Alaia

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Alaia Williams

Name and occupation:

Alaia Williams, Business Organizer, Networking Group Founder, and Dot Connector

What do you love most about being a woman?

Though challenges still remain and improvements in our culture would be welcomed,  I feel like this is the best time to be a woman. I didn’t grow up during a time when I was regularly told or treated like I was less than a man or had to be subservient to one. Also, as a woman in business, I feel like I have additional opportunities and resources that have definitely made a positive impact on my life. While the group I run is open to men and women, I have joined organizations for women business owners in the past, or attended events geared toward business women. Those of us who are active, at least here in Los Angeles, are rapidly building connections, and in many cases, strong friendships. Most of the female friends I have made after leaving college are other women business owners.

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

Fortunately, no. At least not that I have been aware of.  When I started my first business back in 2006, I was a Professional Organizer specializing in residential projects. Most people in the industry were (and possibly still are) women. In terms of the networking group, I think most people are concerned about it being an active groups with interesting people to meet and less concerned with my sex.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

 I’ve belonged to several women-only organizations in the past, but my preference is for organizations that are open to both men and women. I also run a networking group and it has been open to men and women since day one. I do, however, have a mastermind group that only has women in it, and I try at least once a month to have a dinner or social gathering with some of my closest female entrepreneur pals.

Who or what inspires you most?

People who have overcome great odds to achieve great things. Everyone has different capabilities and what not, but when I look at people who achieve amazing things because they worked really hard, stayed positive and didn’t back down, I can’t help but realize that I don’t have any excuses for not making my dreams come true.

Something about you that would surprise us:

If eating bacon three times a day wouldn’t kill me, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Advice for women entrepreneurs:  

Ask for what you want. You don’t know what you’ll get if you don’t. Ask for what you’re worth. You’ll be bitter and resentful if you settle for less.

Website and social media links:

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  • Women’s History Month Spotlight: Erika Lyremark (dangerouslee.biz)
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Women’s History Month Spotlight: Mag Retelewski

Name and occupation:

Mag Retelewski, President and Founer of Clarteza

What do you love most about being a woman?

Emotional intelligence.

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

To a certain degree yes but I also experienced bias since I was born in Poland.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

Yes, I created my own organization and hire mostly women (not by design, but somehow it happens this way).

Who or what inspires you most?

I believe that Passion Persuades and this is the biggest source of my inspiration.

Something about you that would surprise us:

I am a violinist (with formal schooling!) and speak more than one language.

Advice for women entrepreneurs:

Follow your passion and question a status quo.

Website and social media links:

  • Irish-American Heritrage Month Spotlight: Belinda Blakley (dangerouslee.biz)
Erika Lyremark

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Erika Lyremark

Name and occupation:

Erika Lyremark (“Lira-Mark”), Business coach and mastermind behind The Daily Whip, where I teach beautiful babes to be bad-ass business women.

What do you love most about being a woman?

That it affords me so much choice! (I would have answered differently if you’d asked me this, say, 300 years ago.) I have an incredible array of options as a woman.

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

One of the benefits of working exclusively with other women is that that particular hurdle just isn’t an issue. Having spent 9 years as a stripper and 9 years working in commercial real estate, I’ve seen the other end of the spectrum, and it’s impressive. I like where I am now.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

Currently there are more than 150 women in my online community with whom I interact regularly – that’s organization enough for me! That said, I am a host for Tory Johnson’s Spark & Hustle National Tour.

Who or what inspires you most?

My dad. My mom. Oprah. Seeing my clients go from scared and scrounging to soaring pros.

Something about you that would surprise us:

I live in Minneapolis, and not New York, L.A. or San Francisco!

Advice for women entrepreneurs:

Treat your business like a lady. Hustle, hustle, hustle, then hustle some more. Always ask for the dance.

Website and social media links:

 

 

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Women’s History Month Spotlight: Vee Carson

Name and occupation:
Vee Carson Owner/Operator Of Las Vegas Shoe Shine Girl

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

Surprisingly for the most part I am very respected in my industry, but every once in a while you get one person that thinks you are not worthy of respect as a business owner, and the you’re not as good as them attitude.

I don’t think it has as much to do with being a woman business owner, as much as it has to do with the line of business. Historically not all shoe shiners are educated so people sometimes tend to think you are stupid or uneducated. Its actually kind of funny at times.

I actually had someone give me a card and say they’d pay top dollar for us to work a convention. When I called to follow up he gasped with surprise, maybe because he wasn’t expecting me to follow up. He was shocked so he sighed then paused as he said “ I was just being facetious.” After feeling kinda like a jerk he apologized and I just kindly told him that in the future if we can help you with your marketing efforts feel free to contact us. I don’t think he will ever do that again to anyone else.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

Not at the moment. Lately my time has been a little limited, but I love to network with other women and organizations that support women in business.

Who or what inspires you most?

People, experiences and challenges inspire me.

Every time I shine a pair of shoes at a convention or event, and my clients are complimented on what a great idea it was for them to have shoe-shiners in their booth it just makes me want to keep going. Happy customers are what makes it all worth it. It’s not just the bad things that make me strive to work harder, but it’s the good things that inspire me. For example, my husband and my little brother really inspire me. Sometimes just talking to them about something else they will make me have a bright idea or give me something cool to brainstorm about.

I believe that if something is meant to be it will all fall into place not because people say it, but because I have experienced it. When I got my first call and I had no idea how I was going to pull it off, and everything just fell into place, that is when I got really pumped up and inspired. I knew then, it was really my calling.

I received a call for a TV interview from my first client before I even had my shoeshine stands. Amazingly the money, the shoeshine stand and everything came all as if it was meant to be. Three years later I am still here and things are getting bigger and better each day.

Something about you that would surprise us:

I love shoes??? But, seriously I really do love what I do. It is actually therapeutic. I have an entertainment background as a radio show host and entertainer.  I am a also a web designer, public relations, and marketing consultant for small business owners.

I have shined shoes for over 10 years off and on before I started my own business. I gave Mr. Universe 2009 his very first shoeshine and also shined the shoes of many celebrities.

I have a book in the works called “ Not Just A Stupid Shoeshine Girl” and I also have a new radio show called “Shoeshine And An Interview”.

I really love sharing information with aspiring business owners so if I can share some info or tips feel free to send me an email and I will be glad to share what I can to help you out.

Advice for women entrepreneurs:
Don’t do what you’re told! Listen to what people say but only absorb what applies to you.
Don’t tell everyone what you are planning to do because some people don’t want to see you happy or successful and they will try to get you down and depressed so you don’t keep going. If people try to make you feel bad because you are a mom, a wife, or a caretaker there is nothing wrong with having dreams and going for it and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for wanting more!

If you don’t give something to yourself then you will be no good to anyone else! Ask for help. Even when it seems like it’s impossible, remember its not. Each situation is unique and we all have our challenges, but there is always a way to do things even if that means five mins a day, early in the morning, or late at night when everyone is sleep.

Pace yourself. It’s hard to be patient when you want it now, but nothing happens over night. Nurture yourself, your ideas, and your business so you don’t get burnt out, stressed or depressed. Everything takes time. Never think – If I don’t do it now it won’t happen. It will happen. When everything is suppose to it will all fall into place.

Even if you don’t have any money you can still start a business either by taking a few bucks from a current job, freelancing, or creating your own work until you get what you need to get going. It can be done, trust me. I have had my fair share of road blocks and challenges. If people are trying to stop you maybe it’s because you are going to be really successful. Don’t give up and ask for help!

Your local SBA (Small Business Association) sometimes has some really cool people who can offer advice and resources. You can also call your local trade schools and colleges for an intern to help with odds an ends. It’s a win win they get to learn and you get help getting your goals accomplished.

Don’t let other people discredit you or your ideas. Don’t let people control you it will be the downfall of you and your business. Stand your ground, be yourself. and don’t be afraid to say “No” when you have to.

Website or social media link:

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Women’s History Month Spotlight: Cindy Clemens

Name and occupation:

My name is Cindy Clemens and I am an Entrepreneur/Co-Owner of a Marketing Education Company.

What do you love most about being a woman?

I love being a mother, a girlfriend/partner, and all that those things entail. I love that because I am a women, people I meet are usually instantly more relaxed around me. I am way more likely to get a hug from someone I just met at a networking event than my male business partner/boyfriend (even though he would be just fine with hugs).

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

Not really. Sometimes male customers feel more comfortable talking to my partner, but generally it doesn’t mean they won’t talk with me. My industry tends to me more male dominated (at least where speaking is concerned) but that is okay with me since I am not sure I want to step into that role 🙂 . I can’t really think of any time there was something I couldn’t do or that I was held back from simply because I am a woman.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

I don’t belong to any organizations that are specifically for women. I used to belong to a local networking group that was exclusively for women and I found that as far as business went it was really no different than coed groups. I tend to not really be pro-women, Girl Power, etc. I believe that we should forget about gender, color, and even age and just look at the person for what they have to offer regardless to those other things. So I guess because of this I guess I have never been drawn to groups that cater exclusively to women. Some of the best business things I have been involved in have included men, and on those organizations I would never have met them so…. 🙂

Who or what inspires you most?

My daughter. I know it might sound a bit cliché but since the day she was born I have done everything I could to be the best mom I can be. Almost every single thing I do or say or participate in has her in the back of my head. I aspire to have her be proud of her mom every single day. I don’t think I always accomplish it, but I think I am successful most of the time.

Something about you that would surprise us:

I am not sure. I try to be myself as much as possible most of the time so most people I know are seeing the real me. But for people who don’t know me yet…maybe that sometimes my friends call me the anti-girl? Meaning I am not a “typical” woman, whatever that means. I could care less about clothes. I NEVER wear makeup and really never have. I went through a phase in high school but it didn’t last. Oh, and I absolutely hate shoes! All kinds of shoes. If society would let me go barefoot I would. My ultimate goal in life is to be so famous or rich that I can go barefoot and instead of being called crazy, people would just say I was a bit eccentric. 

Advice for women entrepreneurs:

Just be you. Don’t worry about being a woman or about being one of the guys. Follow your heart and do what comes naturally. You are a woman. If you want to look pretty, then look pretty. If you want to hug people, then hug people. Focus on being the best you you can be and being the best at what you do and the rest will take care of itself.

Website and social media link:

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Women’s History Month Spotlight: Sandi Webster

Name and occupation: 

Sandi Webster is a principal of Consultants 2 Go, an Inc. 5000 management consulting firm that provides marketing and analytic consultants to Fortune 500 and mid-size companies.

What do you love most about being a woman? 

I love how creative I can get in a pinch.  I find men do not have the need to be creative all the time so it takes them a little longer.  If it’s a meal and I know there are people to be fed, I can create a dish from what I have in the pantry.  If it’s a problem to be resolved in my business, I try to think of creative solutions that makes the situation a win/win.

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

In the consulting business, sexism is subtle.  Clients will not say they want a man or a woman for a particular assignment; they simply ask for more resumes.  As a business owner, I have felt that I was not being taken seriously because I was a woman.  One example is I had a client who barely paid attention to my female business partner or I in meetings even though we were the best fit for the project.  We realized that he only spoke to men and brought a male consultant with us for the next meeting.  He directed all conversation to the male consultant even though he did not know the project well.  At the end of the meeting, the client said he noticed we brought our “secret weapon” referring to the male consultant.  We got the assignment and didn’t have directly to deal with him.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

I belong to Women Presidents’ Organization, National Association for Female Executives,  and National Association of Women Business Owners

Who or what inspires you most?

I am inspired by stories of ordinary people who overcame tremendous odds to be successful in life, meaning financial success as well as remaining a nice, well-grounded person.

Something about you that would surprise us:

Most people are shocked that I am an introvert because I am perceived as a people-person.  I speak on panels or to large audiences on a consistent basis, but I’m a thinker at heart.

Advice for women entrepreneurs:

Find a more successful businesswoman to be your mentor, advocate or advisor.  They will take a personal interest in your success.

Website and social media links:  

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