On Thursday the 15th of September, I attended the Go for the Greens Conference. I have known about this conference for 4 years, but it was my first time attending. My company (317 Virtual Services) answered the incoming calls prior to the conference, assisted callers with registration and answered FAQ’s. So I had an idea of what the conference was all about, but it definitely exceeded my expectations.
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The basis of the conference was to teach woman business owners how to grow their business. Some of the main objectives of this year’s conference was to teach woman business owners about procurement, to give them a chance to actually speak with representatives of major companies, and to teach women how to do business on the golf course (an otherwise male dominated place of doing business).
The event was held at the Disney Boardwalk Conference Center and kicked off with a pirate themed cocktail party. All guests that entered received a pirate pouch with some fun pirate theme favors inside (I particularly favored the temporary tattoos). This party was a fun way to meet and network with the women that were attending the event.
On Friday, the day started off bright and early at 7:00am with a beautiful breakfast spread sponsored by 317 Virtual Services. Then the day then proceeded with 7 speaker sessions: the best ways to navigate the procurement process with big companies and the government, the benefits of being “green,” what the future of being “green” looks like, how to access capital in this economy, learning how to do business on the Golf Course, using technology and other tactics to grow your business, and why businesses want to do business with woman owned companies.
During the sessions, there were match-maker sessions and procurement roundtables where you had the chance to meet one-on-one with representatives from companies like Progress Energy, UPS, Disney, Lockheed Martin, U.S. General Services Administration, CHEP, U.S. Small Business Administration, PNC Bank, and Moffitt Cancer Center. These procurement sessions give woman the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with the representatives of these businesses, pitch their business and discuss how their business would help the company. This feature is an amazing opportunity that people don’t get very often; it was one of the main objectives of this conference. There are even coaching sessions that you can go to ahead of time so that you can be prepared to get your point across and sell your business that right way. This was a great change from the normal conference – instead of sitting in one chair all day, listening to seminar after seminar, everyone who wanted to had the chance to apply what they were learning right away!
Shaym Reddy also lead a special ‘White House Roundtable’ where he sat down and listened to the thoughts of woman business owners as it relates to the government. He wanted to hear how his administration can make it easier for woman business owners to do business in the United States and internationally. He also welcomed everyone to call or email him with questions and concerns. He used the roundtable sessions to get a better handle on what is going on in the mind of woman business owners, and how the GSA can help them. He made sure to get everyone’s email so that he could invite them in on conference calls and keep them involved with the GAS. I thought that this was a very interesting and valuable roundtable, and it was great to see how compassionate and caring Mr. Reddy was.
The Cocktail Hour was sponsored by UPS, and at the end of the day, everyone had the chance to kick off their high heels and put on some pink slippers (sweet relief provided by UPS) and compare notes from the day during the dinner.
I truly enjoyed this conference! It was a great way to connect with other women business owners, and gain valuable knowledge on how to leverage ourselves to do business with large companies! It encouraged us to not be afraid to get out in the deep end and market our businesses with confidence. I definitely recommend for you to visit their site at www.goforthegreens.org and register for next year. (You will get a really good deal if you sign up for early registration!)
I hope to see you there next year!
Alexis Daly, Sales Manager at 317 Virtual Services, LLC.