Reflections on the Women’s Business Conference

Last week, the Women’s Business Enterprise Council of the Great Lakes (an initiative of CEED) held its 13th Annual Great Lakes Women’s Business Conference at the Suburban Collection in Novi. I attended the event with Kevin Woodard, our Director of Digital Strategy.

Link to a photo of women at a business conference by Flickr's Dell Inc.The Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED) is committed 
to empowering women and minorities through business development training, supplier certification, business-to-business networking and accessible capital assistance programs. They provide effective business tools and remove barriers that hinder development of successful and sustainable businesses. Most importantly, the work of the CEED strengthens the community by building partnerships and leveraging resources that increase business growth opportunities.

The growth of this year’s event was impressive, as evidenced by the attendance and well-recognized corporate sponsors of the event. DTE Energy, our client, was the corporate title sponsor of the event as part of their commitment to supplier diversity. Almost 16 percent of their total supplier spend (which, by the way, exceeds the national industry average), is spent with diverse suppliers. As a nationally-certified Women’s Business Enterprise since 2005, re:group is a proud beneficiary of that effort.

The women in attendance at the conference were hungry for knowledge. I attended the “Digital Media: Strategies & Insights” workshop, which Kevin led. The audience was excited to learn about the benefits and features of current digital opportunities, digital display, paid search, pre-roll and SEO. Many of the women owned B2B businesses and sought to learn how the digital media they see in their day-to-day lives could be used to promote their businesses.

The entire experience got me thinking: I’ve worked with our CEO Jan Muhleman for a long time, and it has provided me with a unique perspective. Her first company, Group 243 Inc., grew to become a very successful agency at a time when she was one of very few female advertising executives. The company was staffed predominately by women, which was also unusual at the time, but made a reality by having the first corporate daycare on site.

Today, re:group values a diverse team of men and women, from 20 to 60 years old, with a variety of backgrounds. I believe that this provides our clients with fresh perspectives that speak to the diverse audiences we reach. This event reminded me of how special our commitment is to fostering diversity and innovation, and I look forward to continuing our stride for years to come.

Photo Credit: Flickr’s Dell Inc.

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