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Business Woman of the Year Award: Getting The Gold and Advice For Others

Being recognized for the hard work, business achievement and business leadership was exciting and also humbling. Having my hard work realized and rewarded gave me a strong feeling that I have accomplished things worth my long hours or work.

How Did I Get Here

It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does seem to be in the blink of an eye as I look back. You work hard and go to networking events and take continuing classes for business management or for higher company certifications, and do your day-to-day, and then one day you look up and years have passed. But in those years and experience combined with accomplishment and going over and above to build a business, you wake up to successes that used to seem so far away. I’m going to tell you, though, that you can’t really do it on your own (or at least there’s a better way).

Billie Dragoo, the architect president of the Indianapolis chapter and NAWBO National President, was my most influential mentor in business. She is a mentor, an influencer, and has become a very dear friend. She taught me the importance of business from big picture, public policy, and how to navigate rules of engagement in business relationships. Had it not been for the guidance and support that I received from Billie and the opportunity and ability to connect with other NAWBO members, I don’t think I could have ever brought my company to this level.

Pitfalls to Avoid & Advice for Achievement

There is no way to gain success without failures and learning the hard way at times. It’s just part of the process of growing. Things will go wrong, you will make many mistakes, and that’s okay. If I were to give my younger self some advice I would tell myself to relax and go at things with more humor. Life is short. 

People ask me for advice on getting into business and to the next level. To anyone who is looking to open a new business or grow their current SMB, do it (but do it right!). There has never been a better time in history to be in business; companies are hungry to do business with others who give good customer service and deliver what is promised. And people are willing to pay for value. Good customer service and delivering what is promised is highly valued in today’s market place. Under promise and over deliver. Trust me, that is not easy to do!

I start out each day focusing on what I am grateful for: certain people, specific relationships, and situations that are affecting my personal and work life. In fact, I have a bracelet that I wear every day reminding me as soon as I put it on in the morning to focus on the positives, on the people and things I draw strength from, and to be grateful for what is going right and good.

Moving Forward The NAWBO Way

It means a great deal to be an example to my three adult children who all own businesses of their own and also to my grandchildren who are developing dreams of their own. In accepting this award, I want to honor my peers in business and the women at NAWBO who have believed in me and supported me. And to women who are coming behind me, I hope to encourage them to push forward even in the midst of difficult or seemingly unsurmountable circumstances. Most of all, I hope to be another woman in the long line of NAWBO pioneers who break the mold of expectations and defy the doubt in their own mind. Thank you, NAWBO for honoring me with such an esteemed award; I will continue in mentorship and giving back to my community in our tradition of building something greater each passing year.