Wisconsin WOMEN Reception
Women. Opportunity. Mentors. Entrepreneurs. Networking.
A special reception dedicated to the unique and lasting impact of WOMEN in Wisconsin through their expertise, commitment and purposeful influence on the business climate in the state. This 2nd annual event is the kick-off to 2016 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. Men and women alike are encouraged to attend.
This year’s distinguished speaker will be Dr. Eve Hall, President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin. Dr. Hall was recognized as “Woman Executive of the Year” by Biz Times for her work in reviving the chamber. She will speak from her perspective as a woman and CEO on the challenges and opportunities facing women in today’s business climate. Dr. Hall will also talk about her perception of the progress of women and minorities as business owners – two of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs – and what needs to happen in the state’s largest cities to provide more opportunity for all.
November 2016 Connect
Join us in an evening of getting to know Doyenne members and networking with other women professionals while enjoying food and beverages. Event is on Wednesday, November 9th from 6-7:30 PM (Schedule below)
This event is open to Doyenne Members as well as Community Members. Your ticket price includes entrance for 2 people, so bring a friend to come learn about Doyenne and meet other local women entrepreneurs.
Make sure you bring your business cards, flyers, brochures and a friend!
Susie Younkle is Program Director for MERLIN Mentors, sponsored by University Research Park. In this role, she coordinates the organization’s 100+ volunteer mentors and dozens of active mentor teams that assist early-stage entrepreneurs. Susie also enjoys helping start and grow businesses, with a particular focus on the financial aspects of startups. She currently manages accounting for Murfie Music and The Forward Festival. Susie is actively involved with several non-profit organizations, including the Memorial Union Building Association (Finance Committee Chair), the Junior League of Madison (New Member Committee Chair), and the Madison Public Library Foundation (board member). Susie is a graduate of the Wisconsin School of Business with a degree in Finance and Marketing.
Schedule of Event:
6:30-7:00 Presentation from Featured Member
In our continuing series on Leaders and Influencers, we chatted with Heather Wentler about entrepreneurship as it relates to her roles as co-founder and executive director of The Doyenne Group, and as founder of Fractal, a STEAM enrichment program for kids.
Tell us about The Doyenne Group.
Amy Gannon and I founded The Doyenne Group in 2012 after having the same experience of attending entrepreneurial events around Madison and noticing a lack of women in the room, both as attendees and as panelists/speakers. We knew there are lots of women starting and running businesses in Madison, but we weren’t sure why they weren’t engaging in the ecosystem.
Doyenne focuses on four key areas to support women entrepreneurs of various sectors and stages of running their businesses: 1.) Highlight entrepreneurs and give voice to their experiences, 2.) Build the network within the community so we’re all working towards making Madison the best it can be for women entrepreneurs, 3.) Support entrepreneurs through our programming and partner programs in the community, and 4.) Fund ventures through our Evergreen Fund to provide grants and small equity investments for those just starting out. Doyenne has a mission of expanding to provide support statewide and make Madison one of the top cities in the nation for women entrepreneurs by 2020.
What’s the single most important change you’d like to see to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship in our community?
The biggest change I would like to see in our community is the way an entrepreneur is characterized or stereotyped. In Madison we focus a lot on Tech and Biotech startups, which also means those on track for venture funding. I meet with entrepreneurs every day, and when I ask why they aren’t engaged with certain activities within the community they say it’s because they feel that they “don’t fit in.” Doyenne really emphasizes that being a successful entrepreneur is defined by the goals of a business. It doesn’t matter if your business is something that you want to start and run for the next 30 years or if you’re developing a technology to sell within the next 3-5 years; each business that is launched and grows within our community is a plus for everyone and provides economic impact to move us all forward.
What book do you think every aspiring entrepreneur should read and why?
I don’t have one book that I think everyone should read. Honestly I’m not a big book reader, partially because the traditional idea of sitting and reading a book from cover to cover doesn’t work for me. Each book that an entrepreneur reads (even if it’s only certain parts/chapters) should be meaningful and somehow reflect how it pertains to either what they’re doing or what they want to do. So, I don’t read books but I do read lots of blogs, articles, and research! Knowing your market, trends within the market, your competitors, and the new ideas coming out of them helps keep your company agile and gives you the competitive edge.
What do you find most interesting and rewarding in your position as Founder of Fractal?
Fractal is the most daily rewarding experience I’ve ever had. When I was teaching traditionally I didn’t always feel like I could be myself or engage my students the way I wanted to meet their needs, and when I would try, I would get backlash from others. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever want to go into business, let alone start a business. But the moment that I was able to make the decisions and teach the way I feel best serves those in our community was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I enjoyed teaching again. I love seeing how each participant brings his/her own ideas, approaches, and creativity to Fractal’s programming. Many of the kids I work with are either categorized at school as Talented & Gifted or At-Risk/Remedial, so being able to provide a space where they get to learn from each other on their own terms and at their own pace, in a way that’s meaningful to their lives, is the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever experienced.
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