The WBENC Women’s Enterprise Forum is sharing an article series throughout 2022 to showcase WBE Champions and celebrate how the WBENC network of WBEs support, encourage and do business with one another toward continued growth in women-owned entrepreneurship.
Rebecca Boenigk is CEO of Neutral Posture, Inc., a manufacturer of commercial and industrial furniture and one of the original WBENC-Certified companies. Rebecca discovered the power of the WBENC network in a way that many of us do – by showing up. Learn more from Rebecca’s experience with WBENC and the insights and guidance she offers WBEs today.
Well over 15 years ago, a UPS supplier diversity professional invited Rebecca to attend a WBENC event in New York. Not knowing what to expect she attended anyway. As fate would have it, she ended up sitting next to a supplier diversity manager for Texas Instruments (TI) who then invited her to Dallas for a sales meeting. That one encounter turned into a contract just a week later that remains a large client today.
Rebecca quickly saw the value of the WBENC network and what it could mean for her company’s success and future. She wanted to get more involved, which is how she discovered the Women’s Enterprise Forum.
The Women’s Enterprise Forum, or “the National Forum,” is a group of highly engaged, certified women business owners from across the country that, like Rebecca at that time, want to be an integral part of this impactful organization. With several WBE members serving on the WBENC board of directors and various board committees this group became known as “the voice of the WBEs.”
Rebecca became a representative of the National Forum and went on to serve as Chair of the Forum for four years. “It was a big responsibility but also an honor to be a part of WBENC’s growth and direction,” she recalls. Rebecca went on to also become one of the founding members of WIPP (Women in Public Policy), where she still serves as Treasurer today.
After years of involvement, Rebecca wanted to give back. Recognizing the continued challenges for women-owned businesses to obtain work with large corporations and to get access to financial opportunities, Rebecca focused on these areas to help lift others around her. She mentored for many years.
“I would tell other women owners to show up and show up, over and over again,” Rebecca stated. “It takes a long time to gain trust from corporations.”
She encourages all women business owners to get a mentor, whether Corporate or WBE, to help navigate the network and learn how the system works. She also says to remember to always look for opportunities to work with other women business owners.
As Rebecca’s company celebrates 33 years in business she states, “It’s time for women to stand up for themselves. Our focus needs to be to hold corporations, government agencies, as well as prime contractors accountable in meeting their goals – especially when it comes to women-owned businesses.” Rebecca added that through organizations like WBENC, companies now have thousands of highly capable women-owned businesses ready to help them meet their goals.
Rebecca concluded with, “Being a part of WBENC was bold at the time and is still bold today, but we, as women business owners have always been bold.”
About the Featured WBE
Rebecca Boenigk is CEO of Neutral Posture, Inc., WBENC-certified since 1993. She is a former Chair of the National Forum.