Peer Advisory Forums for Women Business Owners

Our peer advisory forums for women business owners equip and empower female entrepreneurs to achieve greater success. We concentrate on helping business owners focus on what will drive their companies forward, while providing access to real-world problem solving, expert resources, and insightful perspectives.

A Peer Advisory Forum Built for Driven Female Entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurship can be tough, and female entrepreneurs face unique pressures. Though female ownership in the U.S. is on the rise – up to 30% in 2017 – women-owned companies still only attract 5% of the nation’s equity capital. There’s room to grow on both counts.

EWF International’s Women Business Owner Forums bring together passionate, driven female business owners looking to take their companies to the next level.

  • The Peer Advisory Forums for Women Business Owners meet monthly in a half-day, structured session that promotes accountability, productivity, and sharing of issues

  • Each forum has 10 to 12 members from non-competing industries

  • Sessions are led by accomplished women business owners who understand your unique challenges

  • Every forum member abides by high levels of ethical behavior and confidentiality to create a positive environment

  • The forum experience is complemented with continued learning and annual retreats designed to sharpen strategic decision-making and improve performance

  • Annual retreats are designed to maximize interaction, build deeper relationships and explore in-depth strategic topics

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Business Owner Forum: Frequently Asked Questions

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Members must own a significant stake in the business, though some owners are part of partnerships or have other equity owners involved. We do not have a revenue requirement, as we’ve found that owners at earlier stages of scale also benefit greatly from a peer advisory board just like larger businesses. It’s not uncommon for early-stage entrepreneurs to have substantial and sophisticated corporate expertise, which also adds value to the forum, regardless of their business size. All forum members have established businesses, employees and are looking to scale. All members come with a growth mindset – open to learning from others as well as providing value themselves. Solopreneurs, side hustles, and MLMs are not a good fit.

Membership is by invitation only. Prospective members fill out an application and pay a non-refundable application fee to hold their seat during the application process. We screen for three main criteria: 1) competitive conflict with other members (members are from non-competing businesses), 2) Growth mindset and authenticity, and 3) capacity (whether there are seats available). The final decision whether to extend an invitation to a prospective member rests with current Forum members.

Forum membership is an annual commitment. Our retention rate from year to year is over 80%, with most members staying in a forum an average of 3-5 years.

We cap forum membership at 14, and generally have an average of 10-12 members at any given time. This allows members to get the benefit of a wide variety of perspectives while still making time for deep connections. Once we reach 14 members, we build a waiting list of applicants for upcoming seats. The invitation-only membership approach ensures owners have non-competing businesses.

Forum membership is on an annual dues basis and is a qualified business expense. Members report that it is a very impactful, strategic investment in the business. Members may pay for membership annually or in quarterly installments, to help manage cash flow.

Annual forum membership includes:

  • 11* half-day, professionally facilitated monthly meetings, including continuing education opportunities, real-time issue processing, and lunch
  • Lumina Spark™, psychometric leadership assessment
  • An annual retreat**, designed to maximize interaction, forge deeper relationships, and explore in-depth strategic topics
  • 2 intensive, structured, and professionally facilitated opportunities annually to dive deep into a pressing business issue, including pre- and post- session individual coaching to ensure focus and impact
  • Access to EWF’s alumni community of female executives and business owners

*The 12th meeting occurs during the annual retreat
**Retreat costs are shared pro-rata by members (each Forum decides their retreat location and budget)

We’ve been honing our structured process for 20 years. Forums meet once a month for half a day. Each meeting includes member updates and accountability, a continuing education component, and as well as real-world, real-time strategizing with members. Strategy sessions fall on a rotating basis, with each member having at least two opportunities a year to strategize with the group.

The issues vary greatly. A few examples include building sales pipelines, product design and pricing, marketing investments, staffing/employee/hiring issues, company restructuring, scaling challenges and opportunities, team dynamics, strategy issues, productivity, effective leadership, partnership challenges, and change management.

Absolutely. Trust and confidentiality are cornerstones for EWF Forums. We take both very seriously. All members sign confidentiality agreements before they become full members, and we reaffirm commitments to confidentiality in every forum meeting. All members are from non-competing businesses.

Not primarily. Forums are focused on helping female business owners tackle their real-world challenges and go deep on the issues and opportunities they’re facing. It’s useful to think of Forums as an informal board of directors who act as strategic sounding boards, support, and accountability partners for each other. Members form deep bonds that lead to lifetime friendships and often professional relationships as well. Over 80% of forum members report that they’ve done business together in some form.

Growing a business can be lonely, chaotic work. Forums combine deep, authentic relationships with a focus on outcomes, helping members get the support they need to achieve greater personal and professional success. Forums often function as informal boards of directors for members, helping owners work ON the business rather than being trapped IN it.

Today, our owner forums are only available in the DFW Metroplex. We have plans to expand into other markets in the coming years. If you’re outside the Dallas area and are interested in joining a Forum in your area, contact us to learn more about where we’re going next.

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Member Success Stories

“Whenever we’re strategizing with another member, I learn so much that helps me in my business. Even though she may be presenting about an issue in her business – which may be very different from mine – what I’m learning through the structured process we go through in the forum is how to better solve problems in my own business.”

Jolene Risch, Dallas Business WomenJolene Risch, President & Founder, Risch Results

“The Owners forum was extremely helpful for both me personally and professionally. It gave me confidence, different perspectives, resources and education on how to run my business. You’re with other women business owners who share common issues and challenges, and I always walked away with different perspectives and insights on issues I’m facing or the opportunities I’m pursuing. And that has tremendous value in making better business decisions.”

Kelly Smith, Dallas Best Female EntrepreneursKelly Smith, Managing Member, All Tech Electric

“The Forum’s been a great resource to help me grow my business. Since I joined several years ago, my business has experienced exponential growth of 300% or more. It’s been very helpful to have such a supportive group give me insight and point out those areas where I might have blind spots and opportunities I might’ve missed.”

Valerie Jimenez, Dallas Women EntrepreneursValerie Jimenez, CEO, Bold Entity

Additional support

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Invest In Your Staff
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Personalized coaching

Our Business Owner Forums provide support, expert resources, and strategic development to help drive your business forward. Learn more about how our peer advisory forums and community of excellence can help you be more exceptional, fearless, and accomplished than ever before.

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