Editor’s Note: WRAL TechWire contributor Sarah Glova shares this column on the legacy of women business owners and their support of the North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame (NC WBO HoF). Glova is a founding member and sponsor of the NC WBO HoF.
Research Triangle Park – March is a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. One of the best things North Carolinians can do is preserve and grow the state’s women entrepreneurial legacy.
North Carolina is blessed with many successful, influential and pioneering women business owners. These are women who have made a significant impact on their industry and community, often overcoming significant policy hurdles and systemic biases to do so.
However, we don’t know all their stories, and many of their stories are in danger of being forgotten.
Seven years ago, I was presented with the Mary Diener Spirit Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) local chapter, in honor of Mary Diener, who founded the NAWBO chapter in 1978 and served as its first president. After winning her namesake award, I tried to research her story. She wanted to know more about her business and entrepreneurial advocacy. But I could find very little.
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So I started digging. Mary Diener, in some early articles, beginning Female Business Owners at Research Triangle ParkCheck out this ad she ran in The Raleigh Times in the late ’70s. Her address is listed at her 50 Park Office Drive.
I am stunned that the story of RTP’s first female business owner has not been preserved or amplified. So, I put together all the research on her work and nominated her for the North Carolina Women’s Business Her Owners Hall of Fame (NC WBO HoF).
of NC WBO HoF is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and celebrating the contributions of women entrepreneurs in North Carolina. Founded in 2018, the organization aims to inspire the next generation of women entrepreneurs by recognizing the achievements of women who have made a significant impact in their communities and the business world.
My Mrs. Diener’s nomination was accepted by the selection committee last year, and Mrs. Diener was posthumously awarded a 2022 class membership in the North Carolina Women’s Business Owners Hall of Fame.
North Carolina’s WBO HoF created a video about her life and legacy to preserve her story forever for future generations of North Carolina entrepreneurs. (You can find videos of all past inductees on her website at NC WBO HoF.)
I am very proud of the work and very grateful.
But I’m also scared. If her story is at risk of being lost, how many other people are at risk?
How many other trailblazing, inspiring, trailblazing women entrepreneur stories are there like Mrs. Diener?
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As Women’s History Month approaches, the North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame is more important than ever. Her month-long celebration of women’s achievement and contribution provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the achievements of North Carolina’s women entrepreneurs and raise awareness of the unique challenges they face.
My challenge to the community for Women’s History Month this year — just think if you know the stories of women entrepreneurs across North Carolina. Women business owners and advocates who deserve to be studied and amplified for this award. Challenge yourself to think of a person.
You may know the perfect candidate for the North Carolina Women’s Business Owners Hall of Fame.
Beyond recognizing the achievements of individual women, consider who you can honor to build a more diverse and inclusive story of business and entrepreneurship in North Carolina.
Let’s work together to ensure that these remarkable women get the recognition they deserve.
The 2023 class of nominations for the North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame is now open. For more information, visit ncwbohalloffame.org.