William Kapfer and Kala Garner at the 2024 WBENC National Conference Source: William Kapfer

Out With Dr. Bill – Women's History Month: A Celebration of Empowerment & Unity

Dr. William Kapfer READ TIME: 11 MIN.

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of travel, causing me to postpone this column. As I sat down to reflect, it struck me how my recent adventures are intertwined with Women's History Month.

This month shines a spotlight on the pivotal roles and achievements of women–a tradition that began in the U.S. in 1978 and was solidified by 1987 to span an entire month.

It's a time to celebrate the strides made toward equality and the indispensable contributions women make to society.

Strides I celebrate every day.

William Kapfer and Elizabeth Vazquez

WEConnect International Day: Uniting Women for Progress

The kickoff to my Women's History Month was WEConnect International Day, an event that never fails to be a yearly highlight for me. It's not just the inspirational vibes and connections I cherish but also the chance to meet incredible women business owners from around the globe.

This year, gathering at the Westin Denver International Airport on March 18 felt particularly impactful, resonating with my commitment to elevate women-owned businesses.

Upon arrival, the first friendly face was Elizabeth Vazquez, WEConnect's inspiring President, CEO, and Co-Founder.

Known for her global impact on women's economic empowerment, and a dear friend, Elizabeth's energy was infectious, setting the tone for a day packed with meaningful interactions and learnings.

This year's theme, "Building Brighter Futures," reminded us of our collective progress and the ongoing journey toward greater inclusion in business and society. WEConnect plays a crucial role in this mission, linking women entrepreneurs with a network that boasts over $4 trillion in purchasing power.

The event was as enriching as expected, filled with discussions, networking, and workshops that expanded my worldview and left me feeling inspired. It was remarkable to see the diversity and unity of women from every corner of the planet, all coming together with a common goal.

More than the insights gained, it was the sense of community that stood out, a day of rekindling old friendships, forging new ones, and finding renewed purpose.

As I ponder on this experience, I realize it's more than just an event; it's a vital part of Women's History Month, celebrating and acknowledging the role of women in shaping a better world.

Leaving the venue, I felt a deep sense of gratitude and motivation. Being part of WEConnect International Day isn't just attending an event; it's being part of a movement, and I'm proud to contribute to this cause.

WBENC National Conference: Driving Women's Economic Inclusion

Watch a video recap of the 2023 WBENC National Conference

I left WEConnect International Day and immediately joined the WBENC National Conference.

WBENC and WEConnect International both aim to empower women-owned businesses but operate in different regions.

WBENC focuses on the United States, certifying and supporting women-owned businesses domestically, while WEConnect International has a global reach, connecting women-owned businesses with multinational corporations worldwide. Despite their geographical differences, both organizations collaborate to promote and expand opportunities for women entrepreneurs globally, sharing a common goal of driving economic inclusion and equality for women in the business world.

The WBENC National Conference is the largest event of its kind in the United States for women business owners.

Hosted by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), this annual conference brings together thousands of women entrepreneurs, corporate representatives, government agencies, and industry experts. It offers a dynamic platform for networking, learning, and business development.

Attendees can participate in workshops, panel discussions, matchmaking sessions, and keynote speeches designed to provide valuable insights on business growth, trends, and innovation.

The event aims to foster a supportive community that encourages the success and empowerment of women-owned businesses, providing them with the tools, resources, and connections needed to thrive in today's competitive marketplace.

Whether you're looking to expand your network, gain new clients, or learn from leading voices in the business world, the WBENC National Conference is the place to be for women entrepreneurs seeking to elevate their businesses.

I can say that every day of the week-long conference felt more impactful than the one before.

Coming together again in person, in a post-COVID world, and connecting with a vibrant ecosystem of corporations and women-owned businesses, all united in our mission to empower women business owners on their path to achieving the American Dream, was absolutely electrifying.

In addition to attending education sessions, forums, a collegiate accelerator pitch competition, a two-day business expo, evening events and activities, I had an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and friends whom I hadn't seen in years.

There is something empowering about being among your tribe, among those who share your passion for lifting up and celebrating the power of women-owned businesses.

Two moments from the past week were particularly memorable for me; the first was Deborah Cox's intimate launch of her new wine brand, featuring a tasting of her exclusive KAZAISU Rosé.

Deborah is well-known for her hit "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here," and she's also a committed ally and advocate for the LGBT community, providing constant hope and inspiration.

Chely Wright and William Kapfer

The second standout experience was spending quality time with my dear friend, Chely Wright.

Known for country classics like "Single White Female," Chely has made a significant impact on country music and LGBTQ+ rights by coming out as gay in 2010.

The following year, the award-winning documentary film "Wish Me Away," which I had the privilege to help produce, was released, chronicling her journey and receiving great acclaim. By 2021, Chely had further expanded her sphere of influence by taking on the role of Chief Diversity Officer at Unispace.

As a global leader in workspace strategy, design, project management, and construction, operating across 25 countries, Unispace represented a significant new chapter in her career.

by Dr. William Kapfer

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