WBO’s 35th Annual Nellie Cashman Award recognizes Woman Business Owner of the Year – and how far we’ve come

NellieCashmanFinalists2016webIf there’s one thing the legendary Nellie Cashman had it was gumption. One of the Wild West’s most successful women entrepreneurs, Nellie (ca. 1850 – 1925) parlayed her business savvy into a string of business enterprises from British Columbia to Arizona that made her financially independent and universally admired.

Thirty-five years ago, the Nellie Cashman Award for Woman Business Owner of the Year (‘The Nellie’) was established, to honor the legacy of this Seattle pioneer and recognize the continuing achievement and leadership of female entrepreneurs in our region.

Women Business Owners (WBO), one of the Puget Sound's leading organizations for women entrepreneurs, will be awarding this honor to one of five finalists on Thursday, October 6 at a gala awards banquet held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle. (Note that October is also Women’s Small Business Month.)

This year’s finalists are five top female entrepreneurs, each of whom share Nellie’s spirit, drive, and individuality. Each a leader in her field, they all have a remarkable track record of business success and community contribution. They are:

Sari Davidson, BooginHead
Andrea Duffield, MOSAIC Rehabilitation, Inc.
Terry L. Jacobson, MD, RPh, FACP, Terry L. Jacobson MD PLLC
Alissa Leinonen, Gourmondo Co.
Nancy Lee Smith, Washington Liftruck

Candidates for the Nellie Cashman Business Owner of the Year award are judged based on their entrepreneurial spirit, ethics and community spirit, financial management skill, and the difficulty and risk they have endured to achieve their success.

The October 6 award event will also honor Nellie alumnae—past winners and finalists—and celebrate the progress women have made since the time of Nellie Cashman (when a woman couldn’t even have her own bank account), and since the first Nellie award was given 35 years ago.

Today, Seattle is recognized as one of the best cities for female entrepreneurs (in the Top 10, according to Inc. Magazine), and more than 1/3 of the region’s privately held businesses are owned by women. There are now 9.9 million woman-owned businesses nationwide, which together generate $1.6 trillion in annual revenues. These entrepreneurial gains are set against the backdrop of an historic time in which we have currently three female jurists on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the first woman presidential candidate nominated by one of the two major parties.

Since its founding in 1979, WBO has been a peer group for woman entrepreneurs, providing support, networking, education, and community to help each other achieve business and personal success.

WBOs members and this year’s Nellie Award finalists are conquering the West and inspiring future generations of women entrepreneurs, just as Nellie Cashman did over a century ago!