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Women in Business seminar emphasizes networks and emotional intelligence

Event featured two speakers and a question-and-answer period for a panel

June 08, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail
  • A panel featuring, from left to right, Hagerstown Planning Department Director Kathy Maher, Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Women's Business Ownership Ana Harvey, Sulchek & Moore, LLC Accountant Patricia Weneck, Sulchek & Moore, LLC CPA Brenda Manspeaker, Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission Agriculture Marketing Specialist Leslie Hart, and McLaughlin Law Group Attorney Content McLaughlin answer questions at a seminar regarding women in business at Hagerstown Community College Friday.
By Caleb Calhoun, Staff Writer

Ana Harvey, director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership, offered advice Friday on how women can expand their businesses during a seminar at Hagerstown Community College.

“There is an incredible speed at which women are starting businesses in this country, and we want to make sure that they are prepared to grow them,” said Harvey, who was the keynote speaker for the seminar titled “Women in Business: Making Time to Focus on What’s Important.” 

“In 1979, 5 percent of privately owned businesses in the United States were owned by women. Now it’s 30 percent,” she said.

 “I want women to learn that they have to actually access bigger networks than what they have,” she said. “We tend to rely on people we know, but most of the time that’s probably not where we need to be.

We need to see where the money is and stretch a little bit out of our comfort zone.”

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Harvey, who worked as a translation consultant from 1991 to 2000, started a multilingual communications company called Syntaxis with clients that included Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. She was also president and chief executive officer of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The free seminar was put on by HCC, PNC Bank and the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. Held in the Career Programs Building at HCC, the seminar featured two speakers and a question-and-answer period for a panel that also included Harvey.

Clear Spring resident Debbie Strubel, 48, owner of Alpine Engraving & Embroidery, said she was at the seminar “to pick up any tips or contacts for my business.”

“I’m just hoping to pick up any information I can to build it, and I’m also looking for sources to manage other aspects of my business,” Strubel said.

Strubel, who has owned her business for 14 years, said she wants to find out about ways to benefit from being a female business owner.

“So far, I haven’t seen the benefits of being a minority or woman-based business,” she said. “Maybe this will help me see some benefits.”

Hagerstown resident Brenda Carpenter, 49, who co-owns a trucking company called ODC Transfer with her husband, Dan, said: “I’m open to all kinds of things .... It’s very beneficial that people can get together at events like this and shape ideas.”

It was the first seminar for Carpenter, who said such events can be very helpful for women in business.

“It’s nice to network with other women business owners,” she said. “We’re all in the same boat with this economy.”

After Harvey spoke, PNC University Training Manager Kathy Tomasello addressed the attendees. The panel discussion took place after that, moderated by Telemundo General Manager Nicole Quiroga.

Tomasello talked about emotional intelligence and its importance in a business environment.

“Emotions are not gender specific; they are people specific,” she said. “It is important to understand and control your emotions.”

The panelists, in addition to Harvey, included Sulchek & Moore, LLC Certified Public Accountant Brenda Manspeaker, Sulchek & Moore, LLC Accountant Patricia Weneck, McLaughlin Law Group attorney Content McLaughlin, Hagerstown Planning Department Director Kathy Maher and Leslie Hart, agriculture marketing specialist for the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

More than 80 of the 90 people who registered for the event attended, according to Stacey Collins, PNC Bank client and community relations manager.

“We put a target out there hoping to reach 50 people,” she said. “We were thrilled to see the number of people who registered.”

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