Marsha Firestone: Watching Women Grow

April 7 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: Oh, the Places Women Will Grow

Remember doing those free-association writing activities where you write down everything that comes to mind? Don’t worry; there’s no homework here. But I will ask you, if you’re not driving that is, to close your eyes for a moment. Now picture a time when you experienced some serious growth in your life and think about what helped you get there. I bet you a bottle of wine that your growth didn’t just happen overnight. You actively had to make plans and decisions to get where you are today. So I lied; there is one assignment I’m going to ask you to do today. Let’s think about how we, as women,can cultivate growth on a larger scale.


In my mind, the word growth is synonymous with change and a good place to start when setting out on a new, hopefully prosperous path is to identifywhat could use a little tweaking and TLC. Take the amount of$6,392, for instance. A girl could have as many handbags and high heels as she wanted with that figure. Would you believe that, due to wage-inequality gaps, that’s the amount of pay the average working woman living in the South lost out on in 2014.Ten minutes of tedious calculation later and that comes out to a total loss amount of $155.4 billion per year. Thankfully, there were some optimistic findings to soften the blow of that figure too.It turns out that nine out of the 14 Southern states surpass the national average for business ownership by women. The moral of the story: Let’s toast our successes and then keep moving forward—both literally and financially. Because progress doesn’t get made by standing still.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Marsha Firestone, Founder and President of Women Presidents’ Organization

Speaking of not standing still, let me introduce you to a woman who never settles for the status quo: Marsha Firestone. In 1997, Firestone founded the Women Presidents’ Organization, a peer-advisory organization for successful female business owners. These are ladies who own multi-million-dollar businesses. Firestone calls entrepreneurship “the great equalizer,” and the WPO is all about advancing female entrepreneurs. There are 120 chapters worldwide spanning 12 countries, with each chapter comprised of approximately 20 women.Anorganization that emphasizes collaboration, confidentiality, commitment and connections. It’s a no-brainer why WPO keeps growing. What else has Firestone been up to? Oh, a little of this and that. Meaning, she’s also the president and founder of the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization, which provides Women’s Business Enterprise certifications to female business owners in the New York and Washington, D.C. regions. Before helping women take over the world one business at a time, Firestonefirst received her Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University. She also served as vice president of Women Inc. and as vice president of training and counseling at the American Women’s Economic Development Corporation. She’s got an incredible story to tell, and you can read her advice in her book{The Busy Woman’s Guide to Successful Self-Employment}. As for what’s next, Firestone will speakon April 20 at the Women in Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, where she’ll undoubtedly help guide more women to their fullest potential.


We’ve talked a lot about growth already and I’ve only skimmed the surface. I encourage you to think about where you want to grow today. Remember, you’re the expert on your own life. Oprah Winfrey knows what’s up. She has this to say on the topic of achieving your full potential: “Follow your instincts. That is where true wisdom manifests itself.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

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