The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Charlotte is a professional organization specifically designed to fuel the success of the 42,000 women-owned businesses in the greater Charlotte area. We had the chance to talk with Elaine Piraneo, Charlotte Chapter Expansion Director, to find out about how NAWBO Charlotte serves local business women.
Charlotte Business Resources (CBR): Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Elaine. First, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with NAWBO Charlotte.
Elaine Prianeo (EP): I joined the organization in 1992 when it was just a local group known as Women Business Owners (WBO). I had just started my own business, ACCUBILL/Tele-Vantage. I felt like I didn’t have the time to get fully involved in the organization so I just attended a few lunch and dinner meetings.
In 2008, I decided I was going to finally jump in with both feet and get the most out of my membership. I joined the Chapter Expansion Committee and helped recruit and mentor new members. I also got involved in a Mastermind Group. Both these activities resulted in relationships with other members and helped create strong bonds that are still strong today.
I wish I had taken the time in 1992 to participate in the group as opposed to just showing up! I am sure it would have moved my business to the next step a lot quicker than going it alone had.
CBR: Tell us about NAWBO. Why was NAWBO first established? How long has Charlotte had a NAWBO chapter?
EP: In 1975, a group of a dozen like-minded businesswomen in the D.C. area gathered to share information and create an atmosphere of professional community to further and strengthen their entrepreneurial interests. That group quickly grew to become what is now known as the National Association of Women Business Owners. Since then, NAWBO has risen to become the strong and unified voice of more than 11 million women-owned businesses across the country.
Over the past 40 years, NAWBO has expanded across the United States, boasting a chapter in nearly every major metropolitan area. With far-reaching clout and impact, NAWBO is a one-stop resource to propelling women business owners into greater economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide.
The Charlotte Chapter of NAWBO was established in 1999. Prior to that it was operating as Women Business Owners (WBO). The Board members at that time saw the importance and benefit of becoming part of a much larger National Organization.
CBR: What are the benefits of joining NAWBO? What do you offer members in return for their dues?
EP: There are way too many benefits to list here, but I will highlight a few. Those who are interested can see a full list of benefits on our website!
- Monthly meetings/workshops/seminars with topics relevant to women business owners
- Monthly expansion group meetings in Concord, Lake Norman and Ft. Mill
- Mastermind groups which are small groups of 6-8 women
- Networking and support from other women business owners
- Special events including our annual Awards Gala
- Corporate partners who offer special benefits and discounts to members
- And much, much more….
CBR: How can women get involved?
EP: Attend meetings! Guests are always welcome to attend our meetings, so anyone who is interested in learning more about NAWBO Charlotte is encouraged to attend. After joining, members should get involved with the smaller Mastermind Groups in order to get to know the members better and build lasting relationships. The best way to find out about upcoming events is by visiting our website: www.nawbocharlotte.org.
CBR: In your opinion, what have been some of the greatest achievements of NAWBO?
EP: Here are a few of our achievements:
- Strengthening the wealth creating capacity of our members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community
- Creating innovative and effective change in the business culture
- Building strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations
- Transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers
CBR: Is there anything else you would like for us to know about NAWBO?
EP: NAWBO Charlotte is a fun group to belong to with the benefit of building long lasting relationships with like-minded individuals.
You can learn more from watching this video!