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unnamed 92Priscilla Archangel gives the keynote Firestarter address at WE Mean Business Conference. (Courtesy photo)With networking in COVID-age looking different, and most events moving online, women business owners – and those gearing up to become one – gathered in virtual spaces to soak up inspiration for their goals at the Women Entrepreneurs (WE) Mean Business conference July 17.

Hosted through New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, the fourth annual WE Mean Business Conference had a dedicated space online to host panels and workshops, along with breakout areas that allowed for networking between experts and attendees. More than 150 participants registered, many local to Las Cruces, New Mexico, but also some from farther away, including Santa Fe and Taos.

unnamed 93From left, John Garcia of the New Mexico Small Business Administration, Enchanted Sun Realty’s Sandra Espiritu, Truth or Consequences Brewing Company’s Marianne Blaue, and Filtravate, Inc.’s Yun Li speak during the WE Mean Business Conference July 17. (Courtesy photo)“There was a high level of enthusiasm from attendees, and a continued reverberation of the word ‘empowerment,’” said Kristin Morehead, lead organizer for the WE Mean Business Conference. “The online environment still gave both an inspirational setting for our speakers, but with enough flexibility to make sure that things like one-on-one consulting happened for those who were interested.”

Kicking off the day was a mandate for those in attendance to not doubt their own worth, and dare themselves to do more. Keynote Firestarter Priscilla Archangel, Ph.D., author and seasoned executive coach, explained that your biggest ally might be yourself.

“We know that women have stronger leadership capabilities than men, but begin their careers with less confidence,” Archangel said. “Recognize that you are enough, and you have enough, for each step along the way. You don’t need someone else to legitimize your purpose in life. Learn to listen to your inner voice and move forward in the right timing. I dare you to try something that you’re afraid to do. I dare you to take steps to move closer to your dream of working in your purpose and passion.”

Next was investigating what it means to strike out on your own with the Solopreneurship Panel with Debra Hicks, NMSU Regent and president/CEO of engineering firm Pettigrew & Associates, along with Brittney Ingram of Studio One Six, Krista Martinez of Krista M. Martinez Consulting and New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Cervantes.

Then it was time to chat about funding with John Garcia of the New Mexico Small Business Administration, Enchanted Sun Realty’s Sandra Espiritu, Truth or Consequences Brewing Company’s Marianne Blaue, and Filtravate, Inc.’s Yun Li.

Consulting Corners breakout groups followed, with topics like business accounting and funding and answers for legal questions, social media marketing and business regulations. Workshop sessions covering topics like learning business resilience and leadership, building professional connections and landing the deals were also included.

“I found portions like the section on ‘Digital Marketing: Make a Splash’ workshop with Micaela Brown very helpful and timely for my business. I have already done a few of the steps she suggested and received some great data from her,” said attendee Kate Ashton, CEO of Kate Ashton Coaching. “I have a meeting with Micaela and can’t wait to see how she can help me.”

Wrapping up and sending out attendees with the mandate to “take on the world” was Rachel Olney, a Mesilla, New Mexico, native, Stanford University Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. candidate, and the founder and CEO of Geosite Inc. She focused on selling the idea of being comfortable with leadership and not being ashamed of being ambitious.

WE Mean Business would like to thank its visionary sponsor, The Foster Innovation Exchange for its generous support. WE Mean Business is also grateful to co-host along with WESST (Women's Economic Self-Sufficiency Team) and to other sponsors, including the City of Las Cruces Economic Development Department, Sonoma Acupuncture, floriography, LiftFund, The Loan Fund and Arrowhead Center.

For more information about WE Mean Business programs, contact Morehead, director of the Arrowhead Innovation Network, at kmorehea@ad.nmsu.edu or 505-433-1827.

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