I met with some lovely women from Colorado Springs today. I live in Boulder, so we are a couple of hours away from one another. We talked about the large number of women’s organizations in Colorado. It is hard to keep up with all of them. And, sadly, often it seems that these groups are competing against one another rather than banding together for mutual support.I don’t get it. These ladies I met today are involved with WIPP, the national organization that speaks for entrepreneurial women on Capitol Hill. The acronym WIPP stands for Women Impacting Public Policy. WIPP was formed in 2001, and it already has over 500,000 members because numerous women’s organizations (including NAWBO, NJAWBO in New Jersey, the Euro-American Women’s Council, WorldWIT and many others) have banded together to add their members’ numbers and clout to the group megaphone. On behalf of all these members, WIPP promotes working women’s issues with legislators. Today, we were meeting with staffers at Colorado Senator Ken Salazar’s office, talking about the ACE legislation (Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs) and trying to help the Senator understand why this issue is so critical to entrepreneurial women.
Anyway, after the meeting at the Senator’s office we started talking about women’s groups, and wondering why there is so often so much bad blood among them. It’s hard to understand. In our network, WorldWIT, we don’t charge dues. You wouldn’t expect that we would be viewed as competitive to other women’s organizations. But it happens.
A month ago I got a call from a woman in the Bay Area who was choosing panelists for an upcoming women’s conference. She had heard about me from someone at LinkedIn, and wanted to talk with me about speaking on a panel about women and social networking. I know a bit about that topic, you could say, because I lead a large online network for women, wrote a book about social networking, and speak on the topic almost every day. I just did a teleseminar on social networking (it’s mentioned in a previous blog post) a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, the conversation went swimmingly and it seemed like a done deal that I would speak at this conference.
But wait! When the lady submitted my name and bio to the conference organizers, they freaked. No way, they said, her organization is competitive with ours. They dis-invited me to speak. You have to wonder what kind of fear-based thinking motivates a decision like that. What am I likely to do, speak at the conference and somehow stealthily steal all the members? It’s bizarre. Men’s groups don’t do this kind of thing. Why do we?