Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The Republican Convention started on Monday in St. Paul but was scaled back to only an afternoon event due to Hurricane Gustav. Our WIPP event was from 2-4 p.m. and the Convention was 2-5 p.m. so we did not make any Convention activities.

The delegates I spoke to were very understanding of the changes that were made. Unless everyone is on message point, no one at all stated disappointment or dismay. It was so obvious that this is what needed to be done. Some of the delegates even said it gave them some breathing room to enjoy other things throughout the Twin Cities and some of the other Convention meetings—such as the WIPP event.

The evening parties were not cancelled. We went to AT&T/Blue Cross and Lifetime parties. The Beach Boys were the highlight at AT&T. At every event, there was information and immediate ways that people could donate to hurricane relief efforts. The AT&T and Blue Cross party had donation forms. The Red Cross had a table set up at the entry to the Lifetime Party.

AT&T and other wireless companies have ways to easily text a donation to the American Red Cross (and the donation appears on your cell phone bill). To help the victims of Hurricane Gustav, you can use your cell phone to donate $5. Just text the keyword “Give” (4483) to the address 2HELP (24357).

There was a huge sigh of relief by everyone during the day that the anticipated severe damage to New Orleans did not happen. This also helped the positive and upbeat atmosphere.

The Twin Cities are not as “twin” as we had imagined. Both downtowns and Convention Center areas have a lot of activities. But they are a $30 cab ride apart from each other so it takes specific planning, unless you have an unlimited budget, to determine what you want to do and the locations.

We did take a couple of hours to go to Civic Fest at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It was a terrific hall of historical, presidential and Minnesota displays. There were replicas of the White House and Air Force One and real presidential limousines. There were films and displays on presidential history. The Smithsonian Museum had moved part of their display of First Lady dresses here for the Convention.

There was a vendor area. One vendor “guessed wrong” and had McCain-Romney buttons! I bought two—these might be collector items. I was surprised at how many bi-partisan and non-partisan booths were there, which was an encouraging sign. I was also surprised at how nasty some of buttons and bumper stickers were against the Democrats and Democrat Presidential nominee Barack Obama. This really doesn’t seem necessary. One bumper sticker said “Republican Women Like Men.” What is that trying to imply?


The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE) and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) hosted a tea in AT&T’s meeting suite at Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis. The tea was to “celebrate our leaders who support U.S. competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship.” WIPP also presented its Economic Blueprint: The Women Business Owners Platform for Growth.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO of the SBE Council, and Barbara Kasoff, President and CEO of WIPP, both spoke. Opening remarks were given by Carly Fiorina, the RNC 2008 Victory Chairman and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

She said that women balance family budgets, grow businesses at twice the rate of men, and make the health care, education and consumer choices. Then consider the fact that small business creates two-thirds of all jobs and it is clear that women will decide this election.

She committed to get the Economic Blueprint directly to Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for President.

She also got cheers about Sarah Palin’s nomination for Vice President. She sited Palin’s executive experience as head of a family, mayor and governor. In a private conversation I had with Fiorina before the program began, we talked about the media treatment of powerful women.

Fiorina was fired from Hewlett-Packard the same week that the major indictments came down for Enron and World Com. Yet her firing received 10 times the media coverage. I heard her state this in a keynote speech at a Women’s Leadership Exchange event and addressed that with her again. She said she was curious to see how the media would treat Palin. I said, “They took off after Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain.” She agreed that we needed to stand up for all women and said, “Sometimes principles are more important than partisanship.”

Marilyn Carlson Nelson, the former Chairman and CEO of Carlson, Inc., was the keynote speaker. She has a new book out on “The Power of Leadership.” She sited a study that showed that Middle School girls say they do not want to go into business because business is not aligned with their values. This obviously needs to change.

By the time Ann Sullivan who does government relations for WIPP spoke on the Blueprint, at least one-third of the audience had left. Good lesson that policy should come first on an agenda.

In a recent conversation with a woman who leads a non-profit health care association, she said she worked hours on a story with a Glamour magazine reporter. The key to her for this story was a call to action on pending legislation—for readers to contact their legislators to support the bill. She was extremely dismayed when Glamour left out mention of the legislation and the call to action.

Evidently the Glamour editors did not think their readers were interested in legislation. This type of perception can be reinforced by the fact that so much of the audience left before the Blueprint was presented at the SBE and WIPP event.

These are more examples of how we have to continue to work to get the word out on the vital importance of women and small business owners to LET THEIR VOICES BE HEARD.

And by the way, my friend who would not do the Lifetime segment at the State Fair, did it at the Lifetime party. She understood that she has to add her voice! Each small step and victory counts!

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