"If you’re a woman who owns a business, you may find the woman-owned certification requirements a bit excessive - and a little overwhelming - at first. If you can get past the initial shock, you may see the benefits of certification outweigh the work required to complete certification. Some of the many valuable benefits of this certification include increased visibility and access to the Fortune 500 business world. But you have to get involved and network" -Patricia Rodriguez Christian
Patricia Rodriguez Christian, WBCS Board of Directors member, CEO, and founder of Texas Standard Commercial Construction LP and CRC Group Inc.have been a certified WBE for 14 years. The benefits of certification are limitless. WBENC's world-class certification is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing America's most prestigious brands, in addition to many states, cities and other entities.
How has WBCS membership benefitted your business?
Certification has benefited my business by providing my companies an opportunity to engage with decision makers, and end users of our products and services. It has allowed my company opportunities to obtain professional and business development education that would be very expensive for my company to have internally.
How has WBCS helped you connect to other WBEs for mutually beneficial partnerships/business deals?
Because WBE’s are one of the fastest growing sectors of the American economy and a vital force behind job growth and job creation, it has been necessary for my company to partner with other WBEs to bid on business opportunities and in one case it allowed us to form a strategic partnership to provide a stronger offering to clients. So not only has it helped us to find suppliers for the work that we do, but it also has given us an opportunity to partner and seek more substantial opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to our company.
Have you volunteered with WBCS? Which events/committees?
I have co-chaired all the major events of WBCS from Gala to Harvesting Partnerships and Business Works. I've been on the Board of Directors for several years and have been on the board and serve on the Executive Committee and the Nominating Committee. I am also happy to say for the past eight years I have been the WBCS, WBE Ambassador to the national partner, WBENC.
What is your favorite WBCS event and why?
I am partial to Business Works and Harvesting Partnerships. I think these events represent the core value and strength of the council. Business Works provides WBEs the opportunity to discuss and focus on business development strategy, reconnect, build relationships and network with other WBEs, and empower one another. I enjoy Harvesting Partnerships because it emphasizes the importance of professional development for both WBEs and Corporate Sustaining Members. The event also allows attendees to hear inspirational speakers. But, my favorite highlight of Harvesting Partnerships is the presenting of the Lillie Knox Investing Awards. The award helps certified WBEs fund and grow their business.
What is the one thing you wish you knew about WBCS before joining?
I wish I knew it existed! Not enough women know of the WBCS and the valuable experiences and information that it provides to its certified women business owners. The organization and the staff are fantastic. They're always developing new content, events, and providing new opportunities for growth and advancement for women-owned businesses. I am excited for what the futue has in store.
Do you have any other certifications outside of what the WBCS provides?
I am DFWMSDC certified, MBES TEXCO certified, and I am a member of National Association of Women in Construction. These certifications help with the continuous growth of my companies.
What advice would you give other WBEs?
"Getting certified opens doors for a small business. It gets you extra attention and is one of the best marketing tools available. It’s worth the investment of time and energy. Also, commit to the growth of your company by investing in yourself as a leader and developing the skills of your team and Evolve. You have to grow with the corporations and industries you desire to do business with, continuously assess your business models and strategies to showcase your value. Get involved, and network, certification works if you work."
What is the best reason for another WBE to get certified?
The best reason for WBEs to get certified is the access to databases of information. With access to lists of suppliers and procurement executives and hundreds of major U.S. corporations and federal, state, and local government entities, finding big business leads can become easy, and as a bonus, you get to build a network of other CEOs and leaders in your community.