Each year, I attend the Cape & Plymouth Business Enterprising Women conference and read cover to cover the edition of the publication dedicated to Enterprising Women. I am always left in awe of the incredible leadership women provide in our community across all sectors from small businesses to our largest employers to non-profit and civic organizations. I am inspired by the stories of women who lead with incredible business acumen and a spirit of entrepreneurship that is matched equally by their commitment to give back to our community and mentor and empower others.
The definition of enterprising is “to be marked by an independent energetic spirit and by readiness to act.” This definition certainly defines our leaders and our region and rings true when the tide is rising but more importantly when it is ebbing. We are fortunate to have strong and experienced organizations such as our local chambers of commerce, Cape Cod Women’s Association, SCORE, and Amplify POC Cape Cod supporting women in business in our community especially during these extraordinary times. The challenges of COVID-19 have continued to disproportionately impact women as they juggle the ever changing responsibilities of work, family and financial obligations. As women continue to rise to the challenges, our community stands strong to support them- something we should all be incredibly proud of.
At WE CAN (Women’s Empowerment through Cape Area Networking), we are celebrating 20 years of empowering women on Cape Cod. Since 2001, our organization has delivered on our commitment and mission to empower women with unique services that inspire hope and bring increased opportunity, stability and self-sufficiency to their lives. Our programs are powered by the generosity of hundreds of working women and men who volunteer their time and the individuals and businesses who philanthropically support our work.
Our volunteers, many working and leading in our community and featured in this edition of Enterprising Women, share their personal experiences and professional expertise by providing the women we serve with free and confidential legal advice, employment and career support, financial counseling, mentoring, and business support.
Each year, we serve more than 2,000 women in our community who are our neighbors, mothers, sisters, aunts, employees and employers. We empower women with the support and tools to achieve positive lasting change for themselves and their families and that leads to increased self-confidence and independence and fosters community connections.
We offer a program called GROW (Get Results with Others’ Wisdom) designed to help women entrepreneurs and business owners strengthen their business as a pathway to achieve financial stability and self-sufficiency. GROW is one of fastest growing programs at WE CAN, reflecting that entrepreneurship is alive and well on Cape Cod. Nearly 100 women have graduated from GROW since its inception and all have benefited from the peer support they receive from other women in the program and facilitation by volunteers who have achieved incredible business success in their own lives.
From architects and health and wellness practitioners to bookkeepers and artists, the program is steeped in a long held value at WE CAN – our collective effort is used to accomplish individual goals. Over the last year, the women we have served through all of our programs have demonstrated incredible resilience, commitment to move through the challenges, a willingness to adapt and change, and an enterprising spirit. The results have been extraordinary for some, challenging for many and worth it for all.
I am proud, as we all should be, by how our community is continuously strengthened by the generosity, mentoring, networking and support that we provide each other. As I read this year’s edition of Enterprising Women cover to cover again, I will be drawn in by the entrepreneurial and energetic spirit that permeates our community and inspired by the commitment we all have to helping others achieve success and well-being.
Lisa Guyon is Executive Director of WE CAN, based in Harwich. For more information visit https://www.wecancenter.org/