Connecting Women to Power Initiative
Women are the fastest growing population of business owners in our economy, and the vitality and variety of new business endeavors they bring to the marketplace are key to success in our communities, state, and nation. When we were a manufacturing economy, women brought diversity, skills, and labor in great numbers to make us the greatest manufacturing nation in the 20th Century. Now, as we evolve into an entrepreneur-driven, global economic nation, it will continue to be our state's diversity that makes us a full partner with the nations who are vital to our economic future.
As we begin to see economic recovery taking place in large business enterprises, in the State of California and across the nation, it is inevitable that small businesses will also begin to recover, stabilize and grow. It is important that elected officials enact legislation that ensures that national and state government business development agencies demonstrate that the time of economic recovery has begun for California businesses.
The free, "Connecting Women to Power," business conferences were specifically designed for business owners, business professionals, and community leaders. The purpose of this initiative is to contribute to the revitalization of California's economy by empowering and inspiring Californians to pursue success and prosperity in our global economy.
We began by hosting more than 375 women entrepreneurs at the "Connecting Women to Power" business pre-conference on Thursday, June 24, 2010, at the prestigious American Jewish University in Bel Air. The Mistress of Ceremonies, Ms. Beverly White of KNBC News, eloquently introduced one power player after another including Betty T. Yee, former Chairwoman of the Board of Equalization, Madelyn Alfano, President Elect of National Association of Women Business Owners, Gary Toebben, President of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and the Keynote Speaker, Renee Radcliff Sinclair, Northwest Regional Director of Congressional and Public Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The first panel, which discussed international matchmaking and maximizing opportunities, included Mr. Martin Selander, a specialist on international trade with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Julie Anne Hennessy, Director, U.S. Commercial Services U.S. Department of Commerce, Marianne Hughes, Business Development Officer, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Judyth Kay Gilbert, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, outreach coordinator for Minority & Women Business Owners, Vonny Abbott, Business Tax Specialist, and Sally Phetteplace, Supervising Tax Auditor, both with the Board of Equalization. Their presentations allowed attendees to learn the how to invest in other countries, expand overseas, engage in importing or exporting, and establish joint ventures with foreign-based businesses seeking U.S. partners.
The speakers of the second panel, who were equally powerful in the world of international trade, included business development experts from the embassies of Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa, Korea, and Germany. They offered strategies and techniques for doing business in international markets and the global economy, while inviting the conference participants to expand their businesses into their respective countries. Also present at the conference were representatives of the California Department of General Services, which administers billions of dollars in state contracts and the Employment Development Department, which oversees state job training and job placement services.
On March 30, 2011, we hosted our inaugural Connecting Women to Power Conference at California State University Dominguez Hills during Women's History month.
The conference focused on: doing business with the federal, state, and local governments; gaining access to capital; minimizing business tax burdens; accessing stimulus dollars; and strategies and techniques for growing businesses in California. It also provided a greater opportunity to network with local business owners and build key alliances, while getting the latest information on industry trends.
Vice Chair of the Board of Equalization, Michelle Steel, along with California Educational Solutions and the National Association of Women Business Owners, partnered in this successful conference with more than 900 in attendance. Keynote speakers included Maria Marin, Motivational Speaker, as well as Rosario Marin, the 41st U. S. Treasurer and the first Latina to be selected for this position.
Representatives from nonprofit organizations and local, state, and federal agencies were available to assist attendees. Topics included presentations and panels on contracting opportunities, accessing traditional and non-traditional capital, working with the Board of Equalization and other tax agencies, leveraging technology to enhance success, understanding state, local, and federal stimulus programs, wealth management and financial planning, expanding overseas and contracting with foreign countries, and mastering the always challenging work-life balance.
5901 Green Valley Circle
Suite 200, 90230-6948
(PO Box 3652, 90231-3652)
12440 E. Imperial Highway
Suite 200, 90650-8397
(PO Box 409, 90651-0409)
15350 Sherman Way
Suite 250, 91406-4203
(PO Box 7735, 91409-7735)
1521 West Cameron Ave.
Suite 300, 91790-2738
(PO Box 1500, 91793-1500)