Fidelity Bank is Empowering Local Women in Business
NEW ORLEANS – Elizabeth Broekman believes women have a way of uplifting one another, in both everyday life and in the business world. So as the director of Fidelity Bank’s P.O.W.E.R. program, she’s fostering a network of female entrepreneurs who are eager to share their business goals and challenges with likeminded ladies.
Fidelity launched P.O.W.E.R. (Potential Of Women Entrepreneurs Realized) a little more than a year ago to provide women the financial products and services that will help them grow their businesses. The program comprises informal gatherings, an online forum for members, luncheons, and conferences, including P.O.W.E.R. Up: Women's Leadership Conference, which takes place tomorrow, March 22, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Hyatt Regency New Orleans (601 Loyola Ave).
P.O.W.E.R. Up features several workshops happening simultaneously, along with a speech from Tina Clements, the vice president of the Retail Performance Company – a global company that bridges the gap between retail brands their customers.
But P.O.W.E.R’s growing collection of events and resources for women stem from the program’s ongoing monthly meetups, which take place at either a Fidelity bank branch, or a business associated with a P.O.W.E.R. participant. (Members must have a personal account with Fidelity.)
During the gatherings, bank representatives will offer advice on commercial or small business banking, or mortgage lending, among other topics. Guests can also network with one another and participate in an in-formal meeting, which gives them a chance to talk about themselves and what they do.
At some point, Broekman will pose a question that prompts a discussion.
“That really sparks the magic because once you start talking, the other women listen, give feedback, and interact,” she said. “It's the nature of women to want to help, and so (the meeting) becomes a natural, relationship-building time.”
P.O.W.E.R. has more than 450 members who have access to the online “members-only directory” posted on the website, and P.O.W.E.R. perks, such as discounts at local spas.
“Successful business owners know the importance of making strong connections with fellow business owners,” said Broekman. “The P.O.W.E.R. directory is a great way to connect with other powerful women, promote your business, and support other women in business.”
The website also contains P.O.W.E.R. podcasts featuring members who speak about various business-related topics, such as the importance of social media, negotiating a lease, hiring (and firing) employees, and maximizing small business tax deductions.
The events calendar lists both P.O.W.E.R. events, and beneficial events hosted by other local organizations.
This summer P.O.W.E.R. is partnering with the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation to host P.O.W.E.R. Palates, a campaign that will highlight restaurants run by a female chef, owner, or manager. They will also create a Habitat for Humanity team called Women With P.O.W.E.R. Tools.
“The possibilities are endless,” said Broekman, noting that P.O.W.E.R. organizers recently created an advisory board committee with 18 members. “They are taking on the commitment to be mentors and ambassadors, and to bringing the group together to participate in more events.”