NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Women Presidents' Organization (WPO), an international peer advisory group and business growth catalyst for million dollar-plus women-led and owned companies, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2017.
WPO's anniversary comes at a historical tipping point for women entrepreneurs. They are seizing opportunities as never seen before, and increasingly recognized for their innovation, passion and perseverance. Today, WPO members' collective revenues top $22 billion and account for more than 150,000 jobs. WPO was started in 1997 by Dr. Marsha Firestone, after she noticed a lack of business education for women who had achieved some entrepreneurial success. Faced with the everyday challenges of running a business, these CEOs can't talk to or confide in their employees, or share experiences which can be isolating. Twenty women attended the initial meeting. Today the Women Presidents' Organization is the ultimate affiliation for successful women entrepreneurs worldwide. WPO's mission is today, as it was then, to accelerate business growth, enhance competitiveness and promote economic security for multi-million dollar women-led companies through confidential and collaborative peer-learning groups. There are 1,900 members, in 134 chapters across 6 continents. 20 Years of Quantum Leaps in Growing the EconomyAccording to The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute, it is estimated that by 2018, one third of all U.S. jobs will be generated by women-led businesses. The collective economic impact of WPO's members is staggering, as is the broad spectrum of industries in which members are excelling today -- from IT solutions to facility operations management, shipping, construction, financial services, consumer products and beyond. "Women business leaders encounter unique challenges and deserve a supportive resource that provides the knowledge and skills to thrive," says Firestone. "Being an entrepreneur is the great equalizer. By owning their own companies, women have more power, more influence and can pay themselves more, as well as control their time," she adds.