September 22, 2004

Successful Women Entrepreneurs Invest in Smith Women

According to the United Small Business Administration Web site, women business owners are critically important to the American economy. America's 9.1 million women-owned businesses employ 27.5 million people and contribute $3.6 trillion to the economy.

It was with this in mind that the Graduate Women In Business (GWIB) in conjunction with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship hosted a panel of women entrepreneurs on September 22, 2004 in an event entitled Hot Mommas: The New Rules for Having It All

Jeanne Hill the GWIB president says, Women have many different options that they can pursue outside traditional paths and they need to be flexible and open-minded about their career choices. The event was aimed at both women who are looking to start their own business or those who just wanted to hear from others about successfully balancing life and work as an ambitious businesswoman.

Kathy Korman Frey the managing director and founder of Vision Forward, a consulting firm and adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the George Washington University and a Harvard Business Case author, led the panel.

According to a, "Hot Mommas," a term coined by Frey, is described as: educated female entrepreneurs who maintain a successful business career and family life. The companies run by these Hot Mommas are not the typical home-based cottage ventures, but rather high potential businesses built by well-educated, creative women. This was the angle the panelists wanted to share with Smith women.

On hand to demonstrate that it is possible to have a high-powered career and a successful family life were local business women Lita Miller, Rebecca Fair, the founder of Inde Partners, and Ellyn McKay, the founder of Ellyn McKay & Associates. All married with children and either running or are in the process of starting a consultancy firm, they talked extensively about work-life balance issues. Working towards clear goals, following a schedule and actively making time for family were listed as some of the ways to achieve a balance.

Frey discussed the importance of mentorship among women in the business world. Working with a mentor who is where you want to be that is running your own business and doing it well -- is truly one of the most valuable learning experiences an upcoming entrepreneur can have, she said. Mentors have experience with various components of entrepreneurship; finance, sales and advertising, the areas most upcoming entrepreneurs worry about.

Drawing from her own experience as a strategic consultant where she has worked with hundreds of companies and thousands of business executives to support growth initiatives, Frey cited mentally steeling oneself for the risks involved as a crucial ingredient of success.

Commenting on the speech Hill said Kathy is a very impressive speaker and most of us left the event feeling empowered and ready for the challenging role of working women.

GWIB hopes to hold more events with an entrepreneurship angle in conjunction with the Dingman Center. For more information visit the GWIB homepage or the Dingman Center For Entrepreneurship.

Smith Media Group, Priscilla Mwangi, MBA Candidate 2006

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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