How A Woman’s View First Began
Tides have recently shifted in a historically predominantly male industry as women now make up about around 40% of the promotional products service market. As in other industries, women face different challenges than men. To help empower women in the industry, iPROMOTEu wanted to start a group that offered both resources and support to female distributors. This is how A Woman’s View was born.
Managed by Vice President of Affiliate Services Candace Plunkett, the main goal of A Woman’s View, a 300+ member group, is to provide women with a resource to seek advice, share their frustrations and accomplishments, and help further one another in their careers.
“We’re trying to educate, support, and empower women in our industry,” Candace said. “The group is open to all women in the industry — not just those affiliated with iPROMOTEu. This also includes both suppliers and distributors. We don’t segregate based on which side of the industry you’re on.”
A Woman’s View is headed by a Women’s Advisory Council that consists of six of iPROMOTEu’s most prominent female distributors. These women come together to address tough questions that women in the industry face as well as how they handle and combat certain obstacles.
“We really like to tap into the experiences, processes, and thoughts of our Advisory Council through group mentoring sessions in order for our group members to get a firm understanding of how they’ve navigated the business world,” Candace said. “An example of an obstacle women face can be something like balancing working from home when you have young children on summer vacation.”
A Woman’s View hosts six webinars throughout the year. For four of the webinars, they engage speakers that group members request from different areas of business. The group also has a private LinkedIn group with more than 200 members where women can communicate with one another, share helpful industry-related blog posts, and look to others for help if needed. This is the group’s primary channel for communication outside of the events and webinars they attend.
Connecting and Networking
Every year, A Woman’s View hosts its annual networking reception during The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event was designed to recognize and celebrate the industry’s hard-working women. The venue is transformed into an entertaining environment complete with lighting, wine, and hors d’oeuvres for attendees.
Group members also try to meet at the various other trade shows throughout the year. The Advisory Council will organize a cocktail hour or reception to allow the group to network.
“I’m always reaching out to the group for feedback and insights on what kind of topics they would like to hear about in the future, as well as areas where they’re struggling and need more information,” Candace said.
Two of the six webinars A Woman’s View hosts are open forums in which the panel of six women on the Advisory Council come together to discuss different topics during a Q&A session. Here, group members can pick their brains and tap into their experiences and knowledge.
In addition to the panel of speakers, every year Candace books a female keynote speaker to present to the group about her experience in both the industry and about being a woman in business.
Helping Women Succeed
The most popular topic that comes up during both the webinars and in general for women in the group is about earning your woman-owned business designation. This is a complicated arena to be in as there are organizations at both the state and federal levels that provide designations for woman-owned businesses.
“Being certified as a woman-owned business is a very long process. A Woman’s View helps our members by putting them in contact with women on the Advisory Council that have already been through the entire process to advise and help support them as they move forward,” said Candace.
Members of A Woman’s View have expressed their gratitude to the group for help with a variety of things that range from becoming a better business owner to help in developing the perfect elevator pitch and leveraging different social channels without using paid programs in order to help grow their businesses.
“I feel privileged to be able to connect with presenters, my fellow council members, and the iPROMOTEu staff to address topics of interest that can help each of us succeed. I think it would be beneficial for everyone to take part in this forum of like-minded professional women,” said Theresa Gonzalez, a member of A Woman’s View.
“I’m grateful to iPROMOTEu for this opportunity and to the women’s Advisory Council because they are Affiliates that are independent business owners, and this is all voluntary on their part,” Candace said. “It’s also really nice of iPROMOTEu to have started this program, to promote it, and to continually invest in it. It’s been a real journey. I’ve enjoyed seeing all of the women in the industry be so appreciative and engaged, and I hope the group continues to grow as we move forward.”