National Association of Women Business Owners

On Tuesday evening, June 16th, we had a very good time attending the 2013-2014 Awards Banquet for NAWBO Cleveland which stands for the National Association of Women Business Owners. Our Margaret W. Wong was honored by this organization in 2001 along with Ms. Jacquie Sopko-Crolius of the Balloon Crew, Inc. who was honored again this evening. NAWBO’s vision statement reads that it strives to “propel women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide.” It works to “strengthen the wealth-creating capacity of our members and promote economic development; create innovative and effective changes in the business culture; build strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations; transform public policy and influence opinion makers.”
NAWBO members are treated to dual national and local membership, business resources and networking opportunities, leadership development opportunities, and entrepreneurial education. The benefit of entrepreneurial education was discussed during the program. Apparently, since the new strategic plan was instigated about two years ago, earning has gone up, attendance at functions has really gone up and more people have joined. The new president of the Cleveland Chapter Ms. Liz Radivoyevitch said that she was “glad to be on board during implementation of the plan. Business has been going in the right direction for the past two years.”

The banquet took place at Valenti’s Restaurante on Richmond Road in Beachwood where we sat with Ms. Radivoyevitch who owns Rad Graphics, Inc.; Ms. Heidi Langer of Langer Marketing, and Mr. Matt Marscher, VP Branch Manager of PNC Bank in Strongsville who received an award this evening, along with Elizabeth Victor also of PNC Bank who couldn’t be here, as Corporate Partner of the Year.

Almost everyone there knew of Ms. Wong and Margaret W. Wong and Associates and the feedback was exemplary. Ms. Radivoyevitch said that one of our attorneys was helping one of her husband’s uncles on an immigration matter. Ms. Bonnie R. Fraser of Actucomp was very moved by one of Ms. Wong’s more recent holiday cards that she sent her a message telling her how much she liked it and was stunned that Ms. Wong took the time to send her an email thanking her. Besides the award to Mr. Marscher and Ms. Victor of PNC Bank the other honorees were our friend Jennifer Corso, an attorney with Petronzio Schneier LPA who was honored as Volunteer of the Year and Ms. Sopko-Crolius who received the Shining Star Award.

Especially memorable were the remarks of Ms. Sopko-Crolius who recalled that back in 1981 a friend of hers couldn’t get a business loan without her husband signing along with her, even though the husband had nothing to do with the business, so women entrepreneurs had to “challenge the system” and have come a long way since then. Ms. Sopko-Crolius then urged the membership to mentor young women entrepreneurs and bring them to NAWBO so that progress can continue. “You must bring another woman into NAWBO,” said Ms. Sopko-Crolius, “it is your responsibility, your passion…it is what you need to do!”