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FWSF East Bay – Women as Entrepreneurs: a Panel Discussion

By Kim Everett

East Bay Panel DiscussionWhat does it take to be a woman entrepreneur? The FWSF East Bay provided an interesting, fun, and thought-provoking panel to answer just that question.

Moderated by our own Kim Scala, three successful women entrepreneurs — Cynthia Parker (Econoday), Kathleen Nielsen (Equilibrium Services Group), and Ramona Alves (engineering and technology visionary) — shared their learnings, experiences, goals, and passions that support their success.

Questions started around a Business Plan, which all agreed is a must for funding, is good to have otherwise, but there is not always time to prepare. All agreed that, it is OK to ask for help (which women tend NOT to do) in areas where you have no time or limited expertise.

We learned that hiring friends doesn’t always work. Hire for expertise, don’t dwell on your mistakes and make changes when they are needed.

Although there are challenges for women in business, there are some advantages. They can be seen as more trustworthy, tolerant, ethical and honest than men.  Whereas, men come out on top when it comes to exhibiting confidence.

All agreed that the real key to success is doing something you know. Don’t try to start a business in an area where you have no expertise.

In addition to all these women give to their businesses, they each are devoting time and effort to help others. Ramona is working on new software to stop texting and driving; an area which is close to her heart with two teenage drivers. Cynthia is working to build financial support for women with legal and family challenges. So many women don’t know where to turn when faced with custody or other legal concerns. Kathleen is working with non-profits in support of children including adoptions, providing nutrition and funding education for kids in third world countries. FWSF East Bay was honored to have these amazing womenshare their time and talents with a packed house of participants. Everyone came away knowing women can do ANYTHING they put their time and talents to accomplish.

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