I had a blast at the BizWomen Mentoring Monday event this week. Thanks to the San Antonio Business Journal for putting it on.
The turnout was amazing; more than 180 women were in attendance to network and get face time with 38 local BizWomen mentors. I was honored to have a line at my table! Thanks to all of you; I always learn so much when being a "mentor." It's great to see so much energy in the community.
Donna Tuttle, special projects editor of the Business Journal, was on hand and filed this story. My own take on the event:
- I was surprised at how many mentors were on hand, and impressed with the breadth of business experience.
- Especially glad that the ARTS were represented so ably through Paula Owen of the Southwest School of Art and Asia Ciaravino of the Playhouse, both of whom have tons of experience with all aspects of business but are fully in touch with their creativity, and help us all to follow suit.
- Especially glad that TECHNOLOGY was so fully represented by dynamic women like Magaly Chocano of SWEB Development, Debi Pfitzenmaier of PfitzPR, and Janie Gonzalez of WebHead. We're key to moving the city forward with a growth industry offering lots of entrepreneurial opportunity.
- Very happy that Janie Barrera of Accion Texas (a TEDxSanAntonio speaker alum!) was there, along with other FINANCIAL advisors. We can't operate our businesses without capital and cashflow.
- The networking at the beginning was fast and furious, and started things off at the proper level of energy.
- I was a bit surprised that there weren't enough seats for everyone in the hall, but later realized that fully matched the purpose of the event - speed dating format. It was a little weird that they had stand for the Lori Greiner video and sponsor pitches, but overall, the right call.
- Offering a keynote from Shark Tank's Lori Greiner was a plus, though Livestream with Q&A would be much preferred to a canned, low-energy video. I was dismayed that so much time was spent on Lori's book pitch; I get that she sees it as a "pay it forward" thing, but less about the book and more about value. I am interested - and reading - the book, though, which I'm finding quite valuable.
- The sponsors having a brief say at the beginning was a bit of an energy letdown, and I hope next time they are less "What do we do" and "Why we are excited to sponsor San Antonio businesses run by women."
- The women who I met and visited with are simply amazing. They had great, well-thought-out questions and I saw women helping women everywhere. Suggest next time we consider arranging the seating for small groups with one mentor at each table, such that instead of people "queueing up" behind a table and the chats being private, we can have small groups sitting together and take turns asking questions, with everyone being able to hear the responses. I've used this format at "Room for Improvement" sessions at conferences and it works well. But I may underestimate the need for privacy! Would be interested to hear what others think.
- Overall - very high value for the event. Thanks for organizing it, BizJournal!
Next Steps for BizWomen
This was the inaugural event for the BizWomen community; the Business Journals across the country held several similar events, and have organized a nationwide community where we can share content and have additional events. Strong start; I'm in.
To those amazing women I met at the event – I was honored to meet you, and please continue to share your progress with me. Subscribe to our eNews list to get notifications about those free Firecat First Friday events I invited you to, where we get guest speakers to cover topics related to digital marketing and digital business.
I was pleased and proud to represent BizWomen Mentors on Monday. (Note to my USAA friends and coworkers - yes, that is Leah Schwartz!) Photo courtesy San Antonio Business Journal.