In August, I was lucky enough to receive an award from the Women's Initiative for Self Employment here in San Francisco for Entrepreneur of the Year. Needless to say I'm pretty excited! I founded my email marketing company VerticalResponse almost 10 years ago and achievements like this make all the hard work worth it.

This award is pretty special to me because they recognize women in business who are mentoring others, leading by example, innovating within their industries and stimulating the local economy. And to be recognized alongside great San Francisco businesses & women in business like Eileen Hassi, Ritual Coffee Roasters, Jill Litwin, Peas of Mind, Nancy Charraga, (A VerticalResponse customer!) and Lynn Jurich, SunRun Home Solar is a real treat for me.

The Women's Initiative is a special organization that helps low-income women gain self-sufficiency in running their own businesses by training them over an 11-week course and giving them the tools they really need. These women learn everything from how to start a business to how to market their businesses and sell their products.

Ten years ago when I started by business I had a bit of a leg up. I had friends that were willing to help me, friends that were willing to fund my business and friends who believed in me. Many of the women that WI trains have the dream and passion but not the support. I was thinking to myself, what if I hadn't been so lucky? Where would I turn to realize my dream?

Then I started to think about other amazing organizations that help women, like NAWBO, National Association for Women in Business and ABWA, American Business Women's Association. How great all of these organizations are for women to network with each other, learn from each other and lend hands to each other so that they grow as one.

And now there are even awards like the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Each year I go as a judge, and I marvel at these solid businesswomen.  I'm consistently amazed at the strength these women have, some of whom are not unlike those that the Women's Initiative supports. And since women are now half of the paid workforce in the US, we're a driving force to help our economy grow, so the more recognition the better!

So I'd love for you to comment if you are part of a women's organization that help women grow and run a successful business. I'd love to get these links up on Inc.!