Biz Buzz: Women Entrepreneurs Show Their Strength

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The National Association of Women’s Business Owners is one of the most influential and powerful women’s support group in the country.

The local OC chapter is also the largest chapter in the nation with a history of many great leaders and members, including several from Newport Beach.

Recently they held their annual Remarkable Women’s Gala, which celebrated women in different categories, including Entrepreneur to Watch, Business Owner of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement, which was won by long-time Newport Beach resident Jeannie Lawrence, founder and president of Rancho Las Lomas in Santiago Canyon.

The event drew more than 400 attendees. I had the chance to meet with two members from Newport Beach: Barri Carian with Carian Consulting and Laura Oatman with Whole Earth Wellness.

Carian is a past president of NAWBO (2007/2008) and has given and received great value from NAWBO-OC. A member since 2002, she was born into an entrepreneurial family and believes that “Small business is the lifeblood of our world and our economy,” a sentiment I concur with.

She receives much of her business through the group but gets the most satisfaction from the organization’s mentoring program. Each year she takes on another mentee for an entire year and shares the wisdom she has gained through her life.

Carian was experienced at “jumping right in” as she explained, and also started a CEO Roundtable group filled through the relationships she had within NAWBO. Though she is not currently an officer she is still a very active member.

Oatman started her career as an architect and married an architect. That worked until 2008 when both were impacted by the recession with her first losing her position, followed by her husband. They both decided that “having all our eggs in one basket was not a good idea,” especially being the parents of five children.

As she looked at her other passions, Oatman decided to concentrate on health and wellness. She went back to school and studied nutrition, specifically focused on plan based nutrition to help clients live a more natural and holistic life. She has since created her own line of cleanse and supplements, wrote a book on her business, and has been a member of NAWBO for the past three years (currently she is Associate Director).

“I have created amazing friendships here at NAWBO-OC and get a majority of my business directly or indirectly from this group. I have joined other women’s networking groups, many of them more expensive that this, but I get more value for less money,” she said.

For any professional women that want to be part of a powerful organization that can help foster friendships as well as business success, NAWBO is the answer.

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