Welcome 2022 – the 25th Anniversary Year of WBENC!
January and the beginning of the New Year is one of my favorite times. It is the start of a new chapter and reminds me of opening a fresh notebook in school with blank pages waiting to be filled. Our 2021 “notebook” is more than full and ready to be archived. That always provides a sense of accomplishment as well as the foundation for the new journeys ahead.
2021 showed us that we can be creative, resilient, and impactful despite a pandemic that dealt many tragedies and difficult times. We rose to the occasion by delivering a multitude of virtual programs, including our Focus on the Future series in March and June. Our first in-person event since shutting down for COVID-19, Bridge to the Future, was held in Miami in November and demonstrated that we could bring our network together in a safe yet meaningful way.
Throughout the year WBENC also awarded more than $160,000 in grant and pitch competition prizes to WBEs who were pivoting and innovating throughout these tough times and partnered with Facebook (Meta) to provide a Fast-Track Invoice program to improve cash flow to continue forward momentum for diverse businesses. And these are just a few of the many highlights!
So how will we fill the pages of our 2022 notebook?
This is a big new chapter for us as the year we celebrate 25 years of certifying, supporting, and developing women-owned businesses! We have a lot planned to honor this momentous anniversary – and we will need your help! (more below on two fun ways to participate and contribute.)
Our commitment to deliver exceptional virtual programs will continue as we kick off 2022 with three WeTHRIVE Digital sessions and the fourth WeTHRIVE cohort. Many more programs will follow throughout the year, so be sure to check the WBENC calendar often to take advantage of our evolving educational series.
In March, we will celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. There will be surprises and some potential “guest appearances” as we celebrate not only our commitment to women business owners, but the beginning of WBENC in 1997. Lots of great notes will fill our pages for March.
We will convene in person in Atlanta in June for our first National Conference since 2019. Team WBENC is busy giving our event a complete makeover with a new look and feel to carry us boldly into our next quarter century. Save the date June 6–9, 2022 and stay tuned for details.
This glimpse into the first half of this shiny new year is truly just the “tip of the iceberg.” We invite you to join us throughout 2022 to engage with our bold network of WBEs, Corporate Members and Regional Partner Organizations.
Here are the first two opportunities to celebrate with us!
First, help us reflect on our first 25 years and look forward to our next 25! We need your reflections, memories, success stories and insights!
Second, join us for a WBENC 2022 Open House: A Kickoff to our 25th Year Wednesday, January 19 from 2 – 3:30 pm EST.