In a national organization as diverse as NAAAP, oftentimes specialty programs help bring together subgroups of members and constituents around specific topics or areas of interest. One such specialty program that has been adopted with much success across many NAAAP chapters is the “Women in NAAAP” initiative. Aptly nicknamed “WIN!”, this initiative aims to create a culture of support, robust dialogue and sense of empowerment when addressing topics of leadership and growth as it pertain to women. Chapters have flexibility in implementing WIN through programs that appeal specifically to their chapter members, including panel talks, networking events and interactive workshops. Here, we explore examples of successful implementations by two NAAAP chapters.
The core idea behind WIN! Colorado is to create having a ‘sister’ship and mentorship structure for its participants. This form of structure attracted a wide range of participants, from students to professionals with over 10 years of working experience, and ensured that each participant had a meaningful role to play in each other’s success.
WIN! Colorado is led by a team of two co-executive directors, Lillie Ben, an adjunct professor, and Krystal Than, regional HR manager for Wal-Mart. Program Director Ena Vu, a research assistant at the University of Colorado, and Marketing Director, Jenny Maupin, an entrepreneur rounds out the WIN! leadership team.
Furthermore, WIN! Colorado narrowed its focus area in 2013 around the topic of financial literacy and mastery. Over seven months, WIN! hosted a rigorous series of meetings and workshops around topics of risk management, cash management, investment concepts, tax management, retirement planning and estate conservation. Participants were assigned reading and homework between sessions, and were expected to participate fully during sessions. Due to the rigor of the program, a pilot group of 17 individuals were admitted to the first series. The program was partially funded by a NAAAP national grant and in-kind sponsorship for space, snacks and printed material.
The program was a resounding success: a full graduating class with attendees reporting a significant increase in their knowledge and confidence on personal finance topics. Furthermore, WIN! Colorado members are required to become NAAAP members, which have fueled new members with NAAAP Colorado. This in itself has fueled a 38% increase in NAAAP membership. At least 25% has joined NAAAP and 13% renewed their NAAAP memberships in order to continue enjoying the WIN! Colorado program.
(EDITOR: can we list the names of WIN! leadership?)
In Oct 2013, NAAAP Philadelphia launched its WIN! initiative with a dynamic panel discussion titled “Women at the Helm: Rising to the Challenge”: A Panel of Asian Women Entrepreneur. The panel comprised of female business owners in hospitality, advertising, education and moderated by entrepreneur-journalist-actress Cynthia Gouw. By securing a lead sponsorship from Mass Mutual, WIN! Philadelphia was able to host over 80 members and guests at the kickoff event. Attendees hailed from a variety of industries including advertising & marketing, education, finance, insurance, non-profit, sales and legal services.
To capitalize on the momentum of the successful kickoff event, WIN! Philly began a series of networking dinners titled WIN(e) and Dine events. Each dinner is centered around a topic, with reading materials and online links sent to WIN! participants ahead of time as pre-meeting work. The first dinner event was organized at the end of 2013 and would be carried forward into 2014.