This month I received the amazing news that I’ll be representing WBEC DMV as their Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) star at the WBENC Conference in Nashville.
The WBE Star Award is the nation’s top recognition for excellence among women-owned businesses. The award honors 14 women from across the country within each of our 14 Regional Partner Organizations who are leaders in their local business communities and respective fields.
My fellow 2023 WBE Stars and I will receive our awards during the 2023 WBENC National conference, a gathering of more than 3000 entrepreneurs and business leaders taking place March 20-23, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Pamela Prince-Eason, President and CEO of WBENC says about this year’s stars, “Each one of them exemplifies the vital role women-owned businesses play in our economy. They are outstanding leaders, mentors and innovators, and we look forward to honoring them in March.”
“This year WBENC sought to recognize and celebrate WBEs who have demonstrated remarkable resilience and capacity to reinvent themselves. These WBE Stars are being honored for perseverance and excellence through reinvention and innovation, despite the unprecedented challenges of recent years.”
Resilience and Camaraderie
I am proud of what I’ve accomplished over the past few years but it’s so inspiring to be in the presence of the other stars. They are in different industries from different life experiences.
A couple of weeks ago, WBENC planned a photo shoot for us in Atlanta where we got to know each other and really share. As a business owner, I often have the chance to talk about times I’ve been resilient but I’d much rather listen to other business owners and how they handled those times. It was a great experience and I made some new friends.
The role of awards in business development
I encourage my clients to apply for these types of awards all the time. I’m often met with reluctance or skepticism about the value of the awards and there are a couple of reasons why I encourage people to get the recognition they deserve.
- Thought Leadership. I’m going to go from crass to caring in this list. Winning an award can be awkward because it begs you to promote yourself and why you’re so great. At the same time, it’s also shows that you are a leader and an expert in your field.
- Touchpoints. I’ve discussed how much I believe in touchpoints and reasons to get in touch. When you tell people that you are being recognized, as cringey as it may feel, people come out of the woodwork to applaud your success. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who took the time to congratulate me. It creates a reason for people to reach out to you.
For example, WBENC just released their list of Top Corp Award winners. That award is not just handed out; companies apply, supplier diversity representatives pull numbers and create a whole narrative about the work their company is doing to buy from underestimated founders. It’s a great reason to reach out and acknowledge what these corporate representatives do all day.
- You deserve it. That’s it. You work hard and should be recognized it and it feels good to reflect on your accomplishments and celebrate a milestone.
The recognition is nice but the company is even better. I’m looking forward to a great conference and to seeing these ladies again.