Every year is a challenge for women in business, but the pandemic has made the last two years especially challenging.
SCORE is tapping into the current business landscape to tailor its third annual Women in Business Conference, which will be conducted virtually on Zoom.
“A lot of women business owners are moving forward dynamically, changing their businesses to meet the needs of their clients,” said Kim White, chairwoman of the conference committee. “They have been doing what they need to do. A lot have moved into the virtual offerings. A lot of our mentees have changed their businesses to very strong online.”
The theme for this year’s women’s conference is “Power to Pivot — Women in Business Succeed!”
The “pivot,” of course, is the past year and a half presenting the reality of having to or choosing to change your job, business or career path.
“Many people who had a job before the pandemic had a bit of time to think about that: ‘I don’t want to go back to that job,’ ” White said. “ ‘I want to do something else that I have always had at the back of my mind as a passion.’ ”
Last year, deep in pandemic lockdown, SCORE’s first go with a virtual conference was about “grit and grace,” inspiring attendees to go after their dreams. This year it’s pivoting in other directions.
“We just feel so many women are adjusting how they do business and where they do business, and we want to give them the information to make them feel powerful in the changes they are pursuing,” White said.
The session has three panel discussions: “Embracing the challenge and risk of changing your business model,” “Expanding the use of digital technology to streamline and market your business” and “Access funding to support a pivot or grow your business.”
“We really looked at a lot of writings that coaches and entrepreneurs had written during the pandemic about the pitfalls about changing your business model,” White said. “We have realized that digital is so important. Organizing your business using technology is something many [businesses] are finding imperative.”
Then there is money.
“Funding to grow your business is always a big question,” White said. “We’re planning to introduce the audience not only to banking professionals. We’re also including an angel investor and a woman who will talk about crowdfunding.”
The conference moderator is Victoria Price, author of The Way of Being Lost: A Road Trip to My Truest Self.
Change management consultant Sharon Dye Yates will discuss the business pivot. Yates will also be on the changing your business model panel as will Jodi Morris of Connecting Growth Globally and Francine Sommer of Respect Wellness Inc. The digital technology panel will include Rubina Cohen of Firefly Strategies, Pi Luna of Pi Luna Art and Roxana Villa of Illuminated Perfume. The experts on accessing funding are Linda Rodriguez Brandt of Del Norte Credit Union, Dorian Rader of OneTen Capital and Marcia Kaplan of Kaplan & Associates.
Panelists will give a 20-minute Zoom presentation for each topic and then attendees can ask questions through Zoom Chat, White said.
“The audience is going to be engaged with the panelists,” said White, noting the change from last year when the conference only had presentations.
Only the first women’s conference in 2019 was live. The pandemic necessitated remote attendance, but the remoteness could be from anywhere. White estimates 20 percent of last year’s attendees were out of state, as far away as Alaska, Atlanta and New Jersey.
Future SCORE women’s conferences will have an online component even when live conferences return, White said.
Del Norte Credit Union is the premier event underwriter for SCORE’s live networking workshop planned for spring 2022.