Forward with NACCE

Part Two: Celebrating the North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame, with Wendy Coulter

July 19, 2023 National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship
Forward with NACCE
Part Two: Celebrating the North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame, with Wendy Coulter
Show Notes Transcript

Join us for part two of our conversation with Wendy Coulter, where we delve into her entrepreneurial journey and her inspiring work in the nonprofit sector. Discover the story behind the North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame and how it has evolved into a remarkable nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring women's achievements. Wendy shares her passion for empowering women in business and highlights the impact of their leadership style on the workforce. Be inspired by the remarkable stories of inductees and learn how this program is expanding to other states. Tune in to gain insights into the future of business and nonprofit leadership, and find out how you can get involved in this transformative movement.

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Becky: Welcome back to Forward with NACCE. This is part two of our conversation with Wendy Coulter, where we talk about her entrepreneurial experience as a leader, as a nonprofit executive, and some helpful things that can help you to live your best life.

You've done some things on the nonprofit side as well, and I know as our time kind of winds up, I really wanna, jump into that because you created your own nonprofit. I run a nonprofit, so I'm, I'm more familiar with the nonprofit side, although I do a lot of teaching on the business side.

But tell us a little bit about what inspired you, to set up this particular nonprofit and what you're doing in the state of North Carolina to honor, women.

Wendy: So I was chair elect of the, national Association of Women Business Owners, greater Raleigh Chapter here in this area in 2018. And I needed to come up with a program that would be part of our annual gala and that point in time. my chair or my president and, I worked very closely together, and her name's Sarah Glova, she also serves on my board.

And we, created the North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame. And it really was a part of a program at the time. It wasn't a nonprofit yet. and so it was a way for us to honor some women, not just within the organization that we were a part of, but from outside and bring them in and amplify their voices to the women who were a part of the Greater Raleigh chapter of NAWBO.

 As time went on, we did, we did three events with NAWBO chapters, in Raleigh and Charlotte. And then, it became kind of apparent that the, the Greater Raleigh chapter of NAWBO did not see this as an ongoing program for NAWBO, but, thought that it should be its own entity and offered it to me and I excitingly said Absolutely and started the nonprofit, because we feel like we can have such greater reach with the story if we can reach into all different parts of North Carolina. 

And so this will be the first year that we're outside of Raleigh and Charlotte. This is our sixth-year event, it's in October and it'll happen in the Wilmington area, at the Embassy Suites down on the riverfront. I believe we're going to have nine inductees this year. and these are The best of the best. I mean, women who have done, servant leadership, they've run businesses, they've impacted the economy of the state of North Carolina.

Their stories are just, amazing and they're a wonderful group of women. Many of them are mentors to younger women and quite a few of them now are younger women who, have just like hit the ground running and done such amazing jobs creating, fabulous businesses that serve the community in many cases. They just all have a heart, a heart for leadership. 

I just have a passion to celebrate women and to lift women up, in business. And that was kind of what that was all about. But also to just recognize what an impact we're having our leadership style, the way that we lead with grace and fearlessness in the workforce needs to be touted and amplified. 

And so, it's an exciting program. I've got a wonderful board now and, of different women who have touched the organizations in different ways, over the years. And we're still, we're still recruiting. We need some women from different parts of the state of North Carolina, to join us since they were recruiting for the board as well.

And always looking for sponsors for our events so that we can, we can grow into more spaces. One thing we are trying to do with the event this year is have an educational aspect. So we're hoping to team up with Cape Fear Community College and do a program where we bring a group of the women in for a panel to speak on entrepreneurship to a group of students.

And so we're just continuing to come up with new ideas. The idea of a scholarship has kind of been batted around by the board. So there's all kinds of, you know, growth opportunities that we see going forward with the organization.

Becky: Yeah, I had an opportunity to attend your event last year. One of our, team members was honored, which was really, special. And one of the things I was, I was thinking about cuz I, I knew several of your board members, I didn't realize they were. Plugged into your organization, but just sort of that outreach.

And I think as nonprofits get bigger, you know, you're doing some work for us. I sent you this morning a competitive analysis of NACCE, how, how do we compare to others? And that's interesting how a lot of times things will start as a program and then they kind of get on their own two feet and then sometimes they'll hire a part-time executive director and they can move along.

But I think what you were sharing with us a little bit earlier about differentiation and really understanding, you know, the value proposition, of, of what you're all about. You never, as big as you get or as small as you remain. You don't ever wanna, wanna lose that. So, I'm hoping that, people that might be listening, you know, in the state or, you know, even in other states, if they wanna learn, you know, maybe there's somebody who's in Tennessee or West Virginia or something like that, that wants to come to this event, and, and learn about it and maybe do something in their own state that aligns with what NACCE's mission is.

What we try to do is, is look for best practices. And, and share them. And that's really the magic of our organization is thinking how maybe a tiny program in a very rural area of West Virginia could take off in Southern California. And at another time we'll have that conversation about that. So, We've touched on so many things, Wendy, and I'm really excited that, we're wrapping up part two of this, you know, podcast. We have so much rich content, we wanna make sure that people get, ahold of it. 

So I wanna sort of bring it to a close and talk to you about the future, cuz that's really where I like to live. I, I try to live in the present, but I, I don't try to dwell in the past, but think about the future. What are some of the things that you're excited about as a business leader, as sort of a civic nonprofit leader, in the triangle and in, in North Carolina?

When you think about the future, you know, post pandemic, what, what are the things that get you jumping outta bed in the morning and excited?

Wendy: Well, I think that the, the biggest thing that gets me excited and jumping out of bed every day is that I live and work and own a business in Cary, North Carolina, which is one of the just most, welcoming and wonderful business, hubs in the country. And, as chair of the chamber, I've been able to be a part of a lot of economic development activities, and I really have come to understand that that really is the truth.

We win the awards for a reason. I also just, always am continuously, honored and, and humbled to have a team that I can lead, but that just like helps take my company to the next level, and we've met some pretty serious benchmarks over the last couple of years, and so I'm just excited to see what's next with that.

I am, in a place where we have, niched a little bit differently, and I think that is the result of having this value proposition, understanding, what verticals that really works well for. and so I've seen growth as the result of my own differentiation and my own branding, which, it's neat to be able to kind of walk the walk, and not just talk the talk now.

And so I'm making strides towards what my business value will be as the result of changes that we're making, and then beyond that with the nonprofit, I think it's so interesting that you brought up other states, because that's been in the back of my head from the beginning, that if other states wanted to do a program like this, That we could do the Tennessee, women business owners Hall of Fame or the South Dakota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame.

And some may already exist as well. I'm pretty sure there is at least one in another state. but I just, I love that I of seeing that nonprofit grow in a lot of different ways, whatever that brain, wherever that brainstorming may take us. Although I'm about looking forward, I also know from 28 years in business how important it is to just be open to the things that maybe you can't see yet.

And always be agile and, and able to turn and, and make changes in your world and be ready for change in your world. And that's what excites me probably the most of anything is just being able to live in a changing world, the changing world of marketing and branding every day and just have fun. 

Becky: Yeah, I'm gonna say, you know, NACCE's proud to sponsor your event. We're national so we can't sponsor everything. We get hit up so many times, so we usually try to just pick a few things. I'm gonna make it my goal to bring, I think it's on October. What is the date of it again? Is it.

Wendy: October the 12th

Becky: October the 12th. I'm going to try to bring a woman as my guest, cuz I think I have two tickets from another state. So I'm gonna do a little, work and, and try to see if maybe we can plant that seed. So anybody who's listening, if you're interested in that, reach out to me because I think that could be a really kind of interesting next steps.

So, Wendy, thank you so much. We covered so much ground and I feel honored to have you, in my life and in the life of NACCE. And we just wish everybody a, a good day and, and go out and make the world a better place and, find your passion and, and pursue it.

Wendy: Thank you, Rebecca. Thank you so much for all that you've done with me and for me in servant leadership and just bringing joy to my world. I, I love knowing you and I appreciate you. Thank you.