Betty’s Show Notes
If you want to encourage the women in your organization to achieve more success, a women’s initiative can help.
There are several key parts to forming a successful women’s initiative.
- 100% buy in from the top level of the company.
- The mindset cannot be “have to” but a “want to.” It’s not a fad or short-term. It has to become a part of the culture.
- It’s not a one-person show. All the women in your company need to participate. It’s about addressing the needs of all the women in your company in their varying stages.
- Evolving goals and purposes.
- Partnering with strong women-oriented organizations in your area, such as the Women’s Small Business Accelerator (WSBA) and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).
The benefits of a women’s initiative include developing leadership skills, attracting and retaining employees, energizing your current workforce, building confidence and networking skills, and more.
This episode includes interviews with Christy Farnbauch, Executive Director of the Columbus Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and with Mary McCarty, Co-Founder of the Women’s Small Business Accelerator.
Christy Farnbauch, Executive Director, NAWBO Columbus
Christy Farnbauch is the Executive Director of NAWBO Columbus. Established in 1996, NAWBO Columbus is the largest chapter of NAWBO in the nation. This chapter’s work includes elevating women business owners through connections, advocacy, and mentorship. Founded in 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the unified voice of America’s more than 10 million women-owned businesses representing the fastest growing segment of the economy. NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries; and boasts over 7,000 members and 70 chapters across the country. With far-reaching clout and impact, NAWBO is a one-stop resource to propelling women business owners into greater economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide.
Mary McCarthy, Women’s Small Business Accelerator
Mary McCarthy has 20+ years of experience as an entrepreneur and seven years as the owner and founder of YMT Consultants, Inc., a business consulting and development firm. McCarthy is the former Chairperson of SCORE Columbus, sat on the Athena PowerLink Governing Body, sits on the programming committee for the Westerville Chamber, and public policy committee for National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Columbus Chapter. She is a former member of the now-retired Ohio Department of Development’s Small Business Advisory Council. In 2018, Mary was hired at the WSBA as executive director. Her leadership and passion for the organization and its mission cannot be matched. She plans to take the organization to the next level and beyond. For more information go to https://www.wsbaohio.org/.
“Inspiring Women” Podcast Series
“Inspiring Women” is THE podcast that advances women toward economic, social and political achievement. The show is hosted by Betty Collins, CPA, and presented by Brady Ware and Company. Brady Ware is committed to empowering women to go their distance in the workplace and at home. Past episodes of “Inspiring Women” can be found here.
Betty Collins: [00:00:01] This is Betty Collins, and we are Inspiring Women, presented by Brady Ware. This is the podcast that advances women towards economic, social, and political achievement. I am here to inspire you to take steps to the next level in your career. Thanks for listening and investing your time in yourself. More about Inspiring Women in this episode can be found at Bradyware.com/resources.
Betty Collins: [00:00:29] Today, I want to talk about having a women’s initiative in your company, or in your organization. A women’s initiative, a lot of that started, easily, years ago, and it kind of became a checklist, and it was more- it was the right thing to do.
Betty Collins: [00:00:49] A lot of times those initiatives within companies turned out to be not very good, because the women were set up, in many ways, to fail, because it was a given that they were getting promotions. It was a given that they were getting a job before someone who might have qualified for it. In some ways, it served a purpose, but in other ways, it was not probably the way to do it.
Betty Collins: [00:01:12] I can tell you, from my experience, I have had the privilege of directing a women’s initiative within my company, and it’s had a lot of success wrapped up in it. I wish I could just be a director of the women’s initiative at Brady Ware, but unfortunately, I have to work for a living, right? I’m a CPA, and an advisor, and play leadership roles within my company that are really important, but I put the directing the women’s initiative as one of those that are just as important.
Betty Collins: [00:01:44] If you have a company that you would like to really empower your workforce, or you would really like to support women, or get the women within your organization to achieve more, have more success, then this is one of the ways that you can do that.
Betty Collins: [00:02:02] I’m going to go a little bit on the journey of the women’s initiative that I have directed, and started, and founded at Brady Ware. The key, and success to it – truly I believe this – was, from the beginning in 2014, the CEOs of Brady Ware, Brian Carr, and Jim Kaiser, were absolutely behind the initiative.
Betty Collins: [00:02:24] People within our organization saw that this came from the top, and obviously the board of directors agreed to it, and then all the shareholders. It was a unanimous vote that we would start this initiative.
Betty Collins: [00:02:39] The second key to this was that the mindset of this initiative was not a “have to”. It was a “want to,” and it was not to be a fad, it was not to be short term. It was to just become part of the culture, and part of the mindset, and the way we think. I was really, really fortunate that I had that leadership from the beginning, and then, they challenged me to just take this, and go, and let’s see where it ends up.
Betty Collins: [00:03:12] The third thing I would tell you, as to why there was success, was it was not Betty Collins’ initiative. It was the women of the company. “What is it that you want?” We have times where we do a lot more with women’s initiative than we don’t, and it has ebbs, and flows, and timing. We don’t do a whole lot in women’s initiative stuff during tax season, with the exception of celebrating Women’s International Day. We just have a fun time doing that.
Betty Collins: [00:03:38] Otherwise, it’s the ideas, and it’s what they need, and it’s not what I think. I think women should read lots of books. They do not have that same opinion. In the beginning, I was thinking we can have a book club, and we can really read, and we can go with that. Some of them still like to do that, and I encourage that at all, because you’re better, if you read.
Betty Collins: [00:04:00] I just thought I’m going to go ahead, and let them make ideas, let them say what they would like to see happen. They also, at that time, didn’t know what that meant, but, we just kind of evolved into different things.
Betty Collins: [00:04:14] You have to really have some goals, and purposes. You can have great leadership support you; you can make sure this isn’t a fad; that this is going to stay around for a while; you can make sure, obviously, even that this is what the women of your company want, but you would still have to have: what is the goal, and purpose of having the initiative?
Betty Collins: [00:04:37] Our overall goal was to empower women, obviously, to succeed professionally, but also personally. We wanted to focus on them, and doing that with investing in resources, development of skills – that’s what I call reading books, by the way – creating support systems for women, every day, so that they can live out that full potential, and balance a lot of life.
Betty Collins: [00:05:01] Advancing their careers is a huge issue, but also that they can deal with issues that are in their personal life, that are at home, because that affects your career, and your professional life. You have to make sure that’s all in balance.
Betty Collins: [00:05:15] We really had those goals in mind. It was about their success professionally, their success personally. Then we invested. I mean, it takes that when you want to do this; you can have things like seminars, and meetings, and things that are directed to them. We also made sure that we were involved in our community outside of our office.
Betty Collins: [00:05:37] We’re a CPA, as you know. We sit in office a lot, and you can get kind of lost in that. Sometimes, you need to get out in your community, and see what’s happening with other women, and other organizations.
Betty Collins: [00:05:49] We did that, and we’re going to talk about that at the end of this podcast. Two organizations: the WSBA, which is the Women’s Small Business Accelerator, and NAWBO, which is the National Association of Women Business Owners. We got involved in those things. Those organizations really helped the women in our office, and other offices did other things, because we’re in four locations.
Betty Collins: [00:06:11] We also wanted to develop skills in women, utilizing resources like books, and CPE, speakers, or encouraging them to go to things, get involved with things. Meeting, also, as a group. Because we have four offices, we made sure that, at least once a year, our four offices come together, and we get to know other women within Brady Ware. That has been a big plus.
Betty Collins: [00:06:38] We do that once a year; we have about a day and a half, where we just spend on topics, on self-development, on what we think the firm needs, what we think that we would like for them to do. Then, we also have some kind of speaker come in, and talk; always getting that other perspective. We’ve done that ever since, so, those are things …
Betty Collins: [00:06:58] Then you have to have support systems that create, and value a culture that addresses the barriers, and the hurdles that women face. Over 50 percent of accountants today are women; it’s a little over 50 percent, and 21 percent of them are in the leadership, whether it’s the board of directors, or the shareholders.
Betty Collins: [00:07:25] What are those hurdles as to why they’re not in more of the leadership? When I came to Brady Ware there were two shareholders that were women, and I was one of them. Today, we have six. On top of that, we have a lot of managers, and senior managers that could still continue to go the distance, if they choose to do that, so we want to keep cultivating, “What are those barriers that are holding you back?”.
Betty Collins: [00:07:54] Women have different seasons in life; the 20s look nothing like the 30s, the 30s look nothing like the 40s, and certainly your 50s look like none of those. I don’t know what 60s look like, because I’m not there, but there’s different seasons, and there’s different times.
Betty Collins: [00:08:11] I have no regrets, when my kids were certain ages, that I wasn’t trying to build more of my career. I have no regrets in that. I’ve had parents aging. I have no regrets that I can drop, and go do what I need to do there. There are things, and times … When your kids are in college, you need to make sure that you make as much money as you can. Those years are different than other years, and they’re not home, and you have time, and you can be doing that.
Betty Collins: [00:08:38] There comes a point in time, too, I found in my 50s, “Wow, I’ve built a lot, and now I have opportunity to build even more if I want it.” If I would have looked, and thought about that in my 30s, I would have never seen that my 50s will be this period of freedom in my life. Every season’s different, and you just need to help them get there.
Betty Collins: [00:09:00] I never missed a game for my kids; I never missed the birthday parties; I always took off a day with them. Those type of things will never come back. In my 50s, it’s just different, and I’m seizing more opportunity. Everybody’s seasons are different, and we have to help them get through those barriers.
Betty Collins: [00:09:19] There’s also this whole thing on we have to balance professional and personal life, and I will tell you now – I’m doing this for 30-plus years – it’s a myth. You will never balance it. My theory has really become more, and I want to make sure other women understand this, is you can have it all. You just can’t do it all.
Betty Collins: [00:09:36] You have to have systems around you that allow you to say no. You had to have systems around you, where people will tell you “No, you’re not going to do that”, and you have to promote a sense of it’s okay that every everything is not okay. Instead of we think we have to live this ideal perfect life. Those are things that women need encouragement about. Those are things that women need support systems about. By the way, so do men in your organizations, they just handle things differently.
Betty Collins: [00:10:09] The real success that you want to see in a women’s initiative is that they are going the distance. They don’t cut short, they don’t stop when they can keep going forward, and when it comes to their decision in it, it’s theirs. We just need to make sure we help them run as far as they can go.
Betty Collins: [00:10:27] What benefits can come out of a woman’s initiative? I can tell you for sure – this has gone on for five years – I think we could still do a lot more; we’ve just scratched the surface in many respects, but you definitely develop leadership.
Betty Collins: [00:10:42] I had a woman come to Brady Ware as an intern, and she was young, and she just didn’t know a lot, right? We’re starting the women’s initiative, and man, did she just take off during those years. She isn’t with Brady Ware, because public accounting was not her forte, at the end of the day.
Betty Collins: [00:11:01] The development I saw in her, from being a pretty quiet, reserved person, in some regards, to serving on committees at N.A.W.B.O., and getting out there, and wanting to do marketing events, even when she wasn’t supposed to … She didn’t have to sell. She was still out there wanting to do it. I just saw development in her in a very quick time, and so we need to do that.
Betty Collins: [00:11:25] You will recruit new talent because of women’s initiatives, and you will retain them. When we do recruitment at colleges, the women’s initiative always comes up. When we have people look at our website, when they interview, most of the time, if they’re women, they’ve looked at the women’s initiative part of our website, and that’s a big play for them. It has kept people here longer than they might have not- left early, or whatever, but it’s really part of recruiting, and retaining.
Betty Collins: [00:11:53] You will energize your current workforce. When you have annual meetings with them, when you have conferences, when you’re getting them to events, when they’re going to fundraisers that benefit women, and they’re seeing success in those stories, you will energize your workforce. They will love doing it.
Betty Collins: [00:12:07] 55 percent of our workforce are women. I want them to have success. Their talent is valuable, and I don’t want them getting bogged down in things that women get bogged down in. Number-one thing they get bogged down in is just time, and there’s not enough of it, but the other would be lack of confidence. When we have things that support that, or enhance that, we’re going to see them really develop.
Betty Collins: [00:12:34] The other benefit from the women’s initiatives most certainly is … In my world is I now have well over 50 percent of my business are women-owned, and I’m known in the community, and in the marketplace for that.
[00:12:26] Business is business. Women aren’t any different, when it comes to … They have to have cash in the bank, like a man-owned business. Those things stay the same, but I will tell you that women have a different perspective sometimes of how they do things, and sometimes their battle is just bigger, because of that perspective, and the way they do things. As an advisor, I’ve been able to have a totally different outlook on how to help a woman-owned business.
Betty Collins: [00:13:23] Those are just some of the benefits that we’ve seen over the last five years. Now, here are some of our results for sure: in 2014, again, we had two shareholders that were women, and now we have six.
Betty Collins: [00:13:36] Those shareholders, those women, all look different on what they do, and how they do it, and how much time they work, and how much time they don’t work. It’s been very, very flexible for them, but that’s a good success, not because we can say we have women in the boardroom. We have the talent that we want in the boardroom, and that’s huge.
Betty Collins: [00:13:55] Some of the results … I think one of our biggest successes have been that we founded a woman’s conference, and this is year six for us, that we have had in the central-Ohio area. We partner with two organizations that I had mentioned earlier, that we’re going to interview.
Betty Collins: [00:14:10] Those organizations benefit, because this is- number one, it’s for their members; it’s for their connections, but it also helps their profits, and the profits of this conference go to their organizations. That has been a huge success, and that conference is happening June 28th of this year, and it’s at the OSU Marriott, and it will sell out. We’re already well halfway there on registration. I will tell you that that’s been a huge, huge thing.
Betty Collins: [00:14:39] Other results: we started a one-and-a-half to two day retreat, just for the women in Brady Ware, where we get together, and it’s totally optional. They do not feel pressure to come to this. It is something that they want to do; it’s something that they really look forward to. It’s just been one of those things where we’ve really learned a lot from each other, and we’ve been able to have some cohesiveness that has been fantastic.
Betty Collins: [00:15:03] We have a podcast series; you’re listening to it. This is one of the things that came out of the women’s initiative, as I got more and more into women-owned businesses, and the more I speak the more I’m out there. The podcast became something that we wanted to do, and it’s been extremely well-received.
Betty Collins: [00:15:21] We celebrate Women’s International Day. The first day we did it, the theme was on persistence. I asked the women of Brady Ware to write about that persistent woman in their life, and those stories were just phenomenal. We had a great day reading those, and celebrating those, of course with chocolate, but it was a fun time.
Betty Collins: [00:15:38] Just two success stories that I would share with you because of the women’s initiative. Sharon Hess, who is a senior manager out of our Dayton office, she’s been involved with Habitat for Humanity, and she’s on their board.
Betty Collins: [00:15:53] They decided to build a house for a single mom. She really, really took that to heart, and just went with it. She’s one of our leading women in the firm, who just has that energy, and smile. She raised the most money. In fact, she was involved to the point that she had the women of our Dayton office go … They had shovels, and hammers, and they just got really into helping that single woman. It was a great story … She did a phenomenal job.
Betty Collins: [00:16:22] The other one I would tell you is that Loranί Orobitg, who is a tax manager in our Columbus office, she … When the hurricane hit Puerto Rico – well, actually they had to hit within a week’s time – the second one just wiped out a school for girls that she had attended there, because she grew up in Puerto Rico.
Betty Collins: [00:16:43] She just hated to see the devastation. The school was suffering quite extensively, not just from damage, but the fact that nobody was working, so they couldn’t send their kids. She said “Hey could we just start a fundraiser in Brady Ware?” I said “Sure, you know, let’s have a breakfast, and we’ll charge a crazy amount for that.”
Betty Collins: [00:16:43] Before you know it, all four offices had some kind of fundraiser for that. Then, on top of that, her daughter went to Columbus School for Girls, where she goes to school, and got them involved. Now, that school, and the Puerto Rican school kind of are sister schools. At the end of the day, we raised almost ten thousand dollars. It all comes from the empowerment. It’s the thing that we push, but it was awesome to see that.
Betty Collins: [00:17:32] The biggest thing I hear from the women’s initiative … We’re all very busy here. We have day jobs, and we’re out there; we’re helping women-owned businesses, but we’re also CPAs, and we’re busy. The thing I hear the most is that the conversation started in 2014 about women, about what women need, about the empowerment of women, I could go on and on. The good news is is that conversation still continues. It’s still there.
Betty Collins: [00:17:58] Why did we have success? Because it was not my idea, or the top leadership idea. That was just the go to have it. It was that the women created what happened, and they had to step up, and they had to get involved, and then they helped it evolve into what it is.
Betty Collins: [00:18:17] Then, the last reason, of course, is that we are out there in our community, like the conference that I talked about. This conference isn’t just come for two hours, and have breakfast. It is an entire day. It is a breakfast panel of very successful women that will be a really good moderated time.
Betty Collins: [00:18:35] It’s about awards, and celebrations for women who are visionaries, and emerging leaders. It will have a national keynote speaker, and it has 10 breakout sessions of professionals. That’s a lot to accomplish in a five-year period to build that reputation of that conference, and there’ll be 300-plus women there.
Betty Collins: [00:18:55] The last part of the success, though, is that we partnered with other organizations that help, and support women who are in business, who are business leaders, who are executives in their companies. That, to me, is women supporting women.
Betty Collins: [00:19:12] It has just been an incredible journey, and I would encourage you, if you think you would like to do something, start out small. Start out with a vision that will go bigger, and be committed to it for a time period, and you’re going to energize a workforce, and develop some leadership there that you will have for a long time.
Betty Collins: [00:19:31] After the podcast, I’m going to interview Mary McCarthy, who is the co-founder and the executive director of the WSBA, and Christy Farnbauch, who is the executive director of NAWBO Columbus, which is the largest chapter in the country.
Betty Collins: [00:19:47] We’ve been talking about women’s initiatives in corporate America today, and how can that work that we can empower our workforce and really energize and develop talent? That’s what it’s about, at the end of the day, when you have these types of initiatives within a company.
Betty Collins: [00:20:06] Well, part of really having this success is partnering with the right people. I’m fortunate that we’re from Columbus. Ohio. There’s tremendous amounts of women’s groups that we can get involved with. We had to choose, and in the beginning of this, we went to a NAWBO event. We came back from that, and everyone was like “That’s what we’re going to do. That’s the place, that’s the place”.
Betty Collins: [00:20:33] Now, of course, NAWBO is the tribe; that’s where we belong. It’s the National Association of Women Business Owners. It’s the number-one chapter in the country. It does everything very, very well. It’s been very impactful, certainly for me, professionally, and as a person, and the women within my company.
Betty Collins: [00:20:57] You can’t go wrong by getting the right organization, and because we represent a lot of small businesses, it really is very, very helpful. I don’t go to NAWBOs events to always go get a client. I go there because you’re supporting other women, and then they’re helping you, and they don’t even know it.
Betty Collins: [00:21:12] I have the privilege today of interviewing Christy Farnbauch. She is the executive director for NAWBO Columbus. I would love for her just to … I’m going to ask her some questions, and some general things, and talk about the organization.
Betty Collins: [00:21:23] I could talk about it all day, and the impact that it’s had, but she really has some other perspectives. First, why don’t you tell my listeners a little just about yourself- that 30-second commercial thing?
Christy Farnbauch: [00:21:35] Well, thanks, Betty; thanks for having me with you today. I really appreciate the opportunity. I’m a loyal listener of your podcast, so it’s kind of fun to be on the other side today.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:21:44] I became the first professional executive director of NAWBO Columbus in July of 2017, so just almost two years. Prior to that, my whole career, you know, almost 30 years, as surprising as that is to say, almost 30 years in nonprofit-sector work …
Christy Farnbauch: [00:22:01] In 2006, I got the entrepreneurial bug, and started a small business working with non-profits, coaching them in board development, and fundraising, that kind of work, grant writing. This position really blends my expertise of nonprofit governance, and my entrepreneurial spirit.
Betty Collins: [00:22:17] As the executive director of NAWBO, tell us about the mission, and the purpose of your organization.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:22:23] NAWBO Columbus exists to elevate women business owners, of all sizes, and from all industries. We’re really the only association that works in that way. We do our work through networking, advocacy and mentorship, which are our three key pillars.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:22:38] We’re keenly focused on helping women business owners be competitive in an inclusive economy. Women are really important to the growth of the economy in Ohio, and in the country, so that’s really our long term focus, is on the impact.
Betty Collins: [00:22:51] Why do you serve in this position? What’s the why? What’s the passion?
Christy Farnbauch: [00:22:54] I said a minute ago, it really blends my nonprofit governance experience, and my entrepreneurial spirit. I just really like helping people. One of my core values is leave people, and organizations better than where you found them, and fill them up.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:23:07] Malcolm Gladwell, if you’re familiar with him, and his book, “The Tipping Point,” would probably call me a maven, and a connector. I’m a learner at heart, and I collect information, all in the spirit of maybe sharing it with somebody, helping somebody learn, and grow, and develop.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:23:22] I love to connect people. Some of my favorite things – put people together, and let the magic happen, so they can achieve their goals, and dreams. I’m just super-passionate about empowering women, and this cause of women’s entrepreneurship.
Betty Collins: [00:23:35] Small business, you just get that bond, that entrepreneurship, and then when you add in that “Hey, we’re women who own businesses,” there’s a passion there. When you can get in a group of women that all support that, it’s just a phenomenal thing. I would ask: who should belong to NAWBO? What’s your membership made up right now? That was two questions …
Christy Farnbauch: [00:23:58] Yeah. This chapter’s 20 years old, as you know. I personally believe every woman who’s an entrepreneur should belong to NAWBO, and it’s not about the transaction of joining. It’s not about how many meetings I can come to, or how many things I get out of my membership.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:24:13] It’s really about the transformation that happens when you surround yourself with peers and mentors, who are on the same journey. We hear a lot of women who say “Oh, I’m looking for women,” or “I’m lonely,” or “I gotta get out of my house …” It’s that tribe.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:24:27] Then, second, becoming a part of the movement of women’s entrepreneurship. We’re better together, and we go farther, faster, together. Of our 250 members, to date, we really range from solopreneurs, multi-level marketing consultants, ladies- like financial advisors, and attorneys who have books of business, all the way up to multi-million-dollar companies. It’s the whole range.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:24:27] For me, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, my vision is that any woman who considers herself an entrepreneur joins this tribe, and wears that badge of honor, as an entrepreneur, proudly. This is the place you want to be to sort of shout that from the rooftops.
Betty Collins: [00:25:08] Women in business have challenges. Any business owner does. You’re a risk-taker; the liability’ on you. You might have the largest check, but you might not have any check. What is the challenge that you find in the business environment today for women, and how does NAWBO help navigate that?
Christy Farnbauch: [00:24:50] There are two that I hear a lot, and one is access to mentors. “Where are women who look like me, who are maybe a little farther, or a lot farther ahead of me, that I can aspire to be?” We do that in a host of ways, through the events that we host every month, through our round-tables, our groups of six to eight women who work on their business, and just helping women connect. “I want to know so-and-so,” and we can help make those connections. I hear that a lot – access to mentors.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:25:58] The other piece is access to capital. As you know, NAWBO was founded over 30 years ago, when women were not allowed, or didn’t have the right to borrow money for a business loan in their own name. Here we are, 30 years later, past that milestone, and women still receive only two percent of the capital that go to businesses in the country.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:26:18] That needle hasn’t moved in 30 years. Why is that? How …? We’re starting to look at that a little bit. Our new Women’s Business Certification for the state of Ohio will help women be more competitive across state lines, and in the state, and give us the first data that we have to sort of understand the ecosystem of women business owners.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:26:37] Along those lines, I shared a stat the other day with someone, and they were stunned to learn this; we talk a lot about wage gap, and wage disparity among women, and the whole ’80 cents on the dollar’ conversation … For entrepreneurs, female entrepreneurs make about 25 cents on the dollar, compared to men, and that’s a host of reasons.
Christy Farnbauch: [00:26:57] Part of it is we can’t access the capital, and sometimes we don’t ask for what we’re worth; we charge too little, and what not. I feel like if we’re going have the wage conversation, we’re at that table, because it’s pretty abysmal for women entrepreneurs. Those are the two biggies – capital, and mentors.
Betty Collins: [00:27:14] Yes, okay. Where can my listeners, and a lot of them probably are joint members of NAWBO, but where can they find NAWBO? Where can they find, and get connected to you?
Christy Farnbauch: [00:27:25] Our website is a great place to start: nawbocbus.org. I always invite new women entrepreneurs that I meet to just come check us out; come to an event; come meet some folks. I can pretty much guarantee you, you’ll be welcomed with open arms, and members are curious about your journey. They’re quick to offer help. “How can we support each other?”
Christy Farnbauch: [00:27:47] It’s pretty interesting the magic that happens in that room. While I think we are- well, I know we are, the largest chapter in the country, we try to break it down into a smaller community, so that when you show up, and you don’t know anybody, we’ll shepherd you through that.
Betty Collins: [00:28:03] I appreciate you coming, and talking with me today, and being part of my podcast. I can tell you that one of the reasons that I am a member of NAWBO is I look at the past, and the sacrifice, and work that people, over 30 years, and certainly over 20 years in Columbus … The sacrifice that was made to have NAWBO what it is today is huge.
Betty Collins: [00:28:24] In the present, I want to seize those opportunities. I want to seize, and make sure that we honor them by seizing our opportunities. Then, we have generations behind us, who are watching, and I want to make sure what they’re seeing is what they should be seeing. Thank you for coming to us today, and I’m looking forward to our conference that we’re having soon.
Betty Collins: [00:28:46] I’m interviewing Mary McCarthy, and she is with the WSBA, which stands for Women Small Business Accelerator. A few years ago, I got to know … Well, actually, I’ve known, Mary McCarthy, and the other founder, Caroline Worley, for- I don’t know when I haven’t known them, I guess is how I’ll say it.
Betty Collins: [00:29:04] I went to an event that they had, and was just so inspired by it. I said, “This is where we can give back. This is where Brady Ware can be involved,” because if women in small business can accelerate, it will just totally impact the marketplace. Women have a harder time, in those initial years as entrepreneurs, than men.
Betty Collins: [00:29:27] I don’t want to go into a lot of that today, but this is another partner that Brady Ware chose to be with, because it was just a way to give back, and it was a way to get women- “Hey, how can we help you so that you can succeed?”
Betty Collins: [00:29:42] It’s not, to me, that women need to take over the world … Okay, maybe they do, but, there’s a lot of talent, and there’s a lot of passion, and there’s a lot of ideas, and we want to make sure they’re successful. We’re just going to call this the WSBA; it’s much easier for me to say. Tell my listeners a little bit about yourself. Give that 30-second commercial of, just, Mary McCarthy.
Mary McCarthy: [00:30:03] Okay. Well, hi, everybody. I am Mary McCarthy. I have two organizations. YMT Consultants is a business consulting firm. I have been a business consultant, working with the early-stage micro-business owner for over 10 years.
Mary McCarthy: [00:30:21] Back in 2011, I ran across an SBA article that said, “If all things are equal, why are men succeeding more than women?” That launched the really good question of: well, the answers weren’t anything unique, but the fact is, we’re still saying the same answer, so what can we do to change that?
Mary McCarthy: [00:30:43] I happened to talk a really good friend of mine into launching the organization called the Women’s Small Business Accelerator. We’re actually entering our seventh year of operations, so I’m busy running two organizations on a daily basis.
Betty Collins: [00:30:55] Yes you are. I’ve known you a long time, and I don’t know that you’ll ever not be busy, Mary, but that’s okay. So, tell me, as the executive director of the WSBA, what is the mission, and the purpose of the organization?
Mary McCarthy: [00:31:09] When we go back to the SBA article, it really talked about “if education and income are the same between men and women, why are men succeeding?” The answers, again, were no surprise. Men assumed they would be a million-dollar business; women hoped to pay their bills. A man said he wanted to launch a business, and he was told “Good luck, and congratulations.” A woman was, “How do you do that, and support your family,” right?
Betty Collins: [00:31:35] Right.
Mary McCarthy: [00:31:35] That’s not necessarily going to change. What we determined was we really needed support. We needed guidance. When we created the WSBA, our mission is to help all women. It’s not based on income, or age, ethnicity, location; it’s all women, regardless, that wants to have a successful business.
Mary McCarthy: [00:31:58] Success is what they define it as, not what society defines it as. If you do want that – make money and be home to support, and care for your family – good for you. You should be able to, and you should be able to do it with pride that you are balancing your life, and caring for your family, and providing a financial means. If you want to be a multi-million-dollar business owner, great. We’re going to help you do that, as well. We want all women to be helped, regardless.
Betty Collins: [00:32:26] When you help women, what does that mean? What is the help you’re giving them?
Mary McCarthy: [00:32:32] Well, I think, first, it is just appreciation that they can accomplish whatever they would like. They’re no longer doing it alone. We’re there to help, mentor, guide, support, push, listen to – whatever that you need.
Mary McCarthy: [00:32:49] We have a lot that we deal with on a daily basis, and we allow ourselves, at times, to get completely overwhelmed. We want to work through all of that, and really take the emotion out; figure out what is the business model that we want to accomplish. How are we going to accomplish it? Then, let’s put a plan in action, and let’s make it happen.
Betty Collins: [00:33:08] You have a mentoring program, an educational program, as well as Power Circles. You want to just tell us a little bit about that?
Mary McCarthy: [00:33:15] We have three signature programs. We work with the “I’ve got an idea,” all the way through “I want to grow.” The idea stage, to “I have launched, but I’m not making any money, because I haven’t really figured out my business model …” that’s called the inspired entrepreneur. “We have a great dream, a great desire. How do we monetize?”.
Mary McCarthy: [00:33:36] It is a six-month education program, and it’s focused on really creating a model. Who is your target customer? What is your pricing? The outcome is a written business plan. I like to tell people it’s not the plan that matters, it’s the journey. It’s the research, it’s understanding the information, not the assumption, on what your business is going to be, and do.
Mary McCarthy: [00:34:00] Power Circles is once you’ve been in business for a year … Think of a mini-mastermind group. We have a group of six to eight women that get together on a monthly basis, that support each other, that provide ideas, information, support, but it’s facilitated by a business expert that brings in the business tools, brings in the knowledgeable speakers. It’s about dealing with the day-to-day, allowing you to get out of your head, and focus on working on the business.
Mary McCarthy: [00:34:31] Then, Mentor Match. Once you’ve been in business for three years, or more, it is time now for a mind-shift change. You want to grow, and you’re not sure how to do it. We’ve got to change you from being the owner of your small business, to becoming the CEO of your organization. We will match you, and it’s all a hand-selected match, based on what your needs are, with a very successful woman business owner who’s already done it, that can help provide strategy, and guidance.
Betty Collins: [00:35:00] Those are awesome programs. It’s why Brady Ware has definitely wanted to partner with you in helping to make sure those launch, and get going, because you guys are only seven years old. It’s taken some time, but you’ve built up quite a bit of clientele, and a good board, and you have a lot of substance in your stuff.
Mary McCarthy: [00:35:17] We’ve come a long [00:35:18] way [cross talk] [00:35:18]
Betty Collins: [00:35:18] Tell me this; tell me the favorite story of the woman who’s come through your program.
Mary McCarthy: [00:35:24] There are so many incredible women that have come through the program. We had one who had been very successful. She had to take time out of her business, in order to be a caregiver, and that meant she had a year, almost a year and a half, where she wasn’t generating any income.
Mary McCarthy: [00:35:42] When the individual passed, she’s sitting there, going “What do I do?” She got a mentor. They created very specific goals, and it was all about sales. She had someone who held her accountable. She accomplished goals in four months.
Betty Collins: [00:35:58] Wow.
Mary McCarthy: [00:35:59] I had somebody who went through the Inspired, because I’m going to give you [00:36:02] two [cross talk] You asked for one, but [00:36:03] I’m going to give you two. She went through the Inspired, and she wanted to be a food business. One of my favorite sayings, if you’re a food entrepreneur, is “Just because your friends, and family like your food, does not mean they will pay for it,” right?
Betty Collins: [00:36:15] Yes.
Mary McCarthy: [00:36:18] She started a Friday night supper club. She delivered food to somebody that knew someone, and next thing you knew, she ended up on Food Network.
Betty Collins: [00:36:27] Very nice.
Mary McCarthy: [00:36:27] She was on Food Court Wars, if anyone remembers that show, on Food Network. She won. Couldn’t tell anyone that she won, but she won. She needed funding to open up, and it was in a food court. Wasn’t necessarily what she wanted to be, but it was a good learning lesson, so we decided to go for it.
Mary McCarthy: [00:36:44] After she won, we had to get funding; signed a very strict nondisclosure, and we couldn’t say she won. The lender didn’t want to give her money unless they knew she won. We had to navigate that. Finally got the funding, got her launched, ran it for a year. She learned so much, shut it down; then went back to catering. She was pregnant, and she had a child.
Betty Collins: [00:37:06] Okay.
Mary McCarthy: [00:37:06] She recently just went back into her business, big time, and she is now in Cameron Mitchell’s food court.
Betty Collins: [00:37:14] Very nice, very nice. The success stories are what keep your vision alive. It keeps the purpose, it keeps … Because you’re very busy, and so, for you to still be co-leading this, and doing this is awesome.
Betty Collins: [00:37:27] Let’s go with the last question, which is where can business owners, inspire people … What did you call them, the Inspired Entrepreneur?
Mary McCarthy: [00:37:37] The Inspired Entrepreneur.
Betty Collins: [00:37:38] Where do they find the WSBA? Where can they go on, and find your information?
Mary McCarthy: [00:37:42] Well, I would say the easiest way to find us is on our web site, which is wsbaohio.org. They can come to the Women’s Conference and see us. We have our annual gala, and fundraiser every October, and they can come. We celebrate with 300 to 350 of our closest friends. You’re welcome to be a friend, and come join us as well.
Betty Collins: [00:38:02] Well, I appreciate, today, Christy, and Mary, both coming. These partnerships for Brady Ware have been invaluable. We look at them as just part of the success of our women’s initiative.
Betty Collins: [00:38:14] I cannot emphasize to you enough that if you really want to start this within your company, and you don’t need to be a large company to start a women’s initiative, you’ve got to partner with the right people in town that support you, and you support them. It will make a difference in that.
Betty Collins: [00:38:32] As your career advancements continue, your financial opportunities will continue to grow. Be prepared. Visit bradyware.com/resources to download a copy of the financial checklist for every stage of your life. Everything about the Inspiring Women podcast, this episode, and Brady Ware & Company Accounting Services can be found in the podcast show notes.