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VOL. 127 | NO. 173 | Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Women Groups to Elevate Business at Seminar

By Sarah Baker

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Three years ago, three national women’s organizations began to gather in Memphis with a vision of preparing and excelling women in business.

The third annual “When Great Women Gather” event will be held Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. It is being co-hosted by Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and the Women Business Enterprise Council South (WBEC South).

The event, which lasts from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., will feature several workshops offered concurrently, exploring secrets and strategies to implement in all markets – from urban to rural to global.

Mary Singer, president of CRG Sustainable Solutions, sits on all three boards, including as regional director for WBEC South. She said a goal of this year’s program was to reach out to some of the women in Memphis’ surrounding sphere of influence, like Marion and DeSoto County, with a goal of spurring creativity for those who are losing ground.

“They’re losing population, they’ve got buildings that are sitting vacant,” Singer said. “We’re trying to have them come to some different events to inspire them for creativity for some of their communities and help them think a little bit different. The inside of the box has changed, we think. So how do we help one another be the best where you are.”

To that end, this year’s event will include a learning track called, “Doing Business on the Square: Economic Development in Rural Communities.” Facilitated by Pamela Marshall, executive director for Memphis Area Association of Governments, this panel of professionals will discuss the opportunities currently available for new businesses in the rural market; the realistic pros and cons of choosing to open a business in rural vs. urban communities; and offer key points from existing rural business owners who are experiencing success in their communities.

Meanwhile, NAWBO’s workshop “Breaking Out of the Trenches” recognizes that most women business owners – 91 percent – find themselves in a transitional phase after successfully launching a business. This breakout session – led by Natasha Donerson, Shayna Rattler, Deidre Malone and Tess Lee – will present ways to break through the barriers that keep thriving second-stage businesses from becoming market leaders.

In addition, CREW’s “Designing Efficient Work Space” module will address challenges associated with a modern office, including the need to be flexible in order to evolve through an unknown future. Heather Averwater, interior designer with brg3s architects, will provide creative ideas on how to design both traditional workspaces and also those out of a home.

For women entrepreneurs leasing office space, Jill Schmitt will give perspective for tenants on how to negotiate for design in a lease and how to maximize work areas while minimizing dollars.

“The current economic environment requires flexibility and the ability to adapt to a changing real estate environment,” said Mary Sharp, chief operational officer for CB Richard Ellis Memphis and 2013 CREW president. “Men and women who have the vision to anticipate changing trends and client needs will be successful.”

Also, WBEC South’s Global Good Morning track will offer tips on how to prepare to go global with presentations from the Department of Commerce, as well as a panel of business owners already engaged in international commerce.

“The content is an eye opener for how much fraud is happening with smaller businesses,” Singer said.

The luncheon keynote speaker, Angelique Rewers, will conclude by discussing, “Shattering the C-Myth.” Her speech will tackle why the time is now for women entrepreneurs to play bigger, and how that also benefits corporate America.

Cost is $49 for individual online registration before Friday, Sept. 7, and $59 for individual late registration at the door. All of the tabletop exhibits are sold, but there are plenty of attendance tickets still available.

Registration is available online at www.wbecsouth.org/gwgt2012. For more information, visit www.wbecsouth.org or www.nawbomemphis.org.

The Daily News supports the Memphis chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women.

PROPERTY SALES 51 334 9,936
MORTGAGES 41 330 10,946
BUILDING PERMITS 348 1,216 22,173
BANKRUPTCIES 43 348 6,311