WPO was started in 1997 by Dr. Marsha Firestone, after she noticed a lack of business education for women who had achieved some entrepreneurial success. Faced with the everyday challenges of running a business, these CEOs can't talk to or confide in their employees, or share experiences which can be isolating. Twenty women attended the initial meeting. Today the Women Presidents' Organization is the ultimate affiliation for successful women entrepreneurs worldwide. WPO's mission is today, as it was then, to accelerate business growth, enhance competitiveness and promote economic security for multi-million dollar women-led companies through confidential and collaborative peer-learning groups. There are 1,900 members, in 134 chapters across 6 continents.
20 Years of Quantum Leaps in Growing the Economy
According to The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute, it is estimated that by 2018, one third of all U.S. jobs will be generated by women-led businesses. The collective economic impact of WPO's members is staggering, as is the broad spectrum of industries in which members are excelling today -- from IT solutions to facility operations management, shipping, construction, financial services, consumer products and beyond.
"Women business leaders encounter unique challenges and deserve a supportive resource that provides the knowledge and skills to thrive," says Firestone. "Being an entrepreneur is the great equalizer. By owning their own companies, women have more power, more influence and can pay themselves more, as well as control their time," she adds.
"In the two decades since founding WPO, women-led businesses have reached new heights in generating economic impact, creating jobs and shaping the future," Firestone notes. "WPO's 20th anniversary is a defining moment for women entrepreneurs around the world. We will continue to service our members by bringing the 'genius out of the group.' WPO is as much about giving as it is about getting." To prompt sharing of information among its high powered members, WPO employs a proprietary roundtable process, led by a professional facilitator, and requires a commitment to confidentiality.
"For twenty years, WPO's peer advisory model has fostered mutually beneficial relationships that lead to successful business outcomes, inspiring women to excel, take more control of their future and grow their businesses across cultures and industries," says Margery Kraus, Founder and Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide.
Anniversary Year Preview
Starting in January 2017, WPO will kickoff a series of celebrations throughout the year, with national and international chapters staging their own regional events and programs. Highlights include:
- Annual Conference, May 4-6th, Orlando, FL, to feature global thought leaders, including Harvard professor and psychologist Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, and Maya Penn, a 16-year-old entrepreneurial phenomenon and founder, Maya's Ideas.
- Official launch of the Foundation of the Women Presidents' Organization (FWPO) and announcement of its inaugural education initiatives which support women entrepreneurs.
- The 10th annual 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/ Led Companies™ - sponsored by American Express. Eligible companies will be ranked according to a sales growth formula that combines percentage and absolute growth.
"WPO has empowered a generation of women entrepreneurs to embrace the inherent challenges and constant change of today's business landscape with strength, confidence and ferocity," said Judi Sheppard-Missett, CEO and Founder, Jazzercise. "By supporting and motivating each other, WPO helps all of us to persevere and thrive."
More information about WPO's 20th anniversary celebration will be announced as it becomes available and posted on www.womenpresidentsorg.com.
About the Women Presidents' Organization
The WPO is the premier peer advisory organization connecting women who own multi-million dollar companies. In monthly meetings across six continents, chapters of 20 women presidents from diverse industries invest time and energy in themselves and their businesses to drive their corporations to the next level. Local WPO chapters are coordinated by a professional facilitator and meet monthly to share business expertise and experience in a confidential setting. Starting in 2007 WPO launched the listing of the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Led Companies™ – now sponsored by American Express - to focus attention on the vital role that women-owned/led companies have in boosting the economy and enhancing overall job growth.
For more information, call 212-688-4114 or visit www.womenpresidentsorg.com. Follow us on Twitter @womenpresidents. Like us on Facebook @TheWPO.
Women Presidents' Organization
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