READY FOR LEADERSHIP—Donna M. Baxter, CEO of Soul Pitt Media and known as the Tech Diva makes plans for her two year term as President of the National Association of Women Business Owners Greater Pittsburgh Chapter. (Photos by Diane Daniels)
Concerned about the growth and development of small and medium size businesses in the region, as the recently appointed president of the National Association of Women Business Owners Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, Donna M. Baxter said one of her goals is to provide relevant programming and assistance to support and advance the membership.
As an organization she said, “We will continue to extend our arms embracing and supporting businesses from all communities. We’ll also create quality programming for women business owners that will express our new theme, ‘Be Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise in Business.’”
She explained that the theme highlights the organizations priorities and the concern shared for the well-being of all women entrepreneurs.
“I’m honored to be given the privilege to serve as president of NAWBO Greater Pittsburgh,” said Baxter who effectively took the reins of the organization August of this year due to the death of Mary Pam Kilgore who had been president since June. “I had the good fortune to meet with Mary Pam, when I was President-Elect, to review her goals for the chapter. During my term as president, I plan to incorporate her ideas with new ones that we believe will help small and large businesses to grow.”
Optimistic about the future of the chapter, Baxter said, “With the support of the new Board of Directors, we will work to develop new strategies for taking the organization to a higher level with diversity serving as one of the keys to growth and sustainability.
With membership serving as a catalyst to the progression of the chapter, Baxter said that growth in diversity in three is as are significant. Diversity in race, types of businesses and revenue levels. “It is almost like rebranding the chapter. Making it something business women want to be a part of because they see the benefits of their affiliation,” she explained. Reflecting on the advantages and opportunities she gained when becoming a member six years ago, Baxter said she benefitted from the current membership but wants to change the face of the organization to vary in age, culture and business types.
Frequently reminding herself what she as a business owner would like to receive from an organization with a national membership and a wealth of resources, Baxter said creative and relevant programming is essential. Referring back to the 2013/14 Greater Pittsburgh NAWBO theme, Be Healthy, Wealthy and Wise in Business, Baxter pointed out that to run a prosperous business that one has to be healthy and have the energy to do so. “Resources and information are available for women to stay on top of their health; we want to provide those sources to our membership,” she said.
She also indicated that the health of the business is also relevant. “We want to share information on revenue growth, how to get loans, building revenue streams and how having multiple streams of income is possible.”
The third core area, wise, Baxter explained will consist of education. “We want to equip our members with the knowledge to take them to the next level of their business.” She emphasized that there will be a strong focus on technology and social media something that can be incorporated to make a big difference in the business in a cost effective manner.
To be inclusive of all size businesses from startups to the million-dollar business, Baxter said one thing the board plans to incorporate is an installment plan to pay the $300 annual membership fee. “The Greater Pittsburgh NAWBO Chapter is determine to be a chapter that represents all women businesses not just some women businesses,”
At the age of 44, Baxter is the third African-American to head the 36 year old chapter. “Donna brings to NAWBO Pittsburgh Chapter a wealth of entrepreneurial experience and a strong technical and internet marketing background,” said Joanne Quinn-Smith the group’s public relations director. “When she served on the board from 2006 to2008 we had the benchmark website of all national chapters. Under her tutelage we look forward to returning to that status.”
Baxter is the CEO of Soul Pitt Media consisting of TheSoulPitt.com, Pittsburgh’s premier Minority community award winning web site, Soul Pitt Quarterly, a community magazine a spin-off of the website, and Soul Pitt Xtra a community internet radio show. The former rap artist turned Internet Tech Diva said she spends her time promoting the Soulful side of Western Pennsylvania and empowering minority entrepreneurs with technology and encouraging people to “Get Online or Get Left Behind!” She also helps businesses look good by creating eye-catching advertisements, websites, logos and other branding tools. A Johnstown native, Baxter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Communications from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s of Education in Instructional Technology.
The fifth oldest NAWBO chapter in the country, the Greater Pittsburgh chapter has more than 300 members. Its mission is to strengthen the wealth creating capacity of its members and to promote economic development, to create innovative and effective changes in the business culture, to build strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations and to transform public policy and influence opinion makers.
Incorporated in 1975 the national NAWBO propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide by: Strengthening the wealth creating capacity of our members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community; creating innovative and effective change in the business culture; building strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations; and transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers.
One of the first Greater Pittsburgh NAWBO events under Baxter’s leadership will be a breakfast with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald scheduled for October 25 at the Engineers Club. “I encourage all women entrepreneurs to take part, to come and meet our chapter members and to find out how they can become active members.”
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