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Challenges & Advice for Women Leaders.

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Category: Leadership

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Chris Heeter, the founder of The Wild Institute, talks about the challenges facing women leaders today. She believes that women have to stop selling themselves short and embrace their strengths, including much maligned soft-skills like relationship building.

Chris Heeter spoke at the 2012 Women Leaders Conference. This annual event is hosted by the UWM School of Continuing Education. Find more conference details on the web at sce-womenleaders.uwm.edu.

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UW-Milwaukee SCE WiSE Breakfast Series.

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Category: Professional Perspectives

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Evelyn Boyles, a Project Manager Engineer at We Energies, shares her experiences with the WiSE Breakfast Series, an affinity group for women in science and engineering at the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education.

WiSE meets monthly, and female engineers from across the state present on a variety of pertinent topics, sharing their knowledge and experiences with other women.

For more information on WiSE, click here. You can also find a fascinating study on how women cope with working in a male-dominated industry  here.

 

 

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After the Scream.

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Category: Entrepreneurship

Wendy Katherine Baumann has served as President/CVO of the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, a statewide economic development corporation since 1994. Baumann’s keen ability to dialogue and successfully collaborate with public, private and diverse groups has provided the leadership required to insure the achievement of WWBIC’s efforts to serve small business particularly those owned by women, minorities and low wealth individuals.

“I don’t really believe in what I am doing…so what AM I doing? “ Sometimes women ask themselves this question about their work, their jobs, and their career.

“I am out of work, unemployed. Where are the jobs…maybe I can create my own?”  This is a typical follow up question.

And then my personal favorite — “I have an idea for a business. Is my idea viable?” Sometimes this question keeps a woman up at night — that thought of doing something different in a new market.

And the possible answer (I say possible because being an entrepreneur or business owner is not for everyone) is turning that idea into an actual business. This could be a business that creates a job for oneself, a business that could start and remain small and meaningful, or a business that could start and grow into what many term a “gazelle” company. The main point here is any of these businesses can be great and right for that individual!

Starting a business is a very personal journey and truly needs pro-active action in itself. I remember being in the UK at a business center targeting women starting businesses and they actually had a screaming room. Yes, a screaming room! We all asked on the tour — “How is that related to starting a business?” — and the Director said, “Well, to scream I AM STARTING A BUSINESS, of course!”

But what happens after the scream? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Be clear with yourself and understand that eventually you will need to be clear with others about why you are starting this business. There are as many reasons as there are entrepreneurs. Realizing why you are starting this business will take you down the path to actually starting it the best way you can.
  • Get busy researching. Today you can gain much from the use of the internet – searches, links, websites, social media groups, and blogs like this!!! But first you need to know what you already know and what you do not know. For instance, what is your potential market? After you have sold to family and friends, who will buy from you and how? Retail, online, business-to-business, or in some space that no one has yet imagined are just a few options. People LOVE to talk about what they do – ask others in that same business or similar business – it works!
  • Develop some sort of plan, even (especially) a plan for yourself. Decide what should be your first next step and then commit to taking it. There really are only two parts to a plan — the story and the financials — and they need to make sense together.

Remember, there is a great deal of support out there, including many women’s business centers like ours, The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC). Maybe Nike was right…Just Do It!

Do you have further advice for entrepreneurs? Let’s chat. Leave a comment below.

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