Patsy Anderson has a passion for empowering women and encouraging them to lead. Women become effective leaders when you teach them to recognize what they are worth. For the past 15 years, Anderson has run the Maryland Women’s Expo, helping connect women and their businesses, as well as educating the women who participate about the types of events they participate in so they can be successful and profitable.

Anderson says there truly is a difference between a conference, a festival, and an expo, and women in business should carefully consider which ones they join.

“It’s like buying a vacuum cleaner to polish your hardwood floors,” Anderson explains. “The two machines may look alike, but their purpose is different. Without directions, you may never learn how to use the machine properly. That is what I’m passionate about—expos and conferences are different machines, and you will not get the best results without understanding what you are buying into.”

“I’d love for others to have an idea of what a promoter is all about, their commitment to the community, and exposure. It’s a topic I’ve dedicated my life to.”

Anderson began her expo crusade at a time when there wasn’t a strong internet marketing presence and when social media didn’t exist.

“I started the Maryland Women’s Expo 15 years ago, pre-Facebook, social media, and event website internet presence for women. Why? Because women were not participating in expos, nor did they know or understand the difference. Like many things, social media and internet began to blur the lines of who is a promoter and what is an expo or a conference. Suddenly anything with vendors was an expo or a conference.”

“We closed our first expo with over 200 women in business and had no idea who was in business 15 minutes from where I live. Women still do not advertise much, run television or radio commercials, or invest in billboards or large exposure. They tend to run in network circles. While this is all wonderful, expos invite in the general public, and this is specifically where the big difference is. It has always amazed me that the women’s industry doesn’t often utilize so many advertising outlets.”

This is the reason Anderson does more than just feature a woman at one of her expos. She gets to know the individual. She empowers her. She counsels her. She makes sure she follows up with that woman. This is not a case of having that woman as a client and never seeing her again. Anderson takes the time to find out the person’s talents and what makes her tick. She wants her to have the power to be as successful and make as much money as possible.

“I am passionate about this line of work, and hope this article will be a reminder of why promoters are not event planners, and the critical role they play in the community.”

The top four promoters who stand out as powerful inspirations to Patsy Anderson are Kathleen Taylor of the B More Healthy Expo, Kimber Goodwin of Blonde Marketing and the Baltimore Preakness, Denise Whitening of Café Hon and Baltimore Hon Fest, and Pittsburgh’s own Valerie Lerch of Posh Events.

Promoting and empowering women in business is a passion Patsy Anderson has dedicated her life to, and those women who cross her path will be more successful as a result.