Female business owners are quickly becoming more and more prominent in the work force. In the year 2012, the National Women’s Business Council revealed that the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. had seen a 26.8% increase over the past five years. California came out on top with the highest number of women-owned businesses. And, finally, perhaps the most surprising fact: nearly nine in ten of these businesses claimed to have just one employee, the owner.
The rapid increase of female entrepreneurs within the last decade is undoubtedly a positive step. However, many of these women lack the experience and resources to efficiently manage their business. SCORE Orange County, a nonprofit resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration, headquartered in Santa Ana, specializes in fostering small business success and towards that end recently hosted the Fourth Annual Women Business Owners Conference.
On the breezy morning of April 14th, more than 200 ambitious women and men alike gathered bright and early at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Attendees of the Fourth Annual Women Business Owners Conference grew lively upon networking with new faces, socializing with exhibitors, and, of course, finally feeling the caffeine buzz of their morning coffee. Shortly after settling in, guests had the privilege of hearing welcome remarks from the Mayor of Newport Beach, Diane Dixon.
Diane Harkey, Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization, kept her audience engaged as the morning keynote speaker. Giving intriguing insights into the present business climate in California, Harkey is knowledgeable with her private and public sector background. As both a mother and successful businesswoman in corporate finance and banking, her advice is taken to heart.
Dierdre McCready, Senior VP Sales and Special Events for Live Nation, delivered the lunch keynote presentation, highlighting key strategies in regards to strategic partnering and co-marketing. McCready, also a mom, inspired attendees by sharing how she balances that role with her career, which requires her to expertly oversee sales growth for her employer.
Throughout the day, guests attended various breakout sessions with female-only speakers specializing in every topic from negotiating tips to social media and managing credit to tax tips. Amidst the exhibit hall, attendees mingled and networked and filled out passports for an opportunity drawing at the end of the day.
As the conference came to a close and acquaintances exchanged their final business cards, you could not help but notice the air of confidence with each click of women’s heels.