBH, is the first African American woman to found and build a multi-billion dollar company. ActOne Group, a $3.4 billion (USD) workforce solutions organization, operates in over 32 countries, engaging some of the world’s best technologies and systems to support organizations of all sizes and provide jobs and careers for millions of workers across the globe. She leads from a culture of humanity, discipline, and excellence instilled by her parents and uses her presence as a connector of humanity, saying, “Never compromise who you are personally to become who you wish to be professionally!”

Learn more about WBE Co-Chairs


Marianne Ellis | CEO Success Community

“Momentum means driving to the next level up in your business. Energize and take this opportunity in Nashville at the conference to make powerful connections, listen and learn and most importantly, engage in every opportunity possible. Momentum takes strength, and as business owners, this conference in March is just the boost we need to start 2023 off right. I am excited and will go with a game plan, but I will also be open to what can unfold when you look up from your playbook and be in the moment. “

Tips from Marianne: Last year I offered a “Girlfriends Guide to Nationals.” The top tips were:
  1. Come prepared with a game plan—map out your days so you don’t get lost.
  2. Have a posse–a group of WBEs you can count on, even if it is just one person.
  3. Do your homework on your top 5-8 prospects and create multiple relevant offers or insights to create an excellent first impression. Reach out ahead of time and introduce yourself. If possible, set a conference meeting in advance. Attend their industry or company workshops at the conference and their booth.
  4. Practice your pitch, so it is conversational. Also, practice questions you can ask your prospects and others.
  5. Have your capability statement, postcard hard copy, or iPad. Something to share.
  6. Listen, engage, and be open—you never know who you might meet. If your head is down only following your game plan, you may miss a meaningful connection.

About Marianne Ellis

Marianne is the CEO/Co-Founder of CEO Success Community–the source for Women & Diversity Owned Businesses seeking Corporate Contracts with Fortune 500 companies. Proud to have coached thousands of Diversity CEOs and hired by Corporations and Associations SCE, CDW, NCA, WBENC, WBEC-West/Pacific for their signature workshops. Their mission is to show CEOs the fastest path to increased revenue and growth.

Learn more about the Host Committee

Join us in Nashville, TN, for the 2023 WBENC National Conference taking place March 20-23, 2023, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. WBENC, along with our 2023 National Conference Co-Chairs, Bristol Myers Squibb, DuPont, EY, Nissan Group of the Americas, The ActOne Group, Ampcus Inc., CSS Building Services, and M. Davis & Sons, Inc. look forward to connecting again in person, building momentum, identifying innovative best practices, learning industry trends and celebrating accomplishments by our WBEs and Corporate Members that further a diverse supply chain and grow business opportunities for women entrepreneurs.