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Leaders & Legends


FRIDAY, MAY 15th, 2009


Get ready to be inspired as NAWBO honors the best and brightest women business owners in the Bay Area at our annual Leaders and Legends awards luncheon! Join hundreds of business and community leaders as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of NAWBO's premiere event and recognize the remarkable women who are shaping the future of business in the Bay Area. Register now for the Leaders and Legends Luncheon.

This year's Leaders and Legends luncheon will be held in conjunction with NAWBO's groundbreaking Make Me a Match! Procurement Summit, which will match women business owners with large companies and their primary suppliers so they can do business together. Make Me a Match! is FREE for NAWBO members. Learn more and register now – the deadline is April 1!

Schedule of Activities

8:00am: Make Me a Match! Procurement Summit Learn more and register now - the deadline is April 1!
11:00am: Networking
12:00pm: Leaders & Legends Luncheon

Leaders and Legends Luncheon Pricing:*

  • Advocates Circle Table (seats 10):

    Includes exciting benefits for your business, such as premier seating, listing on event signage, and a business card sized ad in the event program.

    NAWBO Members: $1,250 Early Bird Special until March 13, 2009
    Guests: $1,450
    Learn more about Advocates Circle Benefits from Cynthia Fassler at [email protected].
    Reserve your table today

* Pricing and details about NAWBO-SFBA’s Make Me a Match! Procurement Summit can be found here.

Meet the Leaders and Legends Winners

2009 NAWBO-SF Bay Area Trailblazer
Helen Russell, Equator Estate Coffee and Tea
Details TBD.

Helen Russell is Co-founder and CEO of Equator Estate Coffees & Teas® in San Rafael, CA. Under her direction, Equator has earned a reputation as a quality-oriented, customer-focused business that takes the lead on issues of social and environmental responsibility. Under Helen’s strategic guidance, Equator has achieved 10 to 20 percent annual growth over the past 12 years. Her consistent efforts have also attracted and retained a cadre of prominent chefs and bakers, including Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière, Elizabeth Faulkner of Citizen Cake, and Pascal Rigo of La Boulange. In addition to Helen’s focus on sales and customer service, she has volunteered her time and business experience to local and international organizations supporting women and the environment, including La Cocina Community Kitchen in San Francisco, the International Women in Coffee Alliance, Co-op America and C.E.O. Women. She has also led efforts to make Equator a socially and environmentally responsible company by investing in an energy efficient roaster, a biodiesel delivery truck, and by purchasing coffees and teas from growers who practice responsible land stewardship and bio-friendly farming techniques.

2009 NAWBO-SF Bay Area Rising Star
Bibby Gignilliat
Founder & Executive Chef, Parties that Cook®

Bibby Gignilliat, a corporate convert, transformed a career in marketing at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. into an enormously satisfying career in professional cooking. Her company, Parties That Cook, is an award-winning culinary events company specializing in ‘deliciously fun’ team building events for Fortune 500 clients including Google, Wells Fargo, Genentech and Hewlett-Packard. In 1999, Bibby came up with the in-home cooking party concept and founded Gourmet Gatherings®, which she later transformed into Parties That Cook in 2006. Today, her business takes her all over the Bay Area. In 2007, Bibby expanded Parties That Cook’s services to Chicago, where she grew up.  Bibby’s media appearances have included the Today Show, Food Network, CNBC, and frequent guest spots on View from the Bay. Parties That Cook has also received media attention in publications including The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7 Magazine and Daily Candy. Bibby is the author of the Sumptuous Small Plates cookbook, a collection of Parties That Cook’s 30 most popular appetizer recipes with expert entertaining tips. In 2008, she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Small Business Network of San Francisco.

2009 NAWBO-SF Bay Area Social Entrepreneur
Sharon Miller
CEO, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

Sharon Miller is the CEO of the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, a non-profit small business development center working to transform the lives of very low to moderate income women and men through entrepreneurship. During her tenure as CEO, Renaissance, in partnership with the US Small Business Administration became a Women’s Business Center; opened its Bayview Business Resource Center (Ren/BBRC) to support emerging and established entrepreneurs in the Bayview/Hunters Point community; merged with Start Up, an East Palo Alto-based microenterprise organization providing services in English and Spanish for mid-Peninsula based entrepreneurs; and served over 10,000 entrepreneurial women and men in the Bay Area. Most recently, Renaissance received the 2008 Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Award, the 2008 Hewlett Packard Co. Leadership Award and Union Bank’s Community Service Award (for its work in Bayview Hunters Point). In addition to her work with Renaissance, Sharon is also the Board Chair of CAMEO (California Association of Micro-enterprise Organizations), and a board member of the National Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC).


Sharon Miller
Sharon Miller

Hellen Russell
Hellen Russell

Hellen Russell
Bibby Gignilliat

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