By Jennifer Bessell
It is hard to believe that a year has passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some ways, it feels as if we have been living this “new normal” for much longer. Other times, everything seems still freshly uncertain. Even as we are challenged to adapt, we move forward, planning for the future with the strengths and tools we have at hand.
In adversity there is often opportunity. This is an exciting, if unsettling, time for women’s entrepreneurship. There seems to be a collective understanding that, with the right supports and opportunity, women have the potential to greatly affect the economy. Investments have been made to offer women access to business supports, and NLOWE is committed to remaining at the forefront of advocating for and aiding women who are striving for success in entrepreneurship.
Women in leadership has been a hot topic of late. We know we need more women in leadership—at all levels of government, industry, and the community at large. Bias, lack of policies for and commitment to diversity and inclusion, and unwelcoming leadership environments are just a few of the reasons women are not stepping into leadership roles. At NLOWE, we got this — our board is a welcoming environment that allows our board members to build skills and confidence that in turn may propel them to new leadership roles.
In May we will be hosting our annual general meeting. At that meeting we will be appointing new members to our board of directors. This year, the at-large positions are up for re-election. Two of the four current at-large members are eligible for re-election, while the remaining two have fulfilled the maximum number of terms and will be retiring from the board. Thank you, Margaret Budgell and Sarah Lynn Russell, for your ongoing support and commitment to NLOWE.
In addition to these two openings, the Avalon director position remains open — which means we hope to have three new board members starting with us in May.
Board members must meet several eligibility criteria, the details of which may be found on the NLOWE website. The main requirements are that candidates must be members of NLOWE in good standing for at least one year prior to being appointed and that they must live in the region they are applying for, if it is a regional position. At-large members may reside anywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador.
This in an exciting opportunity to work with a collective of successful and committed women entrepreneurs in a leadership capacity. It is an opportunity to build your own brand alongside NLOWE’s, to broaden your professional network and build your board governance skill set within an atmosphere of respect and inclusion. Board membership provides you with the satisfaction of knowing you are making a real difference to the economic opportunities and growth of women’s entrepreneurship in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The nomination process will open in early April. I am encouraging all NLOWE members to consider these opportunities. Any questions may be directed to Jennifer Bessell, CEO, or Wendy Taylor, nominations committee chair. NLOWE is looking forward to a robust nomination and election process, and I cannot wait to find out who will step up to help shape NLOWE’s future!
Jennifer Bessell, Chief Executive Officer at NLOWE, is passionate about assisting women and youth in realizing their entrepreneurial ambitions. Jennifer is vice-chair of the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) and enjoys volunteering as an advisor for the Company Program with Junior Achievement NL.