Our 14th Year – The Company You Keep

Women's Presidents Organization (WPO) Entrepreneurial Excellence Forum

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Fresh off our Women Presidents Organization (WPO) Entrepreneurial Excellence Forum (EEF), where 800 women business owners converged on Las Vegas last week, the power of connections and networking were on full display. One need only look to the activity that follows conferences such as these, for proof of inspiration, once managers and owners are back at it. The agenda was jam packed with innovative speakers, performers and teachers, some of whom led workshops with immediate lessons.

The WPO, founded in 1997 by Dr. Marsha Firestone, has grown to more than 2000 women in 139 chapters across 10 countries. Generally, each chapter consists of 10-20 members assigned to or recruited by professionally trained facilitators who host confidential monthly meetings in a format akin to Toastmasters. Careful not to duplicate industries, members are free to share business challenges in a confidential and full-on supportive environment.

Difficult to fit into our busy calendars, annual events like last week’s forum demand a substantial investment of our leadership time, attention and energy. Often, incidental, by-the-way conversations and serendipitous throwaway comments can lead to actionable take-aways that make such an investment more than worth it.

This all brings to mind two relevant observations:

1. Much the way shared activities fuel bonding that results in productive working relationships, simply being in good company makes or breaks a good trial team with moments of inspiration that last throughout a trial;

2. The parallels between deep, interwoven connections to one of the largest trees in the world featured in this NPR story and the long-game power of interconnected, peer-to-peer support are of undeniable benefit.

Similar to the way trees in a forest thrive because of their proximity to each other, attendees and their businesses benefitted from the energy and hum of the crowd by mingling and sharing and listening and learning.

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