Wow! “If you need something done, ask a busy person” hugely understates Leslie Sturgeon’s amazing capacity to out perform on whatever project she shines her attention. Filled with enthusiasm, a keen attention to detail, determination, and genuine desire to motivate other women, Leslie truly is an Inspiring Woman in New Hampshire.
Living in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Leslie noticed an absence of a support network for women. She met with women informally to discuss the challenges they face integrating their professional and personal lives and decided to create Women Inspiring Women (WIW).
Launched in 2007 in the Lakes Region, WIW is an organization that supports, encourages, and mentors women in both their personal and professional lives. Leslie, “put the structure in place and slowly built up its membership. I began with just the people I knew, and have steadily built the list to about 3500. About two- thirds of the list have either attended events or are sincerely interested.”
Leslie alternates events monthly between Laconia and Concord. Recently New England Women’s Network merged with Women Inspiring Women, so Leslie is now hosting events every month in Southern, NH, alternating between Manchester, Bedford, and Nashua.
Women in New Hampshire have two WIW events they can attend each month. These are for women of all backgrounds. It is an opportunity for meeting new friends, forming relationships, socializing and taking a break from the rest of your life.
For Leslie, WIW “has been a huge personal financial endeavor. It truly is a labor of love because if I charge what would yield a profit margin, people won’t come. It’ s a challenge to provide a quality venue, meals, and do it under $35. I try to be extremely creative in what I am doing.”
Having personally experienced Leslie’s events, I know first hand her commitment to brilliance in creatively providing quality venues. Her warmth and personal desire for offering excellence regardless of the situation have made her a success.
Each venue offers a themed environment that rivals a wedding. There is the opportunity to network, or showcase your particular venue. You all share a meal, and then listen to amazing speakers of quality and depth. You leave a Women Inspiring Women event armed with information, gifts, and new friends.
Although Leslie enjoys all that she does, her first love is Women Inspiring Women. “I absolutely love the group, it’s all I want to do, yet I need to live. The last two years have seen such tremendous growth, and it has been so gratifying to help the women there get what they wanted, while gaining awareness.” Leslie hopes to develop relationships where corporate sponsorships can cover the expenses of Women Inspiring Women.
Leslie supports her life by running her own successful company, Office Options, which she started at the age of twenty-two by taking out a small business loan. Her time is consumed by her involvement with Women Inspiring Women, several civic and professional affiliations, managing her own business and squeezing in time for her personal life.
This year, Leslie received the Women in Business Champion award from the Small Business Administration. This is awarded to people who help women build their businesses; to start, grow and empower them personally. This win was even sweeter to Leslie who understood the grueling process involved since she nominated someone else for this award.
“This was the highlight of my career and life, besides WIW. It was an awesome award to receive,” Leslie proudly explained. “It was a gigantic award ceremony in June. I got one of fifteen awards. An additional presentation, Mary Dumas Memorial Fund donated $1,000 to a charity on my behalf to Dress for Success as a Women in Business Champion. It was a great honor.”
Leslie’s future plans include “to meet as many women in the state of New Hampshire as I can meet because I love meeting other people, know their story and their journey.”
She also plans to hold events in the Seacoast area and Mount Washington Valley in the future. If this is not enough, she has plans in place to do a series of business-oriented workshops working with Micro-Credit to offer the education portions, while she leads the mastermind groups.