Taking the lead

Carrie Wilkerson

This month’s focus on women in business wouldn’t be complete without shining some light on the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Women’s Alliance.
The city’s principal support organization for developing economic opportunity for all citizens through job creation and corporate investment is committed to addressing the needs and interests of women in the workplace and women-owned companies across the community.
The Alliance defines its mission as focusing on empowering and uniting women through business and community endeavors. It offers its members networking opportunities and mentoring to strengthen women as professional, business and community leaders.
Recent and planned events provide some insight into the kind of activities the Alliance is sponsoring to achieve its goals.
This summer’s luncheon, “Arlington is Open for Business,” focused on leveling the playing field for minority and women-owned businesses. The learning outcomes included the processes of procuring construction and professional service contracts with the City of Arlington, public agencies and private companies.
On Nov. 3, the Alliance and Chamber are co-hosting the Seventh Annual “Inspired Women’s Luncheon” at the Arlington Convention Center. The event is expected to bring together more than 500 business leaders to hear from Carrie Wilkerson, The Barefoot Executive.
Carrie will speak from the experience of a former corporate clock puncher, high school teacher, direct sales representative, growth consultant, and business coach, so the audience’s expectations surely will be met and exceeded.
She has been featured on CNN and Fox Business News and named by Forbes as a top small business influencer. There’s a collection of business leaders on strategies and current trends she has consulted, and she is prepared to share that experience.
More than all the rest, Carrie says what she mostly enjoys is helping ordinary people lead extraordinary lives. And she’s a living example of how that is possible by using her own life’s journey through paying off six figures of debt, shedding 120 pounds, and running several successful businesses from her home.
In the meantime, she is the “proud mamma” of four kids, ages elementary through college. Summing it all up, she believes you can create a life you love while keeping your priorities intact. In addition to her speech, two awards recognizing women who have achieved success in their businesses and expanded their service to the community will be presented at the luncheon. The Alliance describes recipients as follows:
The Hero and Rising Star Awards acknowledge unique women of all ages who approach community and business needs with strong leadership, collaboration and intentionality to effect change and influence their surroundings. The awards recognize women who demonstrate the commitment to make a greater contribution within our community.
Independently, the Rising Star Award recognizes women who are paving the way to being a Hero Award recipient through significant contributions in our community. While the Hero Award honors women who have created a legacy through tenured, consistent contribution, the Rising Stars will be leaders in the making.
The Alliance also provides 12 scholarships of $1,500 each to recipients who are full-time female undergraduate students enrolled in 12 credit hours at the University of Texas at Arlington or Tarrant County College’s Southeast Campus.
Michael Jacobson, President and CEO of the Arlington Chamber, summed up the vital role of the Alliance in the business community along with its members’ support for the activities of service organizations throughout the city:
“Among the many roles the Alliance plays in our business community is to encourage and recognize those who effect change and influence their surroundings by approaching business and community needs with strong leadership, collaboration and passion.
“Doing so represents strong support for the Chamber’s mission of bringing together the entire business community into our purpose of championing economic and community prosperity.”
An obvious conclusion is to recognize the role of women in business as resulting in a higher quality of life for all citizens.

Richard Greene served as Arlington’s mayor from 1987-1997, was appointed by President George W. Bush as Regional
Administrator to the EPA, and currently teaches in the University of Texas at Arlington’s graduate program in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs.