NCWIT's Expanding Network

Avis Yates Rivers

Lucy Sanders, CEO of NCWIT, and I spent a wonderful day in New York City in December 2005. Two things stand out in my mind about the day (before we even met on Central Park South). One, it just happened to be the coldest day of the year so far. And two, it was my son's birthday and he was surprised to learn that Mom would be spending it with Lucy, not him!

Our first meeting was with Larry Bettino, Managing Director of Warburg Pincus. While indulging in an absolutely wonderful lunch, Larry proceeded to find out as much information about NCWIT as he could in two hours. His interest was genuine and he gave me the impression that he would like to support our mission. He was left with a proposal for financial support and promised to read it and decide how he could become involved.

Our second meeting was with Marsha Firestone, President of the Women Presidents' Educational Organization (WPEO) and the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO). These two organizations are completely focused on supporting women's entrepreneurship. The WPEO (of which I am Vice Chair of the Board of Directors) is the regional affiliate of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). The Council provides third-party certification of WBE's (women business enterprises). The WPO is a membership organization for firms like mine that have amassed annual revenue in excess of $1 million. It is an international organization with chapters throughout the US and in Canada. We have 5 chapters in New Jersey alone. Marsha and her staff determined that at least 10% of her membership is in the field of information technology.

The purpose of this meeting was to introduce the two organizations' CEO's and to explore ways in which we can support each other. I believe Lucy and Marsha quickly developed a mutual respect for each other's accomplishments and have agreed to continue to work together.

Our next meeting was with Harvey Butler at JP Morgan Chase. This meeting was a follow-up to a conference call we all had a few months ago. We are looking for financial support from JP Morgan Chase as they have a real interest in K-12 educational activities. Harvey continues to display interest in supporting NCWIT and we will continue to take the necessary steps toward achieving that goal.

We then proceeded to enjoy their annual Supplier Reception where I was able to make several introductions for Lucy. After the reception, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in Grand Central Station with two fabulous New York businesswomen. It was a powerful day!

Lucy wanted to stop by Rockefeller Center to see the tree and ice skaters on her way back to the hotel on that frigid evening. As much as it is a must-see in New York during the holidays, I don't believe our tireless, fearless leader had any energy left when I headed back to New Jersey. So, the tree will have to wait until next year!