Celebrating Women's History Month: Spotlight Becky Fawson, Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce CEO

Celebrating Women's History Month: Spotlight Becky Fawson, Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Main Photo

11 Mar 2024


News

Since 1995, U.S. presidents have issued proclamations designating March as Women’s History Month. The month is a time to celebrate and reflect on the contributions of women around the world and recognize the achievements of women in a variety of fields. Here at Kingman Economic Development, we’re celebrating the woman-owned and women-led businesses in our community.

The Legacy of Women in Business

Women are critical to the economies of communities nationwide. Women’s History Month serves as a reminder of many pioneering women who broke barriers and continue to advocate for and stand up against inequality in the workforce. From Madame C.J. Walker, America’s first female self-made millionaire, to Oprah Winfrey, who was raised in poverty to become one of the world’s most recognized women in entertainment and media, women continue to power through to the top. Their stories are not just tales of personal success but show the potential of women to drive economic development and transformation.

The Impact of Women-Owned Businesses on the Economy and the Workforce

Women-owned businesses are a growing force in the global economy, contributing significantly to job creation and GDP. According to Wells Fargo’s 2024 Impact of Women-Owned Businesses study, in 2023, 14 million women-owned businesses (39.1 percent of U.S. firms) employed 12.2 million people (9.2 percent of the workforce) and generated $2.7 trillion in revenue (5.8 percent of total national firm revenue). Between 2019 and 2023, the number of women-owned businesses increased at nearly double the rate of those owned by men. And from 2022 to 2023, the growth rate increased 4.5 times that of men’s. The employment rate of women-owned businesses grew 3.5 times that of men between 2019 and 2023 and nearly five times that from 2022 to 2023. These numbers show that women quickly adapted to the pandemic-era business demands in various ways, like shifting to online sales, adding new services (like virtual consultations, events, and courses), and partnering with other businesses.

Challenges Unique to Women-Owned Businesses

Though women-owned businesses continue to grow and thrive, they still face unique barriers. In addition to social and familial challenges, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce identifies capital, confidence, and market saturation as three significant barriers to women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. In fact, according to a Bankrate study, 66 percent of women entrepreneurs report difficulty in securing the funding they need to start or run their businesses. In 2022, female founders received only 2.1 percent of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups. Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts from governments, organizations, and communities to create a more level playing field.

Celebrating Local, Women-Led Businesses in Kingman

Born and raised in Central Illinois, Becky Fawson moved to Kingman, AZ, in 1983. She worked for Don’s Office Products for the first eight years, then was hired at the Mohave County Legal Defenders Office, where she retired after 27 years as the Office Manager. She took the CEO position at the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce after retirement, and she has now held that position for four years. In 1983, she met and married Renal Fawson; he owned and operated Aloha Plumbing and is now retired. Together, they have two children, a son, Zane, who has an engineering degree and is a consultant for Accenture. Their daughter, Valen, is an entrepreneur and owns The Creative Cottage in downtown Kingman. She and her husband, Brennan, have 3 children: Payton, Carter, and Kentleigh. Fawson is an active member of both Rotary and Soroptimist. She has sat on many boards through the years and enjoys volunteering for community events. Her best days are spent traveling, hiking, boating, or watching sports with family and friends.

Highlights of Becky’s tenure as the Kingman Chamber’s CEO

  • The Chamber had roughly 300 members when Fawson started in 2020 and has grown to 514 members
  • There was just one employee when she started, and they now have 2 full-time and 2 part-time employees
  • There was just one Gold member, and now there are seven
  • Fawson and her team have built a great partnership with Mohave CommunityCollege (MCC) and were able to move from a very small, inadequate office to the MCC Beale St Center, where Fawson’s team work in tandem with MCC Community and Corporate Education and the AZ Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
  • She has built a great relationship with the City of Kingman and several Mohave County departments
  • Her team works closely with other nonprofits, such as the Kingman Golden Valley Association of Realtors and the Kingsmen, to address local issues and bring events to Kingman
  • The Chamber’s media outreach has grown tremendously, and they are regularly on all local radio stations and have increased their followers on Facebook
  • They work with Everything Kingman and The Bee; local media outlets.
  • Her team started a Business Bites series (lunch and learn) to bring important topics that affect businesses
  • Attendance at Business and Government Meetings has grown from a handful of people to 25-30 each month.
  • Under her direction, the Chamber has created a Quad-State Chamber Coalition where the group meets quarterly on regional topics.
  • Her team works with the Governor’s office on the broadband issue and is currently involved in water legislation, even holding forums to discuss water issues
  • The Chamber has joined the AZ Assoc of Economic Development (AAED) and Local 1 st AZ for a statewide presence
  • Under her direction, the Chamber has also worked with the City of Kingman, Kingman Mainstreet, and Kingman Downtown Merchants Association to bring back First Fridays, the Cookie Crawl and Hop and Shop to promote our local businesses and provide a better quality of life for our residents.

Moving Forward Together

Women continue to grow their share of the business world, launching companies, moving into leadership roles, and expanding into more industries. It is proven that closing the disparities between women- and men-owned businesses grows the economy. Women’s History Month isn’t just about celebration but about working together to create environments that recognize the economic contributions of women-owned businesses. Through awareness, education, and action, we can build a community where success is driven by the talent and dedication of all our citizens.

CHOOSE KINGMAN 

Choose Kingman for your business. With a strong workforce and a reach of 34M consumers within a one-day drive, success is chosen here. Contact Kingman ED for more information on how your business can succeed when you choose Kingman.