Enterprising Women Spring 2024

$5.00 Spring 2024 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards 22nd ANNUAL COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE! Jenny Jing Zhu Founder & CEO Lush Décor Home 2024 Hall of Fame Inductee INTRODUCING OUR CLASS OF 2024 ENTERPRISING WOMEN OF THE YEAR HONOREES

$5.00 Spring 2024 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards 22nd ANNUAL COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE! K. Shelly Porges Co-Founder and Managing Partner Beyond the Billion 2024 Hall of Fame Inductee INTRODUCING OUR CLASS OF 2024 ENTERPRISING WOMEN OF THE YEAR HONOREES

The community of women business owners reads Enterprising Women! THE MAGAZINE FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS! Celebrating the world’s fines Enterprising Women of the Year A Inspiring the next generation with our You events in cities across the U.S. and Canada h Connect today at www.enterprisingwomen.com

st women entrepreneurs at the Awards Celebration & Conference! ung Enterprising Women Mentoring Forum hosted by the Enterprising Women Foundation m and www.enterprisingwomenfoundation.org

Celebrating our Class of 2024 and Building for the Future with the Enterprising Women Foundation Welcome to this special commemorative issue of Enterprising Women, our annual edition that celebrates winners and champions of the Enterprising Women of the Year Award. We are proud to celebrate our 22nd class of award honorees— an amazing group of women with businesses from under a million in revenues to several businesses with more than $100 million in revenues. We have marketers, IT experts, and so many other industries represented among our honorees—a diverse group that even includes a Tanzanian woman with a large beekeeping operation (25,000 hives) and a honey-based skin care line. Our honorees will come together with members of the Enterprising Women Advisory Board on April 7-9 at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida. It’s not too late to join us so visit our website at www.enterprisingwomen.com to learn more about the annual conference. We will be inducting two amazing women into our Hall of Fame, presenting the inaugural Business Icon Award, and recognizing an Advocacy Award winner as well. You can read more about each of these women in our coverage starting on page 43 of this issue! In other important news, we have just wrapped a U.S. tour of 17 cities with our Young Enterprising Women Mentoring Forum Program hosted by the Enterprising Women Foundation and designed to reach high school girls primarily from underserved communities. With a focus on encouraging girls who are high-achieving in math, science or technology to consider entering one of the STEM fields, we also plant the seeds of entrepreneurship by showcasing local women entrepreneurs—many from STEMbased companies—at each event. We believe “you can’t be what you can’t see,” so providing role models and mentors opens doors and changes lives. This program is near and dear to our hearts and has doubled in size in the past year. For 2024-2025 we are setting a goal of hosting events in 30 cities, adding a new design element to our program to add the A (for Arts) in STEM for STEAM careers. Some of our partners and friends with design backgrounds are excited to help us launch this new addition to our program beginning this fall. On the international front, we have more exciting news to share. For more than 17 years, many of you have heard me speak about my passion for the Peace Through Business Program, an initiative that has educated more than a thousand women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda, offering entrepreneurial training, mentorship and collaboration between U.S., Afghan and Rwandan women entrepreneurs. I am one of hundreds of women business leaders who have been proud to mentor and support this program. It was my honor to serve on the board of directors of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) for the past 11 years. I am proud to announce that the Peace Through Business Program is now a part of the Enterprising Women Foundation. The Founder of IEEW and the Peace Through Business Program, Dr. Terry Neese, will serve as an Ambassador for PTB, assisting in the transition of this program to our Foundation and helping us continue to build support as the program grows under the umbrella of our Foundation. In 2024, the Peace Through Business Program will continue to offer in-country training of women entrepreneurs virtually in Afghanistan and in-person in Rwanda. The virtual training program will also expand to Uganda this year. In 2025, a delegation of international women—graduates of this program—will be chosen to attend the Enterprising Women Conference to receive additional leadership training and connect with mentors and new friends in the U.S. There is also interest in expanding our Young Enterprising Women Mentoring Forum Program into countries where the Peace Through Business Program exists as we know that young women in these countries can benefit from mentorship from women business leaders in their communities. We have long felt that the template for our Young Enterprising Women Mentoring Program could be used anywhere in the world. I have never been prouder of the work we are all doing together to impact women entrepreneurs of all ages in the U.S. and around the globe. Join me in celebrating our accomplishments and re-dedicating ourselves to the important work ahead. I look forward to welcoming many of you at the Enterprising Women conference in April. Reach out anytime and connect with me on LinkedIn or any of our social media platforms. Enjoy this issue! —Monica Smiley msmiley@enterprisingwomen.com enterprising Women 5 Monica S. Smiley FROM THE PUBLISHER

enterprisingwomen.com Women THE VOICE OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS Vol. 25, No. 1, Spring 2024 FEATURES Hall of Fame Inductee Jenny Zhu Enterprising Women Icon Award, Edie Fraser Hall of Fame Inductee K. Shelly Porges Enterprising Women Icon Award, Judi Sheppard Missett EDITOR & PUBLISHER Monica S. Smiley EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Carol L. Genee ASSOCIATE EDITOR Kathy Ann Moilanen PRODUCTION MANAGER Carley M. Dancer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Edie Fraser Geri Stengel Caryn Kopp Quynh Mai Susan Michel Marilyn J. Magett Kathie Okun Marcel V. Quiroga Jill Vitiello Jill Calabrese Bain Laura K. Chiesman Karen Goldner Deborah Snyder Jodi Standke Sandi Webster, PhD Kathleen Hunt Dawn Nichols Keisha A. Rivers Rebecca Contreras Carolyn Rodz Deborah Garry Adonica Randall Andrea Wagner, PhD Pooja Chandra Pama Leslie Atkins Fran Biderman-Gross Anne Descalzo Natalie Suppes Maura Mitchell Judi Sheppard Missett Sharon Reynolds Anne B. Freedman ART DIRECTION/DESIGN SPARK Publications VIDEO PRODUCTION MANAGER Alexander Dancer WEBSITE MANAGER Myra Ray EVENT CONSULTANTS Beth Blake Jamie Kopp CORPORATE & ADVERTISING SALES OFFICES 1135 Kildaire Farm Rd. Suite 200 Cary, NC 27511 USA www.enterprisingwomen.com ENTERPRISING WOMEN is published quarterly by Enterprising Women Inc. Annual print subscription rate is $20. Subscribe online at www.enterprisingwomen.com. Download our app in the Apple Store or Google Play. International print subscribers please add $25US for international postage. Enterprising Women is copyrighted 2024 by Enterprising Women, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited except by permission of the Publisher. The views expressed by contributing writers in this issue are not necessarily those of the staff or management of Enterprising Women Inc. Enterprising Women is not responsible for claims made by its advertisers. 14 T he State of Women-Owned Business: Turning crisis into opportunity. 43 P resenting the Class of 2024 44 H all of Fame Inductees 46 B usiness Icon Award Winners 48 A dvocacy Award Winner 50 M eet our Enterprising Women of the Year Award Winners 84 A Salute to our Enterprising Women of the Year Award Champions 6 enterprising Women

DEPARTMENTS TRIBUTE 13 Edie Fraser raises her glass to the Enterprising Women community. SALES AND MARKETING 18 Flipping a prospect’s “not now” to “yes.” 20 GEN Z – What’s hot, and what’s not with the most powerful generation on earth. FINANCE 22 Dealing with unexpected expenses in retirement. 24 Focus on your profit margin using these three steps. 26 Your money minute: A map to changes in 2024. 28 Personal values and the strength of your balance sheet. MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP 30 Ready, set, exit! 32 Spring cleaning: Three ways to set your business up for success. 34 It’s not just business, it’s personal. 36 Five steps in five years: Succession planning and creating wealth. 38 Growing into your exit: Begin with the end in mind. 92 How to grow as a leader as you grow your business. 94 Equipped for change: Embracing your leadership voice. 95 Leading with resolve: A journey of empowered leadership. HUMAN RESOURCES 87 Happiness can help you attract and keep talent. 88 Mastering the art of remote hiring. 99 New independent contractor rules: Do they affect your employees? TECHNOLOGY 98 Going beyond marketing with AI. 100 Why IT belongs in the skills trade. WOMEN IN STEM 101 Unleashing the power of women entrepreneurs. MENTORSHIP 103 Reimagining success: Mentors are vital. ACCESS TO CAPITAL 96 The funding gap: Cracking the VC landscape for women entrepreneurs. PERSONAL GROWTH 106 No time like the present to write that book. 107 It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. 108 Boxing fear: Confronting your fears head on. 109 Sick and successful: Game-changing strategies for entrepreneurs with chronic illness. 111 Combatting stress, fear and loss with health and wellness. HEALTHY YOU 113 Five reasons to find the right workout buddy. 114 The vital role of health in your business. SPOTLIGHT 104 Paula Blankenship Heirloom Traditions COLUMNS 5 Publisher’s note 113 Healthy You 116 Endnote enterprising Women 7

Christy Alexander 5-Star Therapy www.5-startherapy.com Leslie Atkins LA Communications, LLC www.corporatestorytellers.com Robin Bailey The Legacy Connection www.callerconnection.com Robert Bard Latina Style www.latinastyle.com Elin Barton Riveo Creative www.riveocreative.com Betsy Bassan Panagora Group www.panagoragroup.net Susan Phillips Bari The Susan Bari Company www.SusanSpeaks.online Lorin Beller Lorin Beller & Co www.LorinBeller.com Sarah Benken KNOW Women www.theknowwomen.com Fran Biderman-Gross Advantages www.advantages.net Gloria Bohan Omega World Travel www.owt.net Giselle Bonzi Washington Capital Partners www.washingtoncapitalpartners.com Kristina Bouweiri Reston Limousine www.restonlimo.com Renee Bovelle, MD Envision Eye and Laser www.envisioneyeandlaser.com Jeska Brodbeck Be Light Consulting www.belightconsulting.com Barbara Brown Capitol Hill Consortium for Counseling and Consultation www.ccccmentalhealth.com Natalie Buford-Young Springboard Enterprises www.springboardenterprises.org Camille Burns Women Presidents Organization www.womenpresidentsorg.com Dominique Cagle Nika Corporate Housing www.nikacorporatehousing.com Jennie Campbell The Stewart Lodges (retired) www.stewartlodgeatsteelwood.com Mary Cantando WomanBusinessOwner.com www.womansadvantage.biz Susie Carder SC Consulting www.SusieCarder.com Seema Chawla Tek Valley Corporation www.tekvalley.com Diane Chen CESI Debt Solutions www.cesidebtsolutions.org Laura Chiesman FirstWave Financial www.firstwavefinancial.com Nicole Cober Cober, Johnson & Romney www.cjrlegal.com Rebecca Contreras AvantGarde LLC www.avantgarde4usa.com Wendy Coulter Hummingbird Creative Group, Inc. www.Hummingbird-creative.com Carolyn Marshall Covington Insightful Visionaries www.insightfulvisionaries.org Karen Cripe Label Logic, inc. www.label-logic.com Carol Curran Phoenix Data Corporation www.phoenixdatacorporation.com Shital Daftari Saris and Things Inc. www.sarisandthings.com Sharon Davison 1021UX.com www.SharonADavison.com Michelle DeClerck Conference Event Management. www.myCEM.com Laurie DeJong LDJ Productions www.ldjproductions.com Anne Descalzo Clutch www.connectwithclutch.com Harriet Diamond Author, writer, speaker www.harrietdiamond.net Emilia DiMenco & Hedy M. Ratner Women’s Business Development Center www.wbdc.org Nathalie Doobin Harvard Services Group www.harvardsg.com Desiree Doubrox HomWork www.homwork.com Arianna Sholes Douglas Tula Wellness & Aesthetics www.tulawellnessmd.com Kathy Durfee TechHouse www.tech-house.com Jen Earle National Association of Women Business Owners www.nawbo.org Lois Elrich Real Change Business Coaching www.realchange.life Denise Evans IBM Corporation www.ibm.com Susanne Evens AAA Translation www.aaatranslation.com Marsha Firestone, PhD Women Presidents Organization www.womenpresidentsorg.com Celeste Ford Stellar Solutions, Inc. www.stellarsolutions.com Judy Fourie Fourie Group www.fouriegroup.com Edie Fraser Women Business Collaborative www.wbcollaborative.org Anne Freedman Speak Out Inc. www.speakoutinc.com Joan Killian Gallagher Warden-Brooks, Ltd. www.wardenbrooks.com Jayanthi Ganapathy Finaccurate LLC www.finaccurate.com Twyla Garrett Growth Management Services, Inc. www.hiregms.com Deborah Garry BBG&G Advertising & Public Relations www.bbggadv.com Dima Ghawi www.DimaGhawi.com Molly Gimmel Design To Delivery Inc. www.d2dinc.com Chanie Gluck 4D Global www.4dglobalinc.com Judith Goldkrand Wells Fargo Bank www.wellsfargo.com DeLisa Guerrier Guerrier Development www.guerrierdevelopment.com Sharon G. Hadary, PhD Sharon Hadary & Co. www.sharonhadary.com Lili Hall KNOCK, Inc. www.knockinc.com Monick Halm Real Estate Investor Goddesses www.realestateinvestorgoddesses.com Linda Hamilton Linda A. Hamilton, CPA PLLC www.lahcpas.com Darnyelle Jervey Harmon, PhD Incredible One Enterprises ,LLC www.incredibleoneenterprises.com Melissa Harrison Allee Creative, LLC www.alleecreative.com Dee Hawkins A Better Answer Call Centers www.abetteranswer.com Cynthia Hetherington Hetherington Group www.Hetheringtongroup.com Dana Hetrick Lucas Commercial Flooring Group, Inc. www.lucasflooringkc.com Sonya Hopson HIRE Strategies LLC www.hire-strategies.com Sally Hughes Caster Connection www.casterconnection.com Sharon Hulce Employment Resource Group, Inc. www.ergsearch.com Kathleen Hunt Personalized Payroll Services, Inc. www.personalizedpayroll.com Barbara Hutchinson, MD, PhD Chesapeake Cardiac Care www.ccardiac.com Asma Ishaq Modere www.modere.com Debby Jackson Pivotal Talent Search. LLC www.pivotaltalentsearch.com Kathryn Janicek Kathryn Janicek Productions www.kathrynjanicek.com Marilyn Johnson MarilynjSpeaks.com www.marilynjspeaks.com Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. www.NinaKaufman.com Kelley Keller The Keller Law Firm, LLC www.kkbrlaw.com Jill Kerrigan JAK Creative Design www.jakcd.com Karen Kerrigan Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council/ Women Entrepreneurs Inc. www.sbecouncil.org Merrilee Kick Southern Champion / BuzzBallz, LLC www.southern-champion.com www.buzzballz.com Sung-Joo Kim Sungjoo Group www.sungjoogroup.com Caryn Kopp Kopp Consulting, LLC www.koppconsultingusa.com Margery Kraus APCO Worldwide www.apcoworldwide.com Cathy Light Lideranca Group Inc. www.liderancagroup.com Julie Lilliston Julie Lilliston Communications www.julielilliston.com Kimberly Lineberger Lineberger Construction Inc. / Carolina Construction School www.lci-lineberger.com Kisten Liston Rethink Compliance LLC www.rethinkcomplianceco.com Virginia Littlejohn Quantum Leaps, Inc. www.quantumleapsinc.org Julie Lopez Dr. Julie Lopez, LLC www.drjulielopez.com Renee Pepys Lowe RPL + Associates www.rplassociates.com Maril MacDonald Gagen MacDonald www.gagenmacdonald.com Gia Machlin Eco Plum Inc. www.ecoplum.com 8 enterprising Women

Marilyn J. Magett Evolve CFO Services www.evolvecfoservices.com Rúna Magnúsdóttir Connected-Women.com www.connected-women.com BRANDit www.brandit.is Purba Majumder Cybervation www.cybervationinc.com Francine Manilow Manilow Suites, Inc. www.manilowsuites.com Karen Maples Myutiq www.myutiq.com Andrea March Women’s Leadership Exchange www.womensleadershipexchange.com Angela Marshall, MD Comprehensive Women’s Health www.mdforwomen.com Kris Martinez Martinez Creative Group www.martinezcreativegroup.com Patricia Marx New World Van Lines www.newworldvanlines.com Virginia McGann Value Management Resources www.vmresources.net Martha Mertz Athena International www.athenainternational.org Susan McGlory Michel Glen Eagle Advisors, LLC www.gleneagleadv.com Wanda McKenzie McKenzie & Associates Janice Migliore PALCO www.gotopalco.com Patricia Miller SpaceBound www.spacebound.com Judi Sheppard Missett Jazzercise, Inc. www.jazzercise.com Shaila Rao Mistry JAYCO MMI www.jaycopanels.com STEM-Institute www.stem-institute.org Cindy Monroe Thirty-One Gifts www.cindymonroe.com Fatimah Moody Linkvisum Consulting Group www.linkvisum.com Jacqueline Muller 3DOM (Asia Pacific) Ltd. www.jacquelinemuller.com Bonnie Nawara Association of Women’s Business Centers www.awbc.org Terry Neese The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women www.ieew.org Phyllis Newhouse Xtreme Solutions, Inc. www.xtremesolutions-inc.com Marlene Morrison Nicholls Stewart Morrison Insurance www.stewartmorrison.ca Dr. Nkem Okeke Medicalincs www.medicalincs.com Kathie Okun The Okun Financial Group, Inc. www.theokungroup.com Melissa Adam United Parcel Service www.ups.com Jill Osur Teneral Cellars www.teneralcellars.com Pooja Chandra Pama ACE Foods www.acefoods.org Neelima Parasker SnapIT Solutions LLC www.snapit.solutions.com Shina Parker Integrity Title & Escrow Company www.integritytitlellc.com Desirée Patno National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses www.nawrb.com Kathleen Scheil Pavlik IBM - retired www.ibm.com Tameka L. Payton, Ph.D. Psychometric Solutions, LLC www.pychometricsolutions.org Silvia Pencak WBE Canada www.wbecanada.org Iris Phillips Grace Federal Solutions, LLC www.gracefederalsolutions.com Barb Potter TJ Potter Trucking Inc. www.tjpottertrucking.com Esther Poulsen Raare Solutions LLC www.raaresolutions.com Jeanette Hernandez Prenger ECCO Select www.eccoselect.com Fabi Preslar SPARK Publications www.sparkpublications.com Pamela Prince-Eason Women’s Business Enterprise National Council www.wbenc.org Kathleen Quinn Votaw TalenTrust www.talentrust.com Marcel Quiroga TQM Wealth Partners www.tqmwealthpartners.com Adonica Randall Abaxent LLC www.abaxent-global.com Marti Reeder Edge Solutions & Consulting, Inc. www.edgesolutionsinc.net Sharon W. Reynolds DevMar Products, LLC www.devmarproducts.com Lisa Riggs Sock Queen Spirit Sox USA www.spiritsoxusa.com Keisha A. Rivers The Kars Group LTD www.karsgroup.com LuzElena Rivers AMERA www.myamera.com Dee Robinson Robinson Hill, Inc. www.robinsonhillusa.com Helena Rodrigues AllBy www.allby.pt Lynthia Romney RomneyCom L.L.C. www.RomneyCom.com Manishi Sagar Kinderville Group www.kinderville.com Mariyah Saifuddin Innovative Solution Partners www.isolutionpartners.com Liz Sara SCORE Foundation www.nwbc.gov Katie Schibler Conn Katie Schibler & Associates, LLC d/b/a KSA Marketing www.teamksa.com Judith von Seldeneck Diversified Search Group www.Divsearch.com Charmane Sellers API Design Build Group, LLC www.aleonpropertiesinc.com Minerva Serrano Activus Connect www.activusconnect.com Mary Ellen Sheehy Vistage www.vistage.com Ciemone Sheppard Ciemone Inc. www.ciemoneinc.com Esther Silver-Parker The Silver-Parker Group www.silverparker.com Robyn Smalletz Gloria Duchin, Inc. www.gloriaduchin.com Tressa Smallwood MegaMind Media www.megamindmedia.com Deborah Snyder Cultivate Advisors www.cultivateadvisors.com Maria de Lourdes Sobrino Lulu’s Dessert Inc. www.lulusdessert.com Jodi Standke Talon Performance www.talonperformancegroup.com Nicolina Stewart, CPA Capital Management Advisors, Inc. www.cmaadvisors.net Roseann Sunwoo Clara Sunwoo www.clarasunwoo.com Joanne Tabellija-Murphy Walmart www.corporate.walmart.com Michelle Taylor BETAH Associates www.betah.com Shelli Tench Shelten LLC www.sheltenllc.com Dr. Gulden Turktan International Women’s Forum Turkey www.iwfturkey.com Kay Unger Pitman Kay Unger Family Foundation www.kayungerdesign.com Elizabeth A. Vazquez WEConnect International www.weconnectinternational.org Letty Velez Velez Global Enterprises www.velezglobalenterprises.com Cristina Vicini The International Alliance of Women www.tiaw.org Jill Vitiello Vitiello Advisory https://www.linkedin.com/in/ jillvitiello/ Lucie Voves Church Hill Classics www.diplomaframe.com Andrea Wagner Herizon Funding www.herizonfunding.com Deborah Ward Televergence Solutions www.televergence.com Joanna Wasmuth Erase Poverty www.erasepoverty.org Nancy Watt Nancy Watt Communications www.nancywattcomm.com Sandi Webster Sandi Webster LLC www.sandiwebster.com Cheryl White National Access Design LLC. www.nationalaccessdesign.com Shakenna K. Williams, PhD Babson College http://www.Babson.edu Thomasina H. Williams Sankofa Legacy Advisors www.SankofaLegacyAdvisors.com Bonnie Wong Asian Women in Business www.awib.org Victoria Woods ChappelWood Financial Services www.chappelwood.com Mei Xu Mei Xu & Co. LLC www.meixu.com Sandra Yancey eWomenNetwork.com www.ewomennetwork.com Tina Young Quality Compliance & Management www.QCMConsulting.com Jenny Jing Zhu Lush Decor Home www.lushdecor.com enterprising Women 9

Real Moments, Real Cocktails

CITIES 17 2000 300 MENTORS HIGH SCHOOL YOUNG WOMEN Women entrepreneurs and business leaders from local communities giving their time to mentor the next generation. HOUSTON • NASHVILLE • WASHINGTON DC • DETROIT CHICAGO • BROOKLYN • KANSAS CITY • ROCKVILLE • RALEIGH LOS ANGELES • SAN DIEGO • SACRAMENTO • CINCINNATI SEMINOLE (OK) • APEX (NC) • TRIANGLE NC (REGIONAL) • TORONTO Most from underserved high schools, many with STEM-focused programs who are high-achieving in math, science or technology, many with an interest in entrepreneurship. Thank you to our event chairs who made this possible! JOIN US as we build to 30 cities for the Fall 2024 – Winter 2025 schedule Young Enterprising Women Mentoring Forum Program! Learn more at www.enterprisingwomenfoundation.org

LIFE. INSPIRED.

TRIBUTE By Edie Fraser Celebrating Enterprising Women’s Bold Resolve to Uplift Women Entrepreneurs As a longtime supporter and member of the Enterprising Women Advisory Board, I want to take a moment to celebrate the 24th year of Enterprising Women magazine, the 22nd anniversary of the Enterprising Women of the Year Awards, and the 10th anniversary of the Enterprising Women Foundation. Enterprising Women is much more than a magazine. It is a platform that brings together women from various sectors, empowering them with knowledge, sharing stories of success and providing invaluable advice. The magazine reaches a digital audience around the globe and has been inspiring and connecting women worldwide for more than two decades. The annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards Celebration & Conference is the annual gathering that spotlights 100 outstanding women entrepreneurs each year, providing recognition for women with financially strong, growing businesses who give back as leaders in their communities, and mentor and support other women and girls. I have been a proud supporter of the Enterprising Women Foundation since the launch of the sister nonprofit to the magazine in 2014 and have supported its growth. The foundation’s mentoring program plays a crucial role in nurturing the next generation of female STEM entrepreneurs and leaders. I always plead that all of us elevate and celebrate other women. EW has inducted 50 women into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame over the past 20 years and has presented a number of Advocacy Awards to nonprofit organizations and other advocates deserving of recognition. Let us keep recognizing those who scale businesses and “give back” in meaningful ways. I was proud to author the book, Do Your Giving While You Are Living and believe in the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” The celebration of the 22nd Annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards is motivational. The conference aims at uplifting and networking, learning from top women entrepreneurs, and celebrating achievements. The Enterprising Women Foundation, through its mentoring and scholarship programs, ensures that the impact of today’s leaders extends to the future by reaching high school girls with an interest in the STEM fields or entrepreneurship. The synergy between these programs and the collective efforts of its community members makes Enterprising Women a beacon of hope and a catalyst for change in the entrepreneurial landscape. As we celebrate Spring 2024, let’s stop and reflect on the critical role Enterprising Women magazine and the awards program has played, and the leadership EW has shown in saluting and celebrating top women entrepreneurs. The leading organizations for women entrepreneurs partner with us to help assure wide support for this outstanding annual event. We thank our many partners, including WPO, WBENC, WBC, NAWBO, the BOW Collective, WEGG, WBDC, and many more. Congratulations to the Class of 2024 –featuring the world’s top women entrepreneurs, our newest inductees into the Hall of Fame, and our Advocacy Award Winner. What an incredible and inspiring group of women leaders. EDIE FRASER is chair and founder of the Women Business Collaborative (WBC), the women business movement to accelerate equal position, pay and power for all businesswomen with more than 85 organization partners. She is a founder of C200, and founder and CEO of STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors®(MWM)—with 2.5 million commitments to mentor. Edie has been inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame and received the Enterprising Women Legacy Award. She joins Judi Sheppard Missett, founder of Jazzercise, as the 2024 inaugural winners of the Enterprising Women Business Icon Award. Edie serves as the national co-chair of the Enterprising Women Foundation. The author of three books, she co-authored a new book this year: Women Mean Business: Over 500 Insights from Extraordinary Leaders to Spark Your Success. enterprising Women 13

THE STATE OF WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESS by Geri Stengel Women-Owned Businesses Turned Crisis Into Opportunity The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant hardship to women-owned businesses. The media sounded the alarm about the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on businesses owned by people of color and women. The government and private entities responded, providing assistance — in historic amounts — to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic on women-owned businesses. In addition, changes in consumer behavior, the flexibility and perseverance shown by women entrepreneurs, and increased use of digital platforms also contributed to positive outcomes. Business formation surged at a rate that hasn’t been seen in decades. According to the inaugural 2024 Wells Fargo Impact of WomenOwned Business report (https://www. wippeducationinstitute.org/research), 14 million women-owned businesses now employ more than 12 million people and generate $2.7 trillion. Women’s businesses added 1.4 million jobs and nearly $600 million to the U.S. economy between 2019 and 2023. The pandemic highlighted the potential of providing continued targeted support to bridge entrepreneurial gaps to grow the economy. To Improve It, You Must First Measure It Tracking the metrics of womenowned businesses offers valuable insights into their economic impact; informs policies, practices, and advocacy efforts; and promotes gender equity. It also enables market analysis, transparency, and accountability. “Since 2020, there’s been an absence of annual data that would help inform the women’s entrepreneurial ecosystem on how to support women-owned businesses,” Val Jones, Wells Fargo Women’s Segment Lead for Small Business, said. “Wells Fargo is filling the void.” By analyzing the number of firms, workforce size, and revenue generated by gender, race, ethnicity, size, industry, and geography, the impact of women-owned businesses on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), job creation, and innovation can be assessed. Policymakers, funders, the women’s enterprise development community, educators, researchers, the media, and the women entrepreneurs themselves can then allocate resources effectively, identify areas for improvement, and inspire other women to become entrepreneurs. “The commissioning of the report is about our long-standing commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs and making sure we bring awareness to the historical differences in wealth, business experience, size of networks, industry, specialization, and capital access — things that limit women’s ability to start and grow businesses, especially amongst women of color,” Judith Goldkrand, Wells Fargo Women’s Segment Lead for Commercial Banking, said. Understanding where the gaps are and how fast or slow they are closing enables ecosystem players to effectively tailor resources and programs to address different segments’ needs. It also points to the opportunity to develop new products and services geared toward various segments of women-owned businesses. Unprecedented Support and Nimbleness Grew Women Businesses The first wave of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) did not reach the neediest businesses. The second wave of PPP improved access for minority- and women-owned businesses by targeting outreach and education through increased funding to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), collaborating with minority business organizations, 14 enterprising Women

simplifying application materials in multiple languages, expanding eligibility criteria by relaxing revenue requirements, considering alternative financial statements, and prioritizing underserved communities with dedicated funding. It wasn’t just the government that provided support to small businesses. Banks, corporations, and philanthropic organizations also provided unprecedented funding levels to CDFIs. They offered direct grants and training that improved digital skills and other expertise, and they expanded supplier diversity programs. While much of the support was for all small businesses, targeted support was also given to companies disproportionately affected by the pandemic. As a result of assistance and their own nimbleness, women-owned businesses’ growth rates for firms, workforce, and revenue averaged twice that of menowned businesses. The higher growth rate for women than men was true for 20192023 and for 2022-2023. The pandemic sparked a surge in entrepreneurship, driven by lockdowninduced career rethinks, government support, and increased online commerce. That surge has continued post-lockdown. There also may be a cultural shift toward self-employment and entrepreneurship due to historically changing social values and a desire for autonomy. Black/African American women are leading the entrepreneurial surge. However, the long-term sustainability of these new businesses is yet to be determined and can be influenced by external factors and economic fluctuations. Mind the Gaps: Closing Disparities Can Grow the Economy Progress has been made, but gaps still persist. Women’s share of business ownership increased from about 5 percent in 1972, when the Census Bureau first started measuring gender, to nearly 40 percent today. But, women’s share still lags behind men’s share of 54 percent. Women-owned businesses’ portion of employment and revenue is increasing at a snail’s pace. Their share of employment is 9.2 percent, compared to men’s 35.8 percent, and women’s revenue share is just 5.8 percent, compared to men’s 31.3 percent. Another way to look at entrepreneurial disparities is average revenue. Men-owned businesses generate nearly four times the average revenue of women-owned businesses. The magnitude of the difference is far more striking for Black/African American (16 times) and Hispanic/Latino women-owned businesses (nine times). It’s not just that earning more revenue is good for women business owners and their families: It’s good for the economy. If businesses owned by women of color made the same as businesses owned by white women, they would add $667 billion in revenue to the economy. Nearly $8 trillion would be added if all womenowned businesses matched the average revenue of men-owned businesses. Insights That Can Shape Support and Market Opportunities 1. Comparing recovery from the pandemic and the financial crisis: There was a rise in support and growth, especially for Black/African American women-owned businesses, during the pandemic. This positive trend can be attributed to increased awareness of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on their business, but also to increased awareness of social injustices after the killing of George Floyd. However, it’s concerning that Asian American-owned businesses faced discrimination, xenophobia, and even attacks on their establishments due to the link between the virus and Asian communities perpetuated by certain groups. While Asian American womenowned businesses grew during the pandemic, it wasn’t to the same degree as other businesses owned by women of color. Small businesses were more supported during the pandemic than in previous economic upheavals, such as the 2008 financial crisis. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino women-owned businesses benefited the most. Four years after the 2008 financial crisis, Black/African American womenowned businesses’ average revenues were still down more than 30 percent, while four years after the onset of COVID, they were up by slightly more. Hispanic/ Latino women-owned businesses’ average revenues were down 24 percent four years after the financial crisis and up 17 percent four years after the pandemic’s beginning. “The pandemic was so much different from the financial crisis,” Jones explained. “The entrepreneurial ecosystem recognized that something had enterprising Women 15

to be done and wrapped its arms around women-owned businesses, providing various types of support, but especially access to capital in the form of grants and low-interest loans. “Wells launched a Small Business Resource Navigator tool that helps businesses find CDFIs. CDFIs are local nonprofits and are not well known.” 2. The rising economic might of larger women-owned businesses: Women-owned businesses with 50+ employees showed their business acumen and agility during the pandemic by outperforming their men-owned counterparts in terms of the number of firms, employment, and revenue growth rates. These businesses will likely have more significant and sophisticated financing needs than CDFIs can provide. “We need to address the capital needs for women entrepreneurs at every stage and size of their businesses,” Goldkrand said. “Whether debt or equity, how do we ensure that angel investors, venture capitalists, and private equity investors understand the market opportunity? Financing women entrepreneurs is a business imperative and a market opportunity.” Targeting women business owners with 50+ employees can be a strategic move for marketers due to their significant economic power and purchasing influence. These businesses hold potential for longterm partnerships, referrals, and growth opportunities. Marketers can tap into this potential by engaging with the market segment to build loyal relationships that benefit both parties. 3. Geographic analysis highlights what works: Economic clout ranks the combined growth in the number of firms and employment, and average shares in firms, employment, and revenue of women-owned businesses from 2019 to 2023. Ranking states and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) pinpoints where women-owned businesses flourished or faltered during the pandemic. Women-owned businesses have had the most significant economic clout in states and MSAs that have: ■ strong overall economies; ■ diverse workforces with many women; ■ a supportive business climate; and/or ■ tailored programs and services for women entrepreneurs, including financial assistance, training, mentorship, and supplier diversity initiatives. The top states were New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and California. The top cities were MiamiFort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL; Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA; and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ. 4. Women showed their adaptability by moving into growth industries: Women diversified into more industries and moved into sectors that were growing substantially, including real estate, financial services, and transportation and warehousing. 5. Understand the root causes behind the numbers: Adaptability differs for different groups of women entrepreneurs. Black women face a significant pay gap compared to white men and women, and an even more substantial disparity in their net worth, compared to that of white households. They also have limited access to the financial resources and support necessary for business success. This systemic disadvantage perpetuates the racial wealth gap and hinders the growth of Black/African American women-owned businesses. As a result, Black/African American women are more likely to be sidepreneurs, meaning that they may have a day job with a side hustle or multiple part-time businesses. Part-time businesses tend to have lower average revenues than full-time ones. “When you’re running one business, you’re putting all your energy there,” Goldkrand said. “If you’re multiple businesses, it’s much more complicated. Lenders don’t just look at the business you seek financing for in isolation. They look at all of the liabilities of the business owner.” “CDFIs may be a good choice for financing, but financiers need to look at other ways of measuring creditworthiness,” Jones said. Moving Forward Interest rates in 2024 may remain relatively high, and approval rates relatively low compared to the pandemic. Capital may be more challenging to access. “Understand your numbers, and articulate the driving forces in your business in terms of revenue and profitability,” Goldkrand said. “Even if you don’t need financing, build a relationship with your banker so they understand where you’re coming from when you may need capital. Make sure your financial statements are in order.” “Be clear about your needs and revisit [or create] your business plan,” Jones said. “What are you borrowing money for? What are your long-term goals? Determine if now is the right time to borrow. Consider alternative lenders. Your banker may be able to recommend reputable ones.” You may also get recommendations through the business associations and peer advisory groups you belong to, organizations you’ve trained with, mentors, and fellow entrepreneurs. It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on women-owned businesses. But, while there have been challenges and setbacks, seeing how women have adapted and thrived in adversity is inspiring. By showcasing their business acumen and resilience during this crisis, women-owned businesses have proven that they are a critical driving force in the economy, and their success will only continue to grow with continued support and recognition. GERI STENGEL’S company, Ventureneer (http://www.ventureneer. com/), along with CoreWoman and Women Impacting Public Policy, co-produced The 2024 Wells Fargo Impact of Women-Owned Businesses. Ventureneer helps define and eliminate the challenges that underestimated entrepreneurs face. THE STATE OF WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESS by Geri Stengel 16 enterprising Women

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SALES & MARKETING by Caryn Kopp Flipping “Not Now” to “Yes!” It was 4 p.m. on a Thursday, and I was sitting in my car outside Starbucks. It had been one of those days. You’ve probably had a few like it, too. Phone call, followed by phone call, followed by meetings, and then, more phone calls. I had one more call to go. One call standing in between me and the latte waiting for me inside. The call was with Andrea, a prospect I had met a few months back. Andrea was very interested in our Door Opener® Service. In our previous meeting, she had said to me, “Caryn, I can close a sale most of the time when I’m in front of the right prospects. I just can’t get in front of enough of the right prospects! Can you help?” I had told her she had come to the right place, and we could definitely help her get in the door with difficult-to-reach decision makers. She had reviewed our proposal and on this day, in my car at 4 p.m., she was going to give me her answer. After exchanging pleasantries she said, “Caryn, this service is a perfect fit for us. It’s exactly what we need.” I was feeling really good about how the conversation started! This was going to be an easy close! But, then, she added, “However...” Uh, oh. Perhaps this wasn’t going to be so easy. “We will be making several expenditures over the next few months,” she continued. “So, I’d like to revisit this idea in about six months. We should be ready to move forward at that time.” Has that ever happened to you? A prospect says you are the answer to his/ her prayers, but then says the timing isn’t quite right. It wouldn’t have been wrong for me to say, “I understand. I’m a business owner, too. We have expenses we have to manage, as well. I will contact you in six months to continue our discussion.” But, that’s not what I did. That would not have flipped the, “Not now” answer to a “Yes, let’s get started!” And my goal was to get a “Yes!” while I sat in my car, before I rewarded myself with that latte waiting for me. So, I said, “Andrea, when we first started speaking, you told me that finding more new clients was the most important thing to you this year. In fact, you said your investors want to see more sales.” “That’s right,” she said. “You also told me that you’ve tried other initiatives to grow sales, and nothing has worked so far,” I continued. “You said you have tried putting your customer service people into sales roles, and they don’t want to do that job. You said you have tried hiring salespeople, but you don’t have time to train and manage them. You said you have even tried doing the sales yourself, but your time is better spent working on the business, not on finding new prospects.” “That’s right,” she agreed. “Then, let me ask you this one question,” I said. “If we don’t proceed together on this project, how will you achieve your goal of adding more new clients this year?” There was silence on the other end of the phone. It lasted a long time. I waited silently. Then, I heard a big sigh. When Andrea finally spoke, she said, “You’re right. If we don’t do this initiative, we can’t achieve our goals.” “Ok,” she said firmly. “Let’s get started.” Five Key Takeaways This personal story includes a number of lessons about business development. Here are what I consider the top five: 1It takes longer to roll up your sleeves and get into the conversation that uncovers the real objection and then overcome it. But, it’s worth the extra time! 2Asking what we call “High Gain” questions early in the sales process will provide you with valuable ammunition later on, if there are objections or sales stall. Being a good listener and note-taker are critical skills in order to best leverage the information learned. 3Keep track of all notes and next steps in one location (CRM, Excel spreadsheet, piece of paper, etc.), and review that information before any meeting, call, or email. 4Prepare for each communication by identifying your objective, your prospect’s objective, and high-gain questions and answers for any of your prospect’s objections. It was no accident that I knew what to say in response to Andrea’s objection. That was one of the objections I had identified before our call and for which I had prepared an effective response. 5Remember, the prospect is the most important factor in the sales equation. I often say that closing a sale is a simple executional detail of business development well done. Think of what went right along the way in this process that helped me achieve this outcome. One final, important note: What occurred came from several strategic, purposeful steps that anyone (seller or non-seller) can take. It is possible to flip a prospect’s initial answer. You can do it, too! Dig in, and stay focused on the ultimate goal. Success will follow. Happy hunting! CARYN KOPP is the Chief Door Opener at Kopp Consulting, whose Door Opener® Service helps clients get in the door for initial meetings with executive-level decision makers. Her book, Biz Dev Done Right is an Amazon best seller. She also is the author of The Path to The Cash!® The Words You NEED to Bypass Those Darned Prospect Objections. She is a member of the Enterprising Women Advisory Board, a past recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year Award, and was named to the Enterprising Women Top 20 in 20 Years. Kopp Consulting is a 3x Inc. 5000 winner and has been named Sales Outsourcing Provider of the Year. Reach her at https://www.koppconsultingusa.com. 18 enterprising Women

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SALES & MARKETING by Quynh Mai GEN Z — What’s Hot, and What’s Not What You Need to Know about the Most Powerful Generation on Earth As the largest generation in American history with 68.8 million people, Generation Z (Gen Z) has an outsized impact on culture and society. With members born between 1997 and 2012, a significant proportion of the Gen Z population is now entering the full-time workforce and increasing its purchasing power. So, what is Gen Z influencing? Let’s take a closer look to help you and your business succeed in interacting with — and connecting to — this powerful generation. What’s Hot? (Please note – trends change quickly these days; this information is subject to change before the ink on this page is dry.) TikTok Search: According to The New York Times, young people are using TikTok searches over Google. Videos and testimonials from real people and influencers do not appear as biased as Google searches, which are filled with ads. Increasingly, Gen Zers rely on their peers for news, advice and information, rather than media or corporations. That means to connect with Gen Z, brands and leaders have to “get real” and get on camera, speaking directly to the customers or cohorts they are trying to reach. Putting yourself front and center as a leader shows authenticity and a credibility that no press release or corporate statement can duplicate. Dupe Culture: Gen Z is very money conscious. Dupe Culture (buying a cheaper substitute for a high-priced item) is also winning with Gen Z. Dupes are products that mimic the formulation or design of luxury or expensive brands, but are sold at a fraction of the price. Value wins with Gen Z, and they were practically born with a phone in their hands. This generation is not afraid to look for cheaper alternatives to their favorite items (often the exact same products with no high-brand labels). Sharing dupes on social media demonstrates savviness and is appreciated by one’s peers. Brands should not shy away from their value and price proposition. Being a good dupe and acknowledging it out loud will draw in the young, budget-conscious shopper. Creators Are the A-List: According to Goldman Sachs, the Creator economy will double in the next five years, reaching $480 billion by 2027. Gen Z finds Creators more relatable and trustworthy than traditional celebrities because they are just like them, so much so that social shopping has found new momentum under the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt with 6.4 million posts. And consumers are watching livestreams from their favorite influencers and buying products off the feeds. For brands looking to market their products, forget the glossy photo shoots and models. Find Creators that resonate with your message, and let them spread word-of-mouth marketing for you. Trends & Tips for Marketing to Gen Z in 2024 Marketing to Gen Zers can be complex, requiring an entirely different approach than marketing to Millennials. It’s essential for marketers to understand the needs, preferences, and behaviors of this generation if they want to connect with them effectively. If you want to market to them, you must first connect with them. Here are a few tips for marketing to Gen Z: Embrace Diversity: This generation is exceptionally diverse and is looking for brands that acknowledge and celebrate this diversity. Brands that embrace and elevate diversity in their messaging will be well-positioned to resonate with Gen Z consumers. Authenticity is Key: Gen Z is skeptical of traditional advertising and prefers authentic, relatable video content. Real people, real reviews, and usergenerated content are highly trusted. Brands that can create organic content that is relevant and responsive to their customers’ needs will be well-positioned to capture Gen Z’s attention. SeventyFour / Shutterstock.com 20 enterprising Women

Engage on Social Media: Gen Z is highly engaged on social media and wants to connect with brands on these platforms. The key word here is “engage.” This is not a generation that takes to posting and ghosting. They often expect customer service to be answered via social platforms when they write, and they appreciate humans, instead of bots. Brands that have a strong social media presence and engage with their customers effectively will be able to build trust with this generation. Extra points if your brand is nimble and able to address trends quickly. Gen Z Will Have an Unprecedented Impact Gen Z is having a significant impact on culture and society. Not only are they the largest generation on earth in terms of population, but they understand technology and wield the power to influence other generations more effectively than all the generations that have come before them. With their unique perspective and outlook on the world, Gen Zers will impact everything about how we buy and sell during the next few years. Although they are the most digitally connected and most photographed generation on the planet, they also crave in-person connections. Businesses and experiences that can get Gen Z out and about in real life will wield additional market influence. And understanding the influence of this generation today will help empower your tomorrow. Gen Z is a generation that is reshaping the retail landscape with their unique preferences, spending habits, and values. As marketers, we must understand what they are buying and influencing, as well as their behaviors and preferences, to connect with them effectively. Those who can successfully navigate this complex landscape and develop a deep understanding of this generation will be well-positioned to succeed. Put simply, companies should look to Gen Z not only for inspiration, but also to inform their marketing strategy and guide their future business decisions for years to come. QUYNH MAI is the founder & CEO of Qulture (https://qulture.agency), a digital creative agency known for equipping its clients to confidently embrace the near future. Using compelling narratives and cutting-edge technology, Qulture crafts prescient campaigns to connect brands with their audiences and guide them for their next big move in digital. You can reach her at https://www.linkedin.com/ in/1quynhmai/. APCO WORLDWIDE PROUDLY SUPPORTS ENTERPRISING WOMEN FOR ITS COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING WOMEN APCO IS CERTIFIED BY WBENC AS A MAJORITY WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESS apcoworldwide.com As a woman-founded business that today is the largest certified majority women-owned communications firm in the world, we know that the advancement of women in business is not only the right thing to do, it is a business imperative. 57%OF OUR GLOBAL LEADERSHIP TEAM POSITIONS ARE HELD BY WOMEN OF APCO’S WORLDWIDE OFFICES ARE LED BY WOMEN 1/2 enterprising Women 21

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