Women Business Leaders Conference Sessions - October 13

Join us on Wednesday, October 13, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM for our Women Business Leaders Conference.  Check our workshops, round tables, and panel discussions being offered on this day.  Click here for a Conference Agenda-at-a-Glance

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM  Conference Welcome & Keynote
Keynote:  My Business Journey:  Starting Small and Steady

Erin Baumgartner, CEO and Co-Founder, Family Dinner

Starting a business can feel overwhelming, exhilarating and terrifying all at once.  It is a rocky road with a thousand hurdles. There are questions of market fit, branding, mission, financing and how to achieve scale. To start on this dizzying, gratifying journey, we have to take the first step. Join Erin Baumgartner, CEO, and co-founder of Family Dinner, for a conversation about small business ownership, the long road to that first step, and lessons learned along the way.


11:00 AM - 11:45 AM  Workshops
Panel 1:  Allyship

Bithia Carter, President and CEO, New England Blacks in Philanthropy
Sage Drennon, IDEAS Strategist, Inclusion NextWork (INW)
Malia Lazu, Founder and CEO, The Lazu Group
Angie Liou, Executive Director, Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC)
Nancy Huntington Stager, President & CEO, Eastern Bank Foundation

Join us for an exploration of allyship - the commitment to using your power and privilege to advocate for others.  We will be examining allyship in the workplace and entrepreneurial space.  How can corporations use their power and privilege to advocate for systemically underserved and underrepresented communities?  How can individuals use their power and privilege to lift others up?  We'll discuss this together!


Workshop 1:  The Water We Swim In

Emerald Anderson-Ford, Equity Strategist and Trainer, CRED

Join us for an examination of our personal identities, how we are socialized into those identities, and how we experience or perpetuate oppression because of those identities.

In this workshop you will:

  1. Gain a baseline understanding of the 4 I’s of Oppression
  2. Be able to name examples of the different forms of oppression in everyday life
  3. Begin to think of ways to interrupt oppressive systems in everyday life

Workshop 2:  Igniting Transformational Change to Support an Equity Workplace

Valerie Zolezzi-Wyndham, Founder and CEO, Promoting Good LLC

This session will introduce participants to Promoting Good's Ignite framework - a five step mechanism aimed at helping organization build sustainable equity change. Through small group exercises, participants will identify behaviors and practices that interfere with equity and apply our Equity Pause™ framework to address those often-harmful blind spots at an individual and organization level. 


Workshop 3:  Feminist Business Models: How they're special, why they matter, and how they can transform your entrepreneurship

CV Harquail, PhD, Co-Founder, ToolMaker, Feminists at Work

Feminist entrepreneurs are transforming business through their products, their revenue models, their leadership practices, and their stakeholder relationships. By using the venture-creation process to create alternatives to the often-extractive conventional startup, feminist entrepreneurs have developed values-driven business models, organizational practices that interrupt and reform oppressive uses of power, and products and marketing practices that proudly promote a feminist view of how the world could be. This view includes not only ending oppression and achieving gender equity but also creating economic systems that support the flourishing of all people and the ecosphere, making feminist business models relevant to entrepreneurs of all genders.

In this talk, CV Harquail, PhD, of Feminists at Work will offer a working definition of feminism, explain what defines a feminist business, and describe how a feminist business goes beyond mainstream social entrepreneurship to produce both profits and justice. She will introduce the Feminist Business Model Canvas and show how it organizes feminist values to shape a revenue model that delivers financial and real social change.


Panel 2:  How to Participate in and Win More Bid Opportunities

Moderator:  Saken Khokhar, Supplier Diversity Manager, Boston Scientific
Monette Knapik, Senior Director of Supplier Diversity, CVS Health
Marianne Lancaster, President, Lancaster Packaging
Liora Stone, President, Precision Engineering, Inc.
Lisa Spector, AVP, Director of Category Management, TJX

You’re certified, you’re networking with companies, you’re seeking bid opportunities – why aren’t you converting more leads into opportunities?  Join us to hear from two experienced Supplier Diversity Professionals and two WBEs who have been successful in the corporate arena.  They’ll discuss best practices and will share their own experiences.  Topics will include what corporations look for in a supplier and their supplier base, and what lessons diverse suppliers can learn from WBEs who have been successful in getting business. 


12:00 PM - 12:45 PM  Round Table Discussions
Round Table 1:  Networking for Business Success

Ronda Berns, Ronda Berns Sales Consulting & Coaching

Networking is one of the most effective ways to find and secure new clients.  Despite being a proven method of increasing one's business success, most people have not been taught the skills necessary to do it successfully, comfortably, and with confidence. 

If your palms sweat and your heart races at the thought of networking and prospecting for new clients on the phone, in person, at events, or in meetings, join us to discover some of the tools and techniques to help you master the art of networking and start making new connections today!


Round Table 2:  Build Trust to Elevate Human Experience

Ashley Reichheld, Principal, Deloitte Consulting, LLP

Trust is what brings us, as humans, together. It’s the essential bond that underpins not only the relationships we have with one another, but also the relationships we have with companies.  We know that trust drives important human behaviors and business outcomes, including customer loyalty, employee motivation, and repeat purchase.  Yet trust amongst Americans is fractured-- The majority of consumers don’t trust businesses and the majority of employees don’t trust their employers.  To solve this problem, businesses first need to deeply understand their customers, workforce, and partners, by viewing people through the lens of what they value, desire, and need (rather than just their demographics).  Then businesses need to put this knowledge to use by building offerings and services with humanity, creating tools, apps, platforms, and points of connection that speak to these values, needs and desires.  Companies should focus on making life better, bringing a more ‘human’ touch to our increasingly digital world to elevate the human experience and build trust.


Round Table 3:  Staying True

Des Allen, Assistant Vice President of Strategic Engagement, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

The impacts of the pandemic will be with us for a long time.  How do we - as mothers, as professionals, as businesswomen - stay true to the core of our goals, even if our initial plan doesn’t work?  Join us as we discuss strategies for redefining success and finding alternative solutions to the goals we initially wanted to reach?  Let’s remember what we were originally trying to solve for and find another way.  Please note that, rather than an informational session, this will be time to connect and share strategy with your peers. Des will speak to her lived experience and help you speak to yours.  We are all stronger together.


Round Table 4:  CWE Rising Star Winners

Central MA:  Joe Truesdell, Co-Founder and Owner, Tidepool Books
Eastern MA:  Shea Rose, Recording Artist & Vocal Coach, Embodied Voice & Yoga
New Hampshire:  Elizabeth Hermawan and Jeanny Tan, Co-Owners, Swan Patisserie
Vermont:  Wangene Hall, Director of Marketing, Global Village Foods
VBOC:  Kimberly Slininger, Spirit Warrior

Join us as we celebrate six amazing entrepreneurs via a mini online marketplace. These folks are CWE clients, via one of our Women's Business Centers and/or our Veterans Business Outreach Center.  At this session, you'll learn about their businesses and have the opportunity to invest directly in them by purchasing their products or services!


Round Table 5:  Starting a Farm Business: Lessons Learned from a Marine Turned Farmer

Anne Devin, Owner-Operator, Chase Stream Farm

Each year, nearly 200,000 Service members transition from the military back to their civilian communities. A growing number of them have sought out a career in agriculture as a means of healing war wounds and finding another way to serve their communities. Agricultural work can provide the perfect environment for veterans to establish their own regimen, experiment with innovation, and manage their own personal interactions. Running a farm business does not come without risk, however. In this session, Anne will address several areas of farming risk - broken down into 5 F's - Family, Farming, Finances, Fitness, and Future - and how to utilize existing resources to mitigate and overcome those challenges. She will share her experiences as a farmer, AgrAbility Veteran outreach professional, beginning farmer consultant, and Director of a 9-month comprehensive farmer veteran training program to discuss how her military experiences are helping her and others navigate farming as a lifestyle and sustainable business.


12:50 PM - 12:55 PM  Message from CWE President & CEO, Gaby King Morse
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM  Workshops
Panel 3:  Taking the Jump- How Four Women Made the Choice to be in their Business Full-Time

Moderator:  Carrie Johnson, Author, Educator, Entrepreneur
Beth Blaney, Founder, Beth Blaney & Associates
Leslie Levesque, CEO, LL International
Teresa Maynard, Owner, SweetTeez Bakery

There comes a time for many entrepreneurs when they need to consider leaving their full-time work to dedicate their professional selves completely to their business.  This can be a very difficult decision and there are many factors to consider.  In the wake of the pandemic, many women are considering this from a new perspective given the lessons learned over the last year and a half.  Join us to hear from four women who made that choice at different times in their lives.


Workshop 5:  Paying Yourself (even when it's tricky)

Hadassah Damien, Founder, Ride Free Fearless Money

Getting paid sustainably is a social equity issue: as a business owner, you want to design a business that financially supports you, so you can support yourself, your family, and your communities. But, how?

In this session you’ll learn how to use a simple formula to figure out how much your business needs to bring in as revenue in order to be financially sustainable, so that you can start thinking about what you need to do to bring in that revenue and learn quickly if your current business model isn’t going to support you the way you need or want.

You’ll also reflect on why getting paid is important and think through your numbers to learn what you need to work towards to bring home a minimum, medium, and WOW income.


Workshop 6:  Engaging Everyone: Best Practices for Accessible Digital Communications

Jules Good, Founder and Consulting Lead, Neighborhood Access

Did you know that 1 in 4 US residents have a disability? Disabilities can impact the way we navigate the world, and that includes the digital world! Join Jules Good, Consulting Lead at Neighborhood Access, for an engaging, hands-on workshop where you'll learn how to make your social media pages, websites, and other digital communications methods accessible to all users. Participants will receive written resources after the presentation with tips for applying this knowledge to their own work.


Workshop 7: The State of Women's Entrepreneurship:  A Research Lens

Gwen Pokalo, Senior Director - Vermont Women's Business Center, Center for Women & Enterprise

Over the last year, CWE has conducted a series of studies to examine women's entrepreneurial impact on the economy. What we've learned is surprising. Let us share some of our findings with you, give us your feedback, and help shape the story of women's entrepreneurship in our economy.


Workshop 8: Utilizing Your Military Service Connection as a Pathway to Business Ownership

Ana McKenna, Founder, Ana McKenna

Veterans and military spouses have a competitive advantage in the entrepreneurial marketplace. The decision to even start a business can be a big, exciting, and possibly scary step. The skills that you have acquired through the connection to the military can be utilized and translated into a viable business idea. Most small businesses are developed from ideas that made sense given the needs of the marketplace or are built from the business owner’s interests and passions. This workshop explores my journey as a veteran and entrepreneur and is designed to inspire you to dream about your business, understand the journey of an entrepreneur, and support you in understanding how your military connection is a viable pathway to successfully starting and operating a business.


1:00 PM - 2:15 PM  WBENC Match Maker-Mentor Sessions (WBEs Only)

This virtual session will combine matchmaking with speed mentoring and bring together WBENC-WBE certified representatives with WBENC Corporate Partner representatives in a one-on-one online setting.

For more information about completing your WBENC certification, please visit: www.cweonline.org/certification