After an event-filled month, we are back from the 2019 WBENC National Conference & Business Fair in Baltimore, MD and taking some time to reflect on all of the wonderful connections we made. The conference was jam-packed with innovation, relationship building, business labs, meetings, awards, and even a little karaoke! The theme this year was “Ecosystems – Connect, Grow, Thrive” and it certainly lived up to its name. From the swag bag given at registration, which included sustainable items like reusable straws, bottles and other goodies, to the countless opportunities to build partnerships, this event was definitely one for the books.
Our Tuesday itinerary featured a few sessions in the WBENC Business Lab. The sessions covered various topics such as brand building, strategic planning, design thinking, pitching, procurement, and more. Exhibitors and attendees were in the position to attend sessions on a learning basis or on a coaching basis, so whether you were attending as a newcomer or a seasoned vet, there was something for everyone. The first round of WBENCPitch took place Tuesday as well. Eighty powerful women business-owners gave it their all to deliver their best 90-second elevator pitch to a panel of judges. From this group, 20 women were selected for the semi-finals to be held the following day.
The business fair was on Wednesday and Wexler Packaging Products exhibited in a booth represented by Tara Utain, Kristyn Shaner, and Megan Dimler. Our spacious booth was in a great location that allowed us to see all those who entered and the traffic throughout the day was more than ideal. We met and spoke with countless energetic individuals and had the chance to see some familiar faces. While the fair was the main event this day, round 2 of the WBENCPitch took place right down the hall. The 20 semi-finalists gave an empowering 2-minute pitch and held Q&A session for judges to be able to select 4 finalists. Wednesday night, conference attendees were shuttled to M&T Bank Stadium – home of the Baltimore Ravens, for a fun night of women-owned pop-up shops, food, live music, karaoke, and beautiful weather.
The final day of the conference was packed with more business labs and meeting opportunities. Our staff met with a few prospects to discuss the benefits of our packaging solutions. We attended one final luncheon with fellow WBENC members followed by an outdoor celebratory reception to wrap up the conference. Closing the day was the Tribute! Dinner, where we not only enjoyed the delicious food, but also watched as the four final competitors of the WBENCPitch competition had 3 minutes each to deliver their best pitch live onstage. We congratulate the winner, Suzy’s Swirl, and commend all of the attendees, exhibitors, and WBENC staff for helping to organize and execute such a successful event. Wexler Packaging Products looks forward to next year’s event in Atlanta, GA from June 23-25, 2020.