Q&A with Dr. Marsha Firestone of the Women Presidents’ Organization.
Q: How can you measure success of the WPO?
A: The Women Presidents’ Organization was started at the end of 1996 with one single chapter and today proudly we have 81 chapters in the US, Canada, Peru and the UK. We continue to grow measure our expansion in a financially wise fashion. Today, we not only offer benefits that include the chapter experience, but we also offer a monthly newsletter, weekly memo providing access to information and PR activities, an annual conference which this year will take place in Boston April 24th to 26th, an online membership directory, regional seminars and educational webcasts. In short, the Women Presidents’ Organization has grown from an idea in 1996 to one of the premier organizations for women business owners internationally.
Q: In your opinion, what is a crucial characteristic of women presidents?
A: They have a vision, a big picture of where they want to go. They not only carry that vision within the organization but also communicate it to the world outside of the organization. Each member has a vision and has built her company brick-by-brick, focusing on delivering quality products and services. These women all have a fierce and dynamic passion for what they do and can keep the fire in their hearts burning on their worst days.
Q: What was your vision when you founded the WPO?
A: Ultimately, my goal in creating WPO was to develop a unique educational program designed for accomplished women entrepreneurs. Since we require that members have a minimum level of $1 million if service based or $2 million if product based, all of our members are second stage entrepreneurs. Research has found that second stage entrepreneurs learn best from their peers. With this in mind, I’ve designed WPO as a peer advisory group for women that promotes business and financial success, as well as personal development.
Q: What does the WPO give its members?
A: We serve a dynamic and growing population. Our membership comes together specifically to work on their business. We do not ask members to serve as officers or committee chairs or to take responsibility for organizational development. We ask them to only be an active and committed participant in the Women Presidents’ Organization, which is as much about “giving” as “getting.” Each member is an important and valued contributor to the peer learning process, which is guided by professionally trained facilitators. On an ongoing basis, our facilitators are trained to uphold the high and consistent quality of the programming we offer and are always business owners themselves. Ultimately, the Women Presidents’ Organization is a unique educational opportunity designed to bring the genius out of the group, and to accelerate the growth of women led and women owned companies.
Photo courtesy of Women Presidents’ Organization