Seven years ago, Nancy Lewis and Rhonda Hight created Transforming Women Entrepreneurs, a forum designed to give entrepreneurs and those who aspire to travel the entrepreneurial journey an opportunity to network and gain business strategies in an upscale environment. They are having their seven-year anniversary event on March 12, 2015, and its theme is Women Igniting, Influencing & Inspiring the Business World. It promises to be a day filled with dynamic speakers who nurture you to greater success in life, business and career. The event will be held at The Commerce Club in downtown Atlanta.
Here, Lewis discusses how TWE has grown in seven years, why the anniversary event is important to attend — besides the fact seven years is the number of perfection — and the benefits of professional relationships.
Now in it’s seventh year, how has TWE helped female entrepreneurs?
Transforming Women Entrepreneurs was created by me and Rhonda Hight seven years ago. After the first year, Rhonda stepped away to work on other projects. However, I knew what we created together was an awesome concept, so I continued to build the brand of TWE.
How much has it grown?
TWE has grown to have a significant following of entrepreneurs, corporate and government business women, and men who attend this informative and insightful series held in March, June, September and November. TWE has experienced great success in gaining ambassadors and champion supporters of these value add sessions. TWE has been blessed with gaining corporate sponsorships from organizations such as: Georgia Power, Delta Air Lines Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta Gas Light, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and KISS 104.1 FM. We have also had many small to mid-size companies join us as sponsors over the past seven years. Sponsorships from the business community speaks to the credibility and need for forums like this for entrepreneurial women.
What areas of business does TWE are covered during the conference?
TWE has covered many business topics to include: marketing, social media, work-life balance, public relations, branding, collaborations, just to name a few. The wonderful part of this journey is that the topical areas are so big we can come back and cover different aspects of them in future forums without being redundant. Selected speakers consist of dynamic, powerful female entrepreneurs and corporate executives highly skilled and knowledgeable about topics presented.
What three skill sets are critical for entrepreneurs?
Three essential for the entrepreneurial journey are faith, relationships and authenticity. Faith requires moving forward during challenging times and not giving up when the journey becomes difficult. I have had to learn you cannot look at what you see but know that God has a plan for you and that plan it to expand your faith. Relationships rule. No relationships equal to limited business opportunities. Whereas, cultivating relationships is critical to growing your business and being considered when business deals are available. Authenticity is key. As a professional, you have to be comfortable, consistent and confident in who you are. A phrase I say frequently is, “Do you because everybody else is taken.” Presenting with authenticity keeps your stress level down because you don’t have to remember what you did or said because you are consistently being you when you show up.
Describe your networking style.
My networking style is to move from networking to connecting. Networking is often simply an exchange of a business cards that you take back to your office and put on the desk with all the other cards you have. When you connect with people you move beyond cards to having meaningful dialogue that will lead to conversations beyond the event. Forget about the quantity of cards you collect and focus on the quality discussions you have with those you meet. Everyone you meet you won’t connect with and that is okay. Have a plan of what you want to accomplish when you go out to network. Be strategic with your networking so you can make your connections move from a contact to a future contract.
Why are forums like this important?
Forums like these are important because they provide the avenue for entrepreneurs and business professionals to connect, have dialogue and collaborate down the line. It is a safe nurturing environment that allows you to walk up to anyone there, introduce yourself and have a meaningful conversation. If you are not comfortable doing that, introductions can be made for you.
Why are professional relationships important?
Professional relationships are the glue that makes everything stick. You have to work on your relationships consistently and stay in touch with people not just when you need something. Be a giver, provide information and resources to your network. As an entrepreneur, I have truly learned the art of networking but more importantly have worked to master the art of connecting which takes your skill of relationship building to another level. I am thankful God has allowed me to walk in my passion and purpose over the last 19 years as the President of Progressive Techniques, Inc. where we “Develop a Better YOU!”
Transforming Women Entrepreneurs will celebrate seven years on March 12, 2015, at the Commerce Club from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information on speakers and registration, log on to www.tweus.com.