This one’s for the ladies…

OK, men, you listen up, too.  Women, not to over generalize, but through my discussions with many of you (present company included), here are some of the issues that you find challenging in business:

  • Networking
  • Building Boards
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Financing and Fundraising for Your Businesses
  • Scaling Your Companies

Forgive me if this sounds entirely self-promotional on behalf of Kauffman FastTrac, but we will cover these topics and more during the Kauffman FastTrac Global Women’s Summit tomorrow.  Super star speakers will share their insights and give participants tips, tricks and tools for addressing these concerns head on.  My expectation is that participants (even the men in the group!) will leave with information that they can immediately apply to their own businesses to enable them to be more successful. 

One of the sessions that I am particularly excited about, a panel entitled, “Building a Board,” will feature Kauffman FastTrac Board Chair, Lesa Mitchell, and two highly successful business women and board members of several organizations, Donna James (see below) and Robin Sterneck.  The group will discuss why women business owners must create strong, effective boards and advisory boards for themselves.  They will share why not only having a solid board in place will help the business to succeed, but they will also talk about why having women on these boards is so critical. 

Staying with this topic, I encourage you to check out the Third Quarter 2011 issue of Directors&Boards magazine.  The cover picture is of the Donna James, who sits on the boards of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Limitedbrands, Time Warner Cable and Marathon Petroleum Corporation, and the cover story is entitled, “The power of three:  Three women on a board, that is.”  In the article, we learn that one way women can build boards and put themselves up for consideration to others’ boards is through networking.  Through networking, a woman (really, a person, woman or man) can encourage a contact to look at her background and to ask them to consider where she would fit in on such a board.  It is a powerful way to make connections, to help others and their companies, and to position oneself as an expert.

Even if you can’t be in Kansas City, I encourage you to tune in tomorrow for the keynote addresses which will be available via live webcast.  Here is a listing of the times (all of them are Central Standard Time):

  • 9:00am:    Global Trends – Women in Entrepreneurship featuring Julie Weeks, CEO, Womenable and President, Association of Women’s Business Centers
  • 11:30am:  Fireside Chat with Jean Case, CEO, Case Foundation
  • 12:15pm: An Entrepreneur’s Story:  Disrupting the Market featuring Jim McKelvey, Co-Founder, Square
  • 2:30pm:    Financing/Fundraising for Your Business a panel discussion moderated by Leigh Wasson, Senior Director, BNY Mellon and featuring Alexsis de Raadt St. James (Founder and Chairman, The Althea Foundation), Greg Gottesman (Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group), Eric Jackson (CEO, CapLinked) and Sharon Vosmek (CEO, Astia)
  • 3:30pm:    Intentional Networking featuring Eric Morgenstern, CEO, Morningstar Communications

In fact, this morning, Eric Morgenstern joined me, along with my colleague Michele Markey and FastTrac alumna, Valerie Jennings, Owner of Hippie Chow Natural Foods, on the local NPR station, KCUR FM 89.3, when talk show host, Jabulani Leffall, of “Central Standard,” had a show all about these issues that I bring to your attention. I encourage you to listen to the podcast at your leisure.

Tomorrow, I will share some of the lessons learned at the Kauffman FastTrac Global Women’s Summit in hopes that they will help you with your networking quest.  Until then…

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