NAWBO began to take shape in central Iowa in May of 1984 when more than 850 women from Iowa and surrounding states came to Des Moines for the Midwestern Women's Business Ownership Conference. I felt like I'd come out from under a rock! It was overwhelming because none of us had any idea that so many women-owned businesses existed. The energy we felt as a group was incredible; no one wanted to just say "that was nice" and go back to business as usual when the two-day event ended. So in a ballroom at the Marriott after the last session, a small group sat around a banquet table and made plans to stick together.
This central Iowa group was appropriately called the Roundtable, and when 10 Roundtable members were delegates to the 1986 White House Conference on Small Business, the Iowa WBOs came home from Washington, D.C., singing the praises of a national entity called NAWBO. They'd seen the knowledgeable members of NAWBO strategically negotiate, rally and put forth an agenda that would benefit WBOs nationwide. There was so much to learn from an organization that was started in 1975 by like-minded business women in the D.C. area. The Iowa WBOs wanted to affiliate with NAWBO, and The Roundtable became the Iowa Chapter of NAWBO in 1986.
NAWBO has risen to become the strong and unified voice of more than 10 million women-owned busiesses across the country. There are 80 chapters around the country, and NAWBO-CI is the only chapter in Iowa.
- Pam Schoffner, P.S. Writes, www.schoffner.com