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NAWBO01-1-17 Across the nation women are striking out on their own in the businesses world and Sedona is no exception.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers
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Across the nation women are striking out on their own in the businesses world and Sedona is no exception.

“Women are starting businesses twice as fast as men [in Greater Sedona],” Sharon Hooper said.

Hooper is president of the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Sedona chapter. NAWBO is a national organization, established in 1975, dedicated to representing women entrepreneurs in all industries.

“They want a different life,” Hooper said, “personal freedom and to get out of the corporate world.”

As the number of women business owners increases, so does NAWBO membership.

NAWBO acquired approximately 75 Verde Valley members since its debut about six years ago.

“We’re gaining two or three new members a month at the minimum,” Hooper said.

By June, Hooper’s goal is to reach 100 members.

New memberships are often spurred when guests attend NAWBO’s monthly meetings.

Aileen Smart, owner of Smart Window Creations, joined NAWBO over two years ago after attending a monthly meeting.

“It was just this dynamic group of women that were making a difference,” Smart said, and she wanted to be a part of it.

“When you get that many hard driving women together, you start making a difference in the community,” Smart said.

Hooper said as NAWBO grows it strives to become not only a resource for women, but also for the entire business community.

“Every time we make a difference in our group we make a difference in the community,” Smart said.

According to Smart, NAWBO offers needed support for women starting new businesses and continues to guide them as their business grows.

Being a NAWBO member, Smart said, has taught her about herself while improving her business. New clients from NAWBO’s membership pool and business resource contacts are just a few benefits of NAWBO.

“The women are extremely supportive of each other,” Hooper said, allowing business and personal connections to form.

Connections, according to Hooper, are key elements of NAWBO’s success. Networking is a big part of the organization.

“Women are so good at building relationships, Hooper said.

Members began showing up early for meetings and staying late to chat among themselves, Hooper said.

In addition to monthly meetings, NAWBO is starting a Master Educational Program. A selected member will teach other members, during special seminars, skills from their industry that benefit all businesses.

“Our purpose is to help them grow and succeed in their business,” Hooper said.

For more information on NAWBO visit www.nawboedona.org.


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