President’s Message – Fall 2016

Dear NAWBO-Silicon Valley Members & Friends,

Our leadership group has asked me to serve another year, and I’m excited to do so. Thank you for the opportunity to lead this wonderful organization again in the upcoming year, which began on July 1. Thank you to outgoing Program Director, Beatrice Schultz for her fabulous service this year in creating our wonderful programs. And please help me in welcoming to the Board our new Program Director, Flor Harris and our new Public Policy Director, Vandana Agrawal. These ladies join Maxine Goulding (Past President), Pam Hedblad (Secretary/Treasurer), Jennifer Dizon (Membership Director), Karen Hebert (Communications Director) and Griselda Quezada-Chavez (International Affairs Director) in the leadership of our organization.

In the spirit of a fiscal new year – I think it’s only fitting to have a new theme. My theme for this year is “Better Together”. What does that mean? And what does it mean for you? Our board of directors will be reaching out to the members of NAWBO-SV to inquire how we can enhance the value of your membership AND how you can help us become even stronger with your increased participation. Sure, we appreciate your dues, but we really want to see more of you – at meetings and special events. Why? Because you add ideas, expertise and experience when you participate at events. Your presence helps encourage other women business owners to show up and to be part of something special. Because we are better together.

NAWBO is an organization founded on the premise of public policy and establishing a place at the table for women business owners. We still do that – at the national, state and local levels. The women who established this organization over 40 years ago blazed a trail for us. And now it is our opportunity to carry that torch and continue blazing the way for ourselves and those that will come behind us. Are you in?

For the first time in many years, we will be hosting a “Signature Event” this fiscal year – in February of 2017. It’s planned to be a gala-type event honoring those who have helped women business owners establish that place at the table. We have a cool and creative theme around it, which we will unveil to you in August. There will be several opportunities for our members to volunteer to be a part of this very special event – including various areas to recognize your business, get in front of sponsors, be nominated for prestigious awards, and to be part of this inaugural event. There’s a reason you joined NAWBO-SV and we’d like to see our entire membership group have a stake in making this event a success and in enhancing the value for each of us to making our entire organization better together. So, don’t wait to be asked (although we will ask!) – if you think you can help make our signature event a huge success, reach out to a board member and share your enthusiasm and willingness to lend a hand. Trust me – you will want to be part of this.

In addition to our Signature Event, we also have really fabulous speakers lined up for this year, along with the continued networking events which our membership has requested. Stay tuned to the newsletters and website for information on how you can help re-invest in NAWBO-SV this upcoming fiscal year to help to continue to make us Better Together!


Monika Miles, 2015-2016 President, NAWBO-SV

January 2016 – President’s Message

Dear Members,
Happy New Year! I hope this finds each of you reflecting on your successes of the year just passed and planning for the prosperity ahead in 2016. Yes, of course, the PLAN! As unique, independent and creative business owners, we all have our own ways to do that. We’ve been coached that the plan must be in writing, be manageable, include our vision, etc. And in the end, we will each create it in our own unique way. Our guest speaker for our January event was Kristy Royse who shared how to put together our personal strategic plans. And with any luck at all, those will also tie into what we want for our businesses!

When we started the NAWBO fiscal year 6 months ago, the board sat down and put together a one-page business plan for our chapter. And we also talked about “Who Moved My Cheese” – that famous little book about getting out of your comfort zone today so that things don’t get stale tomorrow. As we reach the midpoint of our year, it’s a natural time to evaluate how it’s going! Overall, we’ve received good comments about the quarterly themes and our venue change. But we are always looking for additional feedback. So, please, tell us how you think it’s going. I also challenge you to spend a few minutes wearing your NAWBO hat and imagining what types of things you can do as a chapter member and future chapter leader (we’re always looking for additional ideas on the board) to bring additional value to our membership. Every one of you adds something special to every meeting. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than to look around the room at one of our events and to see people really engaged with each other. Thank you for continuing to bring your energy, enthusiasm and talents to this group.

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to do so this quarter. Our theme for January through March is “Commerce”. That topic, of course, can conjure up many different things. And it will for us as well. I mentioned Kristy’s topic on a personal strategic plan. In February, we will have a networking event sponsored by GoDaddy (but no keynote speaker). The evening will have some great opportunities to meet fellow members and guests and some fun twists and fabulous prizes. Finally, in March, we’re featuring another field trip! Long-time member Hannah Kain of ALOM Technologies is hosting us at the company’s Fremont location. The meeting’s theme will be networking around international commerce and will feature some special guests around that topic.

Thank you for your membership and for all you do for this organization. Now, go finish up that plan and get moving on generating your numbers for 2016! It’s only 300+ days until Christmas!


Monika Miles, 2015-2016 President, NAWBO-Silicon Valley

Justice Ginsburg’s Warning To A Dysfunctional Nation

Submitted by Maxine Goulding, California Special Occasions

I read a very interesting article about the work that Justice Ginsburg has accomplished over the years and why she is so passionate about it. She gives a bit of history of how women, pay (we still only make 78% of what men make), and LGBT rights for all have
changed over time.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a national figure for at least half of her life. As founding director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, Ginsburg probably did more than any other litigator in the nation’s history to abolish sex discrimination and gender stereotyping. Read the full article here.

Fall 2015 – President’s Message

Dear NAWBO-Silicon Valley,

Yes, it’s here – Q4! Is it cliché to say that the years go by so much faster as we get older? Yes, it is, but yes they do! I’ll admit that I’m never fully ready to embrace Q4 yet, in early October, but by Halloween, I’m all in. And as Thanksgiving approaches, I really do take stock of what I’m thankful for. So, readers, you’ve missed my whole melancholy shift into the new quarter, and now I’m ready. Much has happened since my last President’s message, so I’d like to recap what you’ve missed if you haven’t joined us at NAWBO-Silicon Valley in a while!

September – Five of us from NAWBO-Silicon Valley attended the NAWBO National Women’s Business Conference in San Antonio. The conference was inspiring in many ways. Many of us participated in a leadership training series, where we shared chapter best practices with chapters across the country. We also had a variety of interesting speakers addressing our group – from Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina to Texas Governor Greg Abbott on the political side, and inspiring keynote speakers Leigh Ann Tuoey (of “The Blind Side” fame) and Bonnie St. John, the first African American to win Paralympic medals in ski racing. NAWBO-Silicon Valley was also instrumental in engaging 22 women from Mexico as AMMJE’s (the Mexican equivalent of NAWBO) delegation to the conference. Our own Griselda Quezada-Chavez almost single-handedly hosted these ladies during the 3 day conference and was instrumental in forging partnerships with their organization on a national basis as well as locally. NAWBO-Silicon Valley is the only US chapter with a direct partnership with AMMJE and their Cabo San Lucas chapter. Well done!2015 AMMJE Delegation

September – Here locally, we rounded out our first “themed quarter” of “Communications”. Our September speaker was Cynthia Riggs, and she presented to us about building your own One-Page Business Plan.

October – Our October speaker, our very own Past President and current Secretary/Treasurer, Pam Hedblad, spoke with our group about “Take Action to Pump Up Your Financial Fitness”. Pam shared some great tips about how to put more money into savings and retirement planning and how to just make smarter decisions about money. Her presentation was a great way to kick off our theme this quarter – “Finance”.

November – There are many exciting things going on this month, some directly NAWBO related, and some being offered to us as member benefits from outside organizations:

  • Speaker Hilary Hendershott will be presenting about 7 Steps to Turn Revenues into Profits and Personal Wealth. Click here to register.
  • We have been asked to participate in an SBA sponsored event called InnovateHER where innovative businesses can compete for cash prizes. For more information click here.
  • NAWBO Members have been invited to participate in Inc. Magazine’s Vision 2020 event in SF on 12/3. Contact us for the registration code if interested. For more information click here.
  • Small Business Saturday – following Black Friday (on Saturday 11/28) the event encourages shoppers to spend money at local small businesses – like your fellow NAWBO members’ stores, for instance.

Thank you to all of you who’ve been to our meetings recently. And a special invitation out to those of you who haven’t joined us for a few months. We miss you. And you’re missing out on some good programs and networking! I know that the holidays are soon to be upon us, so I hope to see you in November and December before ALL of the craziness hits. The board has been working very hard on your behalf to keep the quality programming coming. Please judge for yourself and offer them a huge thank you in the process.

See you all soon!

Monika Miles, 2015-2016 President, NAWBO-Silicon Valley

September 2015 – President’s Message

Dear NAWBO-Silicon Valley,

As we turn the calendar to September, I can already smell autumn in the air.  When I take my morning walks, I feel a nip in the air and the smell of garlic wafting up from Gilroy.  It’s also that time of year when I have the “reality checks” with myself about my business. Summer is almost over, and we’ll soon be in the fourth quarter of the year. If you’re like me, you might ask yourself if you’re hitting your projected revenue numbers, or meeting your other goals, and what adjustments you need to make NOW in order to finish off the year with a bang.  Our September speaker, Cynthia Riggs, might be able to help you with just that.  Ms. Riggs will be presenting on “The Fastest, Easiest Way to Write Your Business Plan”.   As business owners, we all have a plan – right?  Even if yours is already crystal clear (of course it is!), please join us on September 15 to share your comments and ideas to help other business owners hone theirs.  There are always gems to be found at a NAWBO – Silicon Valley meeting. Register now.

Speaking of gems, we had an amazing meeting in August. Staying with our quarterly theme of “Communication”, we arranged for a networking event at the Santa Cruz headquarters of our corporate partner, Plantronics.  As the leader in telephone headset development (and the headset that made the first trip to moon with Neil Armstrong) and a long-time supporter of our organization, we thought an event like this would fit nicely into our Communication theme!   After many of us arrived over the hill in style, courtesy of a limousine provided by NAWBO member Jen Jaciw of Lone Star Limousine, we were treated to a nice evening at Plantronics.  From the patio wine and cheese reception, to the dinner (and famous cobbler dessert), to the wonderful presentation on Communications by Judi Hembrough – everything was first class.  The company had also promised us that they would be drawing for a very nice gift to one of our members or guests. At the end of the evening, we were surprised yet again as everyone who attended received a Voyager Edge headset, courtesy of the company.   A special thank you to Dave Huff and his entire team at Plantronics for the hospitality!

I’d also like to welcome two new members that have joined in the last couple of months.  Welcome to Monica Duarte and Yvonne Urness.   And also a thank you to renewing members Marit Fox, Katherine Winkelman, Pam Hedblad, Christine McHale, and Mary Hiland.  Investing in yourself by joining or renewing your membership is a gift you give to yourself.  And we’re excited to have you in the room!

In addition to our meeting on September 15th, I also hope to see some of you in San Antonio, at the National Women’s Business Conference – our national NAWBO conference, later this month.  Click here for more information.

And finally, we’re excited to share that the quarterly theme for October, November, and December will be on Finances.  We are honored to have two of our very own members – Pam Hedblad and Hilary Hendershott presenting in October & November, respectively. Check out more about their topics

Enjoy the dog-days of summer and the smell of garlic in the air (or on your fries at that last series of baseball games).  I look forward to seeing you and hearing about your plans for Q4!


Monika Miles, 2015-2016 President, NAWBO-Silicon Valley

Why is Mobile Document Destruction Superior?


Submitted by LeSonia Leimer, Pantera Shredding (

Cyber theft is a newer threat and its prevention is still being developed but you can absolutely prevent the threat of documents getting into the wrong hands.

Why is mobile document destruction superior? Paper shredding service is not all the same. Only a decade ago, companies were just catching on that they could reduce their risk of paper breach by having their documents shred. Common methods since then have been and storing it in warehouses, renting or leasing a shredder and having paperwork collected and shred by admin or facilities staff, or collecting paperwork into containers (locked or unlocked) and having a company haul their paperwork away to be destroyed offsite. Nowadays state and federal governments mandate what information must be locked and or destroyed to prevent identity theft. No longer is a strip shredder considered complete destruction, no longer is shredded material being put into the trash or recycling bin considered gone. We know that there is an entire underground industry out there using other people’s private information and company information to make money. Certainly you have insurance for this and you may say that your insurance protects you but insurance is for when a mistake or breach occurs. What about the parts you can absolutely prevent?

Just think how many important things need information protection in your company.

  1. Trade secrets, design and product development notes
  2. Company financials, HR & employee data
  3. Sales receipts and other information
  4. Documents that “float around” may contain specific pricing models, and product roadmaps that could give the competition insight of a business’ plan

Today business and homeowners alike have more secure and affordable options than we did a decade ago. Mobile document destruction offers complete destruction at your site while you watch so all questions from that time on have vanished. From that time on, those papers will never get into the wrong hands.

When your documents are shredded professionally, from that moment on, the information is gone!

Links for information and best practices:

For consumer information,

  1. HIPAA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The primary goal of the law is to make it easier for people to keep health insurance, protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information and help the healthcare industry control administrative costs.
  2. The HITECH Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was signed into law on February 17, 2009, to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology.


  1. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB Act or GLBA), also known as the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, is a federal law enacted in the United States to control the ways that financial institutions deal with the private information of individuals. Go to

Why Words Matter: A Recap of the July Event

Guest Presenter Gary Purece
We welcomed Gary Purece as our speaker at the July 21 meeting.  His topic was timely and very informative.  He said that asking six key questions during any conversation with anyone would help to communicate clearly and respectfully.

The questions are:  Who, What, Where, When, Why and What If. Asking these questions will cause people to feel valued.  When people feel valued, they stay longer and give more to the organization.

There are two things to create through words:

  • Credibility/Trust
  • Decisive/Assertive

Stories are a key element in communication by using CASST which is an acronym for Central character, A complication, Setting, Series of actions, Theme.  It is the way leaders talk.  If you want to download his presentation, CLICK HERE.

August 2015 – President’s Message

Dear NAWBO-Silicon Valley,

As most of you know, July 1 begins the new fiscal year for NAWBO (both nationally and here in Silicon Valley).  It is the official passing of the baton from one board of directors to another; the start of the implementation of a new strategic plan, and a chance to evaluate.  The incoming board of directors for fiscal year 2015/2016 held its annual strategic planning retreat in late June. This is a great group of women business owners ready to shake thing up a bit at NAWBO-SV.  You’ll see many familiar faces on this board, and a few new ones.   Before I share what’s coming up – let’s give another big thank you to Maxine Goulding, our outgoing President, for the amazing job that she and her board did for our organization last fiscal year!

Now, here are some things you can expect to see in the upcoming year, beginning this month!

First, we have built in more of the social and networking events that our members have told us they really like. While our educational speaker presentations will still feature informative speakers, not every meeting will be in that format.  Every quarter, we plan to have at least one meeting dedicated to networking, without a keynote speaker – and hopefully at some unique locations.  We’ve informally spoken with several of our corporate partners and many are willing to host us at their facilities for these networking events.  (See info about our August meeting below.)

Next, we are structuring our year by breaking each quarter into a specific focus or theme for our members.  For instance, our Q1 (July, August & September) will focus on Communication.  Our July speaker, Gary Purece, embodies that topic with “Why Your Words Matter”.   Our August 18th event is a “field trip” to Plantronics in Scotts Valley. Plantronics specializes in telephone headsets – definitely communication!  And our September speaker Cynthia Riggs, will present about building your own “One Page Business Plan” – being able to communicate it effectively.  Ms. Riggs is a resource that has been made available to us as part of our National NAWBO affiliation.  Our Q2 (October – December) will focus on Finance related topics – stay tuned!

Finally, there will be more opportunities to share your expertise with NAWBO-SV!  We will be asking for member input and a few volunteer hours during the year to assist on committees and special projects. The beauty of this group is that every member of our organization has a unique skill set, and we’d like to share those within our membership.  One way we’d like to do that is to encourage more member attendance at monthly meetings.  Each of you has paid your dues and chosen to make NAWBO a part of your network.  Let’s all come together monthly and share our unique ideas.  And while we’re at it, bring a friend.  Guests will be invited to come to two meetings and then asked to commit to membership.  A robust membership and attendance at meetings strengthens everyone’s membership. One way to commit to meetings and get them calendared is to purchase the annual pass for meetings if you are an active member.  It’s a member benefit to enjoy.  At $425 to prepay the year, you essentially get 2 free meetings.  And who doesn’t like FREE?  For more information, contact our office at  CLICK HERE if you are ready to buy your annual pass.

We have plenty of other exciting things in the works this year and will share them as soon as they are finalized.  I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with an amazing board of directors and all of the members of our organization.  Thank you for being a member.  We look forward to hearing your ideas for the upcoming year.  If there’s anything that I can do to enhance your member experience, please don’t hesitate to let me know.


Monika Miles, 2015-2016 President, NAWBO-SV

Great Storytelling Starts with a Great Story


The May NAWBO-SV event was about storytelling. We all know how important storytelling is to build a connection with your clients and potential customers. We hear it over and over again from marketing experts. But the biggest roadblock for many of us is that we don’t’ think we have a story to tell that is compelling or will resonate with our target audience.

Our presenter, Stephanie Nivinskus, CEO, Sizzle Force Marketing, has spent most of her life storytelling — first as a journalist and then as a marketer. She told us that everyone has a story that can be developed and showed us the impact they can have. She offered two storyline strategies as samples: 2×4 Style and the Startup Story.

The “2×4 Style” is coined from the concept of a more dramatic, “hit them over the head with a 2×4” storyline that consists of 1) identifying the messy situation or issue; 2) identifying what is standing in the way of a resolution; 3) creating a hero that is going to champion the quest; and 4) stating the lesson that the hero learned through the process. It draws the listener through the story to a climax where the hero is triumphant. This could be a story about a client or project you had, or a challenge that you overcame in your business.

The Startup Story is more focused on telling your own personal journey of how and why you started your business. Many business owners have a good story for why they started their business — they are passionate about something, they had a personal tragedy, challenge or life event that sparked their entrepreneurial path. Many of these types of stories are inspirational and motivating.

There are many other types of storylines, but Stephanie stated that no matter what the story, four key elements to focus on are:

  1. Make your audience picture the story
  2. Dramatize the problem
  3. Introduce your own personality
  4. Somehow acknowledge your customers within the story