NAPW Washington, DC Local Chapter Announced Four Finalists in ‘Girl on Fire’ Competition at May Networking Meeting

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Four members advanced to the next level in the National Association of Professional Women Washington, DC Local Chapter contest that focused on business, career and personal goals in May.

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The application for the ‘Girl on Fire’ contest was designed to encourage individuals to strategically examine their business, career and personal goals,

Members and guests of the NAPW Washington, DC Local Chapter gathered on May 16 for a professional networking meeting at Howard University.

Four members were chosen from a pool of exceptional applicants to advance to the next level in the Chapter’s “Girl on Fire” competition.

The contest, which will become an annual competition for the Washington, DC Chapter, was designed to encourage members to strategically examine their business, career and personal goals.

“Since taking office in January 2013, one of my primary goals has been to encourage and inspire women to take their business, career and personal goals to the next level,” said Washington, DC Chapter President Deborah Leaner.

Over the last few months, the Chapter has been actively working towards that goal. At the March meeting, three members were given the opportunity to showcase their businesses before the members. At the April meeting, members conducted a roundtable discussion about famous women and their legacies. The discussion concluded with the participants focusing on the characteristics of a woman or women in their lives who have or had the most impact in their lives and what they hope their legacy will be.

Also at the April meeting, Chapter President Deborah Leaner shared the final details of the “Girl on Fire” award to be given at the December 2013 Chapter meeting. All members were encouraged to apply by completing the on-line application.

“The application for the ‘Girl on Fire’ contest was designed to encourage individuals to strategically examine their business, career and personal goals,” said President Leaner.

“So even if an individual was not selected to go to the next level of the competition, she still had a plan to help her focus on the steps needed to move to the next level.”

At the Washington, DC Chapter networking meeting in May, members who had completed the
“Girl on Fire” application were selected by the Chapter Review Committee to move to the next level. They then were given the opportunity to pitch their businesses to the panel of judges.

The competition was fierce. Seven finalists were chosen to compete before the panel. (A total of eight individuals were selected to present to the panel, however, one competitor withdrew the day of the event.)

“The panel of contest judges consisted of four renowned industry leaders: a self-made local millionaire, a banking executive, an established female entrepreneur, and a psychologist,” said President Deborah Leaner. “Four candidates were ultimately chosen to move to the next level in the “Girl on Fire” competition.”

The candidates first completed a detailed application process that was submitted to the Chapter Review Committee. After reviewing the applications, the Review Committee selected seven women to move to the next level. Each candidate was given 12 minutes to pitch her business to a panel of four judges.

“All of the candidates came fully prepared to pitch their business. The judges asked questions about business plans, financing, what does this business “do” for the community and why did you start the business,” said President Leaner. “The candidates all displayed a passion for their business, which was demonstrated as they responded to the panel of judges. The judges offered sage advice and resources to each candidate.”

After pitching their company to the panel of judges, the judges ranked the candidates. The judges indicated it was a really tough decision. All of the candidates were passionate about their businesses and possess potential. However, after much deliberation, the panel of judges was able to select four candidates to move to the next level.

The four members selected to move on to the next level in the “Girl on Fire” contest were Sharron Dansby, Author of Journey through the Furnace; Bettina Hodges, Bedroom Secrets Skin Care; Ritzya, The E.L.F. diet; and Julia iLiadia, Fashion Stylist and Wardrobe Consultant.

“The judges shared how they wished all of the women could have been selected to move to the next level because everyone had done an excellent job of presenting their company and accomplishments, and demonstrating how winning the “Girl on Fire” competition would help them take their company to the next level,” said Chapter President Deborah Leaner.

The four candidates will now participate in a separate session with each of the judges who will glean more directed information about how the candidate plans on taking her business to the next level. Each candidate with develop an action plan with milestones and activities to complete over the next six months. The individual who shows the most dedication in completing her action plan will be crowned “Girl on Fire” at the December 2013 Chapter meeting.

Over the next few months, the four finalists will provide updates on their progress and lessons learned at the monthly Washington, DC meetings.

NAPW Washington, DC Local Chapter President said, “It is the plan of the DC Chapter to make the ‘Girl on Fire’ a yearly event. Each of the candidates who submitted applications indicated how helpful and motivating the application process was. They said it made them think strategically about their business goals. Those members who did not apply expressed the same sentiments.”

One member who did not apply but downloaded the application stated, “The application really made me think about what my business goals are and how I really need to put some more work and thought into my business plan.”

The Chapter President reminded members and guests to check the Washington, DC Chapter Page on napw.com for the candidates’ progress reports.

The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) is the largest and most recognized network of female professionals. NAPW provides a forum where women can interact, exchange ideas, educate, network, and empower. NAPW Local Chapters allow members to maximize their experience through meetings, networking opportunities, and professional events.

For additional information regarding the NAPW Washington, DC Local Chapter and/or NAPW, please visit http://www.napw.com.

Follow NAPW on Facebook and Twitter.

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Karen Slusser
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