A Keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur, event organizer, and podcast host Betsy Wiersma is one of the leading women leaders in the world who are working selflessly for women growth on the global scale. Betsy is the creator of The CampExperience™ Network, an annual retreat and ongoing gatherings designed exclusively for women who are ready for education and inspiration and want to connect to a network of amazing women.
She asserts, “The CampExperience™ Network is 5000 women on purpose for good. Together with our sponsors, volunteers and ‘Sisters,’ we have raised over $1 million for Charity Partners in Colorado and around the globe. We call members of our Network ‘Sisters’ because we choose to treat each other as family. We explain to any woman that she will be welcomed, respected, honoured, supported and that she is invited to the ‘Sisterhood by Choice’. Our customers love our high-energy and positive vibe as well as our focus on education, inspiration and the connections that count for business and for life.”
At The CampExperience™ Network, the motto is Do Good & Have Fun. The team offers monthly networking and social events, online workshops, retreats and an annual Fall Retreat that draws speakers and guests from around the US.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between World’s Leaders and Betsy Wiersma:
Brief our audience about your journey as a women entrepreneur. What challenges have you had to face to reach where you are today?
It all started with a macrame bead bracelet business in 4th grade. My best friend Mary Elliott and I created and sold bead bracelets and made a whopping profit of $40. Yes, $40 in 4th grade in 1970 was a HUGE thing and started my path to a life as a serial entrepreneur. I was hooked on the creativity, the invention, the thrill of the sale, the collaboration of the team and the freedom to serve the world one sale at a time.
Fast forward to the e-ticket ride that is my entrepreneurial career. I enjoyed seven internships at Purdue University to start getting into the fun. Then after just a quick “real job” I started Wiersma Experience Marketing, and as they say, the rest is rock and roll history. For 35 years, my Wiersma Experience Marketing has birthed hundreds of ideas for organizations in the US and around the globe. And one of my BIG IDEAS is the 16-year-old CampExperience™ Network.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Fundraising industry through your expertise in the industry?
We believe in love as a business strategy, so focusing on helping our Charity Partners is a natural fit for our organization. Since the first CampExperience™ Network Retreat, we have raised at least $20,000 cash and thousands of dollars of in-kind support for charities every year! What works so well for our “Sisters” is that when you volunteer to help others, you share a unique experience with your new friend. The shared experience that culminates in the love and support of others brings joy right back to the participant. And the shared joy bonds the “new friends” into more than casual acquaintances. The equation to success around strategic philanthropy is Strangers become volunteers + shared positive experience helping others + JOY for all = New friends, customers and then advocates. These women now become advocates and new dedicated donors to a variety of causes.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
On March 21, 1983, I was at college, and late on a snowy Saturday night, seven college Seniors from Purdue University went snowmobiling. I know looking back not the most “adult” idea. Tragic long story short, we had a terrible accident, and my friend sitting with me on the sledge was killed, and I was in 21 days of intensive care with multiple injuries. When I looked through the bandages, I knew my life had changed forever. Not only my physical life and life-long rehabilitation, but my entire being had shifted. I knew I was spared for a Life on Purpose and that every day is a gift. This is the fuel to every day that I am blessed to be here to serve my team, my Network, and my clients.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives CampExperience™ Network.
We focus in our culture on ROI: Return on Ideas! We honour and respect everyone with their own style and gifts. I am very artsy not only in my Art on Purpose business but also in life. That translates into my daily changing of funky and colourful glasses and my wild handmade-by-me art clothing and jean jackets. My team are inspired and motivated to serve our women and our charities. We are not afraid to try wild ideas. In April of 2021, we had a charity fundraiser in the COVID mask mandate. We themed it Masquerade Have-A-Ball and had 100 guests all “Sister Safe” in our beautiful masks. Creativity is our superpower, and the fun is dreaming up the next big or small thing.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for CampExperience™ Network?
I know I will always Do Good & Have Fun. I love telling the stories of women, and podcasting is a blast! I am crazy into my Art on Purpose which was featured in Where Women Create magazine in August 2021. And my art is like my life, committed to uplifting and positive messages that inspire and create joy. My dream is to take the lead in global Art & Insight Retreats and building other online courses to join my first-course MOVE Ideas Into Action. And, I believe my talented Denver team will grow the home base and continue to innovate and serve.
What would be your advice to budding women entrepreneurs?
Ladies YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. I teach in my course: “Everything you know for sure you are right!” What that means is that what you believe is your reality! You start with every thought in your head or heart, and then the joy is to take them to the world. And serve whoever you are meant to serve. There is no measurement of success that matters more than JOY and the positive impact you can have on others. Service with style makes a happy and joy-filled life.