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WIPP Member Spotlight - Julie Rothhouse

Posted By Laura Berry, Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2019

 

 

Julie Rothhouse
CEO
SynaVoice LLC
WIPP Champion Member since 2015

 

Julie Rothhouse

 

What led you to join WIPP? 

A few weeks after SynaVoice was founded, I attended a ChallengeHER event in Washington, D.C. The women I met ran the gamut from first-time to experienced entrepreneurs all eager to network and help each other.

 

I met Jennifer Bisceglie, a force of nature, who helped me navigate the challenges of starting a business in my first few months and was instrumental in recruiting me to join WIPP. 

 

I was intrigued and excited about the success that WIPP was having in changing the government consulting landscape for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB).

 

I wanted to contribute and give back to the WOSB community to help create a level playing field for future female entrepreneurs.



As a WIPP member, what is your favorite part of being involved in the network? 

I love the camaraderie of being with other women business owners, sharing our experiences, and learning from each other. My favorite part is celebrating successes – from individual milestones, achievements, and recognition to group successes that benefit all women business owners and are covered in the national press. 

Since I joined WIPP, we celebrated the fact that the FAR adopted the set-aside and sole source rules for WOSBs and we cheered when the government met its WOSB goal of 5% in FY2015. I have a profound respect for the amount of persistence and hard work that it took to achieve those milestones, which made the celebrations that much sweeter. I look forward to more successes and more celebrations.



As a federal contractor, what do you gain from WIPP Membership?

It really does take a village to be a successful federal contractor. My participation in WIPP has directly benefited SynaVoice by opening up a world of trusted resources who have provided advice, counsel, and expertise that helped SynaVoice to gain certifications and win contracts.

SynaVoice works with a number of WIPP connections to provide support in key functional areas such as legal support, contract support, GSA schedule proposals, NIST compliance, and proposal pricing. Importantly for me, WIPP membership also provides information about the legislative landscape for WOSBs and provides opportunities for me to add my voice to influence key outcomes.

 

 

What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?

SynaVoice is a communications and outreach consultancy. The name SynaVoice is literally the combination of the Greek root ‘syn’ meaning to bring together and the word ‘voice’, meaning the expression of thoughts and ideas. It is our belief that when organizations speak with one voice and have coherent and compelling messaging, they advance their mission. 

The same principle applies to advocacy. The WIPP Policy Priorities enable us to speak with one voice on issues important to WOSBs. We are a powerful and influential group and we can make a difference.

 

 

What is your proudest moment for SynaVoice?


Undoubtedly, the proudest moment was winning our first prime government contract. The process began months before at a networking event where I met another woman business owner and discussed synergies between our businesses. 

We both followed up and kept the conversation going until we found a Sources Sought to pursue together. The capture process was fairly standard and started with a Sources Sought, then a Request for Quotation followed by Orals and an award. 

From the Sources Sought to award took seven months which is speedy by some federal standards. I was particularly proud of the team’s performance at the Orals where we were well-prepared and confident in our presentation.



What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with SynaVoice?


The biggest challenge we face is that the rules for set-asides and sole source awards differ for the various socio-economic groups. Agencies tend to favor programs where they know the established acquisition rules and practices like the 8(a) program. Once a contract is designated as 8(a), it is close to impossible to remove it from that category. So, WOSBs that have incumbent status as a subcontractor do not get the opportunity to compete for the work when their prime graduates from the 8(a) program, unless the WOSB is also designated as an 8(a).

This puts pressure on WOSBs to seek additional designations which is a time consuming process that detracts from other business efforts. While the issue still exists, we are heartened to know that WIPP is constantly advocating for changes that will address issues like this to create a more equitable procurement process for WOSBs.

 

 

What advice would you give to a new member looking to be engaged in the WIPP network? 

 

There are three easy ways to engage with WIPP: 

 

  1. Attend WIPP events. The events are a wonderful way to network with other like-minded businesswomen who can potentially support your business directly or provide introductions to others who can. 
  2. Stay informed. You can stay informed by reading the materials that WIPP distributes and attending WIPP conference calls and debriefs.
  3. Add your voice. Let your representatives know your position on issues that impact business owners. You can let them know in person or send a letter or email. Engaging with WIPP is good for you and good for your business!


Learn more about Julie and her team at SynaVoice at https://synavoice.com/

 

SynaVoice

 

Each month, WIPP highlights a member who has leveraged WIPP membership to grow their business, engage with elected officials, and/or elevate the mission of WIPP and the visibility of women-owned businesses.

Tags:  membership 

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