Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was home to six active ABWA chapters, which unfortunately never reestablished themselves once the city was rebuilt.
Then, in the spring of 2014, members of the highly successful Baton Rouge LaCapitale Chapter, along with the organization’s national leadership, and local business women, came together to charter a new ABWA Express Network for the Greater New Orleans area.
Christi Felder, a New Orleans native and current ABWA LaCapitale member, was displaced after Katrina. She helped to form the committee leading the charge for the New Orleans league. “Before Katrina, I had a good job, and was three semesters from graduating college. After the storm, like so many people, I had to start over. Luckily, I found ABWA in Baton Rouge. They were such a unique group, with a real focus on professional development, support, and networking. I can tell the New Orleans group is full of high achievers striving to continue the legacy of this sixty-five year old organization.”
As momentum grew and the required tasks were completed, the league’s charter date was set for October 9th. At that time, the league was officially chartered, the Charter Members were inducted, and the formation chairs were installed as the league’s current officers by ABWA Executive Director Rene Street. The Crescent City Connections Express Network continues to grow, and currently boasts 80+ members.
“The vision of ABWA Crescent City Connections Express Network is to be recognized as an outstanding league connecting Greater New Orleans career-minded women in an empowering space to develop leadership and business skills with the goal of increasing our earning potential and building meaningful networking relationships that enable members to grow into the very BEST versions of ourselves.”
Core Values for the American Business Women’s Association
- Giving Members a Voice
- Treat People With Dignity (Proud Code of Conduct)
- Lifelong Learning
- Focus on Creating Value for Members
- Visionary Leadership
- Focus on the Future
- Focus on Results
- Manage by Fact
- Manage for Innovation
ABWA Frequently Asked Questions
Where and when do your monthly luncheons take place?
CCCEN meets from 11:00am to 1:00pm at The Forum, located at 3131 Veterans Blvd, Metairie, La 70002. Our ABWA Member Meetings are typically held the THIRD Thursday of the month, for the exception of our annual Equal Pay Day Celebration in April and our Women’s Leadership DRIVE Conference in September, which will be held on special dates.
We encourage you to sign up for our email list so you don’t forget to register early, as our meetings fill up quickly!
What is the cost of membership?
The cost of membership is $165 per year, plus the cost of the luncheons, which is $28 (for registered members) or $40 (walk-ins). Dues consist of national dues of $115 per year (payable on your anniversary) plus $50 local dues annually. Compared to many other associations you will find ABWA to be very affordable. That’s because we work hard to subsidize much of our operating costs and scholarship funds through fund raisers and various corporate sponsorship.
What do the monthly luncheons consist of?
Meetings include a delicious buffet meal with tea/coffee and dessert, a powerful program, an icebreaker and introduction section, fun door prizes, as well as opportunities to network with other likeminded leaders throughout the metro area. Each month highlights something different, from modern experts of such areas as entrepreneurship and leadership, using social media to promote your brand, improving your negotiation/sales/organizational skills, uplifting your career, and many more. Examples of programs from the past have covered business ethics by Jeff Kleinpeter with Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, entrepreneurship by owner Simone Bruni of Demo Diva, to the Port of New Orleans, which discussed the many economic developments happening within our city. Our meetings are politically neutral and are always business relevant and inspirational in nature.
What are the benefits of membership?
Being a part of ABWA is an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience, as you will meet businesswomen from all walks of life who are interested in getting to know you and helping you GROW! We do not just “sit and eat”; we network, learn, mentor, and gain connections that help you become a higher earner and leader for the future!
Being a member is much more than being part of a social group. You will gain access to a plethora of valuable online courses through the ABWA learning portal, My Apex Campus, a subscription to the Women in Business Magazine, discounts on monthly luncheons, business services such as Geico and Budget car rental, local and national conferences, social happy hours and events, as well as a quarterly newsletter which will be posted on our My Community Connections team board.
As a member, we will help you create “Your Personal Development Plan,” which will help you to chart your goals based upon your priorities in determining what you want to get out of your ABWA experience, now and long-term. All members are urged to take on a leadership position or join a committee so you can be connected with others who will help you to achieve your goals. You also will have access to an interactive calendar of events where you can post events related to your business, as a benefit of membership.
So, come out and be inspired by positive, like-minded people. We’d love you to visit and hear your feedback on how your ABWA experience has made a difference for you!
I’m interested in connecting with members of CCCEN. How can I get a current roster of your membership?
Yes! Once you are a paid member, you can download a full roster from the My Community Connections portal using your personal login to www.abwa.org.
I have a special event coming up for my business and I’d like to get the word out! Can ABWA help me promote it to the membership?
Yes, we encourage our membership to promote their businesses as a benefit of being a member via several ways:
Note: For step-by-step instructions see a YouTube tutorial
- You can post your events via flyers/etc. on our networking board at any luncheon or sponsored event.
- Our emailed mailers go out to our membership through our VP of Marketing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s designed to give a brief description, date, and time with the option to contact you directly for additional details.
- Host an evening ABWA Member Happy Hour that allows you the opportunity to showcase your business.
- Finally, CCCEN offers opportunities for Corporate Sponsorships where your business can receive advertising and special promotion via our communication and website. Or, you can purchase a table during our annual Women’s Leadership DRIVE Conference, which will be held in the fall.
For more details on how we can help you promote your business or event, please email us at email@example.com.
I am interested in joining ABWA, but only locally and not at the national level. Am I allowed to do that?
In order to consider your membership complete you will need to provide 3 items: A completed national application, paid local dues of $50, and paid national dues of $115 ($165 total due annually). With your fully paid membership, you will be granted access to a comprehensive learning and communication platform, a subscription to Women in Business Magazine published three times per year, plus many other benefits such as discounts on national conferences, events, and business services. The only way to enjoy the full range benefit of membership is to be included on the national roster, which requires membership prior to selecting a local league to be a part of.
Can I attend the general meetings and sit out eating so that I can forgo the luncheon fee?
Unfortunately, no. The cost of the luncheon goes much further than the cost simply of the meal. The luncheon admission is to cover the cost of the program, such as expenses and speaker lunches and thank-you gifts, and helps keep the dues affordable by serving to offset our various operating expenses.
I registered for the luncheon but I have to cancel due to a sudden change in plans. Can I get a refund or credit for my paid luncheon?
Unfortunately, our luncheons fees are non-refundable due to our contractual agreement with our restaurant partner which requires a headcount commitment, regardless of no-shows. However, we would be willing to consider certain unforeseen circumstances if you email us at least 48 hours prior to the event at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there a limit to the number of times can I attend a luncheon as a guest before making the decision to join?
As a guest, you are welcome to attend two (2) meetings before we ask you to become a member. This is due to the commitment with planning, financing and hosting our many events, which are supported by both in time, energy, and the financial contributions our current membership regularly makes. Plus, you can begin to enjoy a tremendous return on your investment in terms of discounts and professional support because of being involved with our league!
Besides the monthly luncheons, what sorts of other events does ABWA host?
In addition to our monthly luncheons, ABWA hosts 2 local events a year, the Women’s Leadership Conference in the fall and the ABWA Equal Pay Day Celebration in the spring. Each highlights exceptional speakers and breakout sessions with experts that help participants practice skills that lead to pay increases and advancements in their careers. This is in addition to the nationally sponsored conferences that take place in the spring and the fall.
In addition to our regularly scheduled luncheons, we love to get together, relax, and build lasting relationships! As a benefit of membership, CCCE regularly hosts evening ABWA Member Happy Hours which allow members the opportunity to showcase their businesses and network. Each event will be held at a different locale, so if you’re interested in hosting, please contact us at email@example.com.
What sorts of Scholarship opportunities does CCCEN offer?
A large portion of our league costs and scholarships are funded through contributions and corporate sponsorships to enrich the learning of our community and membership.
Twice a year, CCCEN contributes to the Stephen Bufton Memorial Education Fund. Since 1953 SMBEF has provided over 16,000 women nationwide more than 17 million dollars in educational grants and scholarships towards the pursuit of undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as ongoing professional development. In May of 2017 CCCEN was pleased to present its first $1000 Impact Scholarship to Madison Homes. Additionally, CCCEN was thrilled to present its first $2000 Outright Grant scholarship to Madison Hannon, who was selected by National as one of three recipients in a 5 state region! Applications are typically due in March. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or this year’s deadline and more information.
We also raise money locally for professional development programs. If you are interested in finding out more about opportunities for ABWA scholarships and grants, please contact us at email@example.com.
Can men join ABWA?
Yes, absolutely! Although ABWA’s roots have focused upon the development and growth of business women, we greatly value and encourage the participation and contributions of men within our association. It is estimated that approximately 5% of ABWA’s association membership comprises of men. In fact, one of Baton Rouge LaCapitale’s original charter members was the late Bill Dawson, who almost never missed a meeting in over 30 years of his membership! The only limitation is that national scholarships are only applicable to qualifying women. However, don’t be shy, gentlemen… we’d love to have you!
How many members are currently enrolled in the New Orleans Chapter?
CCCEN was chartered on October 9, 2014, with 42 members and, since 2017 we average 80 active members.
I noticed the group supports Dress for Success. Are there any other worthy causes you support?
We rotate charities depending on community needs, member interest, and member support while ensuring ultimately the cause is in alignment with ABWA’s overall mission. Members in good standing may submit a cause to the Board at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examples of organizations we have supported in the past include Dress for Success Clothing Drive, Sidelines Pass for children, Women’s metropolitan school supply, and the CASA toy drive. We also have partnered with FestiGals in terms of event planning and marketing, as well as adding the New Orleans Chamber’s Women Business Alliance for our Equal Pay Day celebration.