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Looking Backward, Moving Forward

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Over the last year, I have been heartened and encouraged by our flourishing WIPP community. Our members, new and established, are bringing renewed passion and dedication to our mission.

 

WIPP 2019 Year In Review

Across the nation, we are expanding our corporate partners, government agency partners, and strategic organizational partners to reach new audiences and grow our resources. 

 

I'm thrilled to release our 2019 Year in Review report today. Please join Team WIPP and our WIPP Board of Director's Chair Angela Dingle for a discussion on the report at 2 PM ET today during our Monthly Member Meeting.

 

As we move forward to our 20th anniversary in 2021, we are focused on sustaining the momentum you'll see in the report: leveraging our relevancy in the political environment and further evolving our member experience.

 

Thank you to our team, our Board of Directors, and especially all our members and partners for everything you do. I look forward to a great year with all of you!

Tags:  President's Message 

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New Year's Resolutions from WIPP's Advocacy Team

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

It has been two weeks since New Year's Day and you’re not alone if you have broken most or all of your New Year's resolutions. While we put our personal resolutions aside, when it comes to advocacy, our team has made some we are committed to keeping.

Elizabeth Sullivan
  1. Untangle the web of new federal cybersecurity requirements for WOSBs.

  2. Urge the Senate to pass the SBA Reauthorization bill

  3. Celebrate and build upon our FY2020 NDAA wins.

  4. Support Congressional women

Untangle the web of new federal cybersecurity requirements for WOSBs

2020 is shaping up to be the year of securing the federal supply chain. This may sound dry or mundane, but recent changes truly impact every federal contractor of every size. While we did a deeper dive last year, let me provide some context. Our work does not stop when a bill becomes a law. In fact, the devil is in the details, so providing input during the regulatory process is just as important as the passage of the law (read a refresher on the regulatory process). In addition, remember that a proposed or new regulation is called a “rule.” Major agency actions – all regulatory – require our attention. 

 

  • Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) – The final version of this requirement should be published later this month. The CMMC is expected to designate maturity levels ranging from “Basic Cybersecurity Hygiene” to “Advanced.”  While contractors will be required to be certified by an accrediting body, it has not yet been determined. This body is expected to enter into an MOU with the DoD sometime this month. The government has indicated that contractors will be reimbursed for the certification fee through their pricing on contracts to the federal government. However, the current cost remains unclear. CMMC will eventually be required for anyone doing business with DoD – the certification levels will begin to be included in RFIs starting in June and RFPs sometime in the fall. One important point made by Katie Arrington, DoD’s Chief Information Security Officer for Acquisition and Sustainment, was to never post your CMMC level certification on your website, as hackers will then know the types of security you are employing and target accordingly. Although there are still some factors to be determined, this certification is moving full steam ahead – and compliance strategies will be an important exercise for every federal contractor in 2020.
  • Section 889: Prohibition on Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment – Commonly referred to as “Section 889,” this rule seems like it would have nothing to do with small businesses or most contractors, however, it does. It broadly prohibits federal agencies from using telecommunications or surveillance equipment or services from six Chinese companies or their subsidiaries. WIPP Chief Advocate Ann Sullivan took a closer look at the rule. In step two of implementation, a rule is expected to go into effect sometime this year that prohibits any government contractor from using any components or services from these companies. If you are renewing your SAM profile, you will notice a new question asking if you provide covered telecommunications equipment or services in the performance of any contract or subcontract. This action impacts the entire supply chain, covering all contracts. 

Additionally, WIPP members have aired their frustrations for years on the government’s security clearance processes, both in civilian agencies and at DoD. This “chicken and egg” issue continues to hamper WOSBs and other small contractors from reaching their full potential. We hear you and are working to create policy solutions on these issues.

 

Urge the Senate to pass the SBA Reauthorization bill

WIPP has been working closely with the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to make necessary changes to programs benefiting entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Chairman’s draft contains 15 changes that, if passed, will be game-changers for women business owners. This includes positive sole source changes for federal contractors and increasing the ability for WOSBs to access capital.

 

Unfortunately, the Committee postponed action on a comprehensive reauthorization bill after failing to agree on proposed regulatory changes contained in the draft legislation. Despite this setback, you should still contact your Senators, urging action. We even have a letter you can easily download and send. This bill has enormous implications for small and midsize businesses around the country – we’ll be keeping up the drumbeat. One detail to know about this effort is that while it is a new year, it is not a new Congress. The 116th Congress is in its second session, which means that bills introduced in 2019 are still active in 2020.

 

Celebrate and build upon our FY2020 NDAA wins

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a must-pass bill by Congress – authorizing all of the DoD programs on an annual basis. The 2020 NDAA, passed in December 2019, contained three WIPP supported provisions that positively impact WOSBs.

  • The first is the prompt payment for small business prime contractors and subsequently their subcontractors. WIPP has supported permanently establishing an accelerated payment date since the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directive expired in 2017, and this provision establishes a goal of 15 days after proper invoice.
  • The second is uncovering small business participation on multiple award contracts that are designated as best-in-class vehicles. As the spend through these vehicles increases, it is critical to have data on WOSB participation. Therefore, the provision requires the SBA to report the dollar amount of contracts awarded to small businesses.
  • WIPP’s third win was to strengthen accountability for subcontractors. The provision implements a new dispute process allowing small subcontractors to bring nonpayment issues to the agency’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), as well as strengthen the agency’s ability to collect and review data regarding prime contractors' achievement of their subcontracting plans.

Support Congressional women

As we all know, this is a Presidential election year. However, the entire House of Representatives and a third of the seats in the Senate are also up for grabs. Electing women to Congress is important, no matter your party affiliation. Currently, 127 women serve in the U.S. Congress – 26 in the Senate and 101 in the House. The women in the Senate have long been a model for avoiding legislative gridlock. They are often the negotiators who are willing to reach across the aisle to find common ground on major pieces of legislation. Women Members are also the cosponsors on legislation important to women entrepreneurs. For example, our bill to increase investment in women-owned federal contractors, The Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019, is championed in the Senate by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) with Chair Marco Rubio (R-FL) and in the House by Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL). 

 

It is also important to note that the Senate just confirmed a new Administrator to the Small Business Administration, current U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza. We are thrilled to work with her again, as she was formerly an SBA Deputy Administrator and championed issues important to women-owned businesses during her tenure.

 

No doubt, other policy priorities will arise as the year moves forward. Although there are many political pressures that threaten to derail our efforts, we remain committed to the bipartisan mission of empowering women entrepreneurs. Let’s get to work.

 

Tags:  Advocacy  cybersecurity  leadership  SBA  women-owned 

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Ringing In the New Year with New Mass Mods

Posted By Courtney Fairchild, President & Co-Founder, Global Services; WIPP Board of Directors, Vice Chair, Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 7, 2020

This is the second in a series of blog posts on the GSA MAS Consolidation. Read the first blog post.

 

Phase 1 of GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Consolidation was implemented on October 1, 2019. That change had no impact on existing GSA Schedule holders—but as GSA gears up for the next phases in January 2020, contractors should prepare for changes coming their way. 


Courtney Fairchild

Phase II

 

At the end of January, GSA will initiate a Mass Modification (Mod) where all existing contract holders will be instructed to accept the new Terms and Conditions (T&C) under the Consolidated Multiple Award Schedule. Accepting the new T&C will not change any other components of a contractor’s Schedule.


Contractors will retain their contract number(s) and previously negotiated factors such as Basis of Award (BOA) and customer/delivery discounts. However, changes will be made to GSA sites such as eMod, eBuy, eLibrary, and GSA Advantage, to reflect the new solicitation items. Contractors will have the ability to update their contracts, but the Add/Delete SIN option will be unavailable on eMod until early March to ensure that all Phase II Mods are processed first. 

 


Phase III

 

Phase III, anticipated around July, will affect contractors who have more than one current GSA Schedule Contract. Prior to this Mod, GSA will contact affected contractors with consolidation options specific to their held contracts. During this Phase, contractors will work to consolidate their separate Schedules (e.g. PSS and IT) into a single MAS Consolidated Schedule. GSA and contractors will work together to decide how to best consolidate their offerings through the addition/deletion of SINs on the contractor-selected singular surviving contract. 


How to Prepare

 

Prior to any Mod, contractors should:

 

  • Join the MAS community on GSA’s Interact site.

  • Review the new solicitation.

  • Review the new SIN structure via Available Offerings attachment.

  • Ensure contract is up-to-date.

  • Ensure completion of all previous Mods.

  • Review and understand your Pricelist.


If you have questions about the Phase II or Phase III Mod, you can reach out to GSA’s MAS Program Management Office (PMO) at MASPMO@GSA.gov. For questions specific to your contract, it’s best to email your assigned Contracting Officer (CO) directly to discuss. These changes can be jarring, but please remember there is a support system in place to guide you. 

 

 

Want to know more?

View the free ChallengeHER on-demand webinar from Courtney Fairchild

 

 

Tags:  federal contracting  Federal Procurement  Federal Procurement Opportunities 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Amina Elgouacem

Posted By Laura Berry, Friday, January 3, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

 

 

Amina Elgouacem

President

NEOSTEK, Inc.

http://www.neostek.com

 
Amina Elgouacem

What led you to join WIPP?


When I started NEOSTEK in 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Woman Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) certification program was not in place yet. I didn’t have a contracting vehicle and my designation was Small Business, which means I have to compete against the large Small Businesses in IT. 


I came across a ChallengeHer event, with a networking session held at the Department of State, geared toward educating businesses on the WOSB program and how it helps remove barriers for competition and allow women-owned companies to have an opportunity to compete and win contracts in the federal government. 


A year after the WOSB program was put in place, I won my first prime contract at the Department of State; it was competed as an EDWOSB set-aside contract. I decided to join WIPP as a member in 2013 to stay up-to-date with policy affecting my business. I realized that the WOSB program at that time still had limitations compared to other set-aside programs, there was a $4 million cap on competed contracts, and there was no sole source designation. 


I then decided to apply to join the WIPP Leadership Advisory Council (LAC) to provide input to policy affecting WOSBs and to become a mentor to new businesses. Affecting policy and change is bigger than any one of us; it really requires input from all to tell the story and get the support we need to make an impact.

 

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


My favorite part of being involved with WIPP is to collaborate with like-minded, smart women business entrepreneurs who share the same passion to affect change, who share similar stories, and face similar challenges, and who understand that policy and advocacy is the way to get the word out and affect change. 


Also, my involvement with the LAC has given me an opportunity to be a panelist in business events and reverse industry day events to represent the WOSB community, to provide our perspective and experiences, and also to publicly provide advice to business audiences based on my experiences and what I have accomplished so far. Thanks to WIPP, I was interviewed and quoted in a Forbes article on “Study: Women Small Business Owners Being Shut Out of Major Government Contracts.” 


I also had an opportunity to get in front of the House Small Business Caucus last year to share my experience on government contracting, challenges we face, and how policy can help with our members of the Congress. It’s really about being able to give back and affecting change.

 

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


By being a WIPP member as a federal contractor, I get the most up to date information on policy that affects my business. You also have a network of other federal government contractors and entrepreneurs who are willing to help and support you through your journey as an entrepreneur as you grow your business through different levels. You may have questions about policy such as the WOSB Sole Source and how it works and get more detailed information to educate your customers on the program. 


You may find your next mentor at WIPP. Whether you just started your business, or you are outgrowing your small business status and you’re looking for advice on what’s next. You will find another woman who has that experience at WIPP. You will find women who have sold their businesses and who acquired other businesses. By attending events, including ChallengeHer and conferences, I’ve had an opportunity to meet with these outstanding bright women entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and experiences, and it’s just amazing to be part of the experience and hear their story.


What is your proudest moment for NEOSTEK?


It’s hard to select a proud moment when you’re a small business, as every milestone you achieve brings tears to your eyes, because you know you made it and you worked so hard every step of the way to get there against all the odds, so I will choose one. 


I was proud to be on the cover of the CIOReview Magazine and getting a four-page spread on the topic of “Precision Records Information Management to Facilitate Modernization,” after being interviewed and being selected as the cover story, along with being named one of the Top 10 Enterprise Information Management Consulting/Services companies of 2019 alongside IBM. 


The article and the achievement are the culmination of a lot of hard work in order to be known in our industry as the best service provider in Enterprise Information Management serving the federal government sector. This means we are not going back, we are only going forward, we will roll up our sleeves and continue climbing high. It will take patience, and perseverance.



What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with NEOSTEK?


The most challenging part when you grow as a business is planning for hard times and sustainment and being able to ride the wave. You have to plan years in advance and prepare for low times to keep your workforce employed. You can never put all your eggs in one basket and win a deal that is too big to lose. 


When a large business decided to take our subcontracted work with a one-week notice and no reason, we were prepared because we had just won a few new contracts that we worked hard to get for years, but we had to make a tough decision on who to keep. It was one of the most challenging moments because we had the best employees, who were the best performers on that contract, and we were able to keep most of them because we prepared. 

 
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Learn more about Amina and her team at NEOSTEK at http://www.neostek.com
NEOSTEK
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  spotlight 

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The GSA MAS Consolidation: Catalyst for Change in GovCon

Posted By Courtney Fairchild, President & Co-Founder, Global Services; WIPP Vice Chair, Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2019

On October 1, 2019, GSA released their much anticipated Consolidated Schedule. The GSA Schedules Program, which previously included 24 Schedules, is now an overarching Solicitation (#47QSMD20R0001, Refresh #0000) with 12 Large Categories/various Subcategories. 


Courtney Fairchild

When consolidating all 24 Schedules into one, GSA selected the list of major contenders (the Government’s most purchased goods/services) and divided them into Large Categories, which resemble GSA’s Category Management Initiative. Within each Large Category, complementary services/products are further divided into subcategories, and these subcategories are further broken down into Special Item Numbers (SINs). For those of you who have had a contract for years these changes can be overwhelming, but I’m here to break it down for you.


Firstly, goodbye random SIN Numbers, hello NAICS-forward SINs! Up till now, understanding the GSA Schedules meant learning a complicated and arbitrary set of SIN numbers and descriptions. Under the new solicitation, GSA reworked the SIN numbers to align with the much more familiar NAICS code system. Under the legacy solicitation, for example, one just had to know that Perpetual Software Licenses was SIN 132-33, with a NAICS code of 511210. Now, the Software Licenses SIN is just 511210. 

 

 For the most part, there’s a clear, one-to-one correspondence like this between the old and new SINs. For those mappings that aren’t so clear, keep an eye out for GSA’s updated Old SIN vs. New SIN Crosswalk to decipher which SIN numbers you are proposing this go around. 

 

Want to know more?

View the free ChallengeHER on-demand webinar from Courtney Fairchild


Secondly, GSA has broadened past performance options! Previously, contractors had to demonstrate successful past performance by purchasing an Open Ratings, Inc. Report. For companies with pre-existing Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), the Open Ratings requirement was redundant—why get a new report when the Government already has documentation of your performance? GSA listened: now, a Schedule offer requires three or more CPARs, if you have them. And while the Consolidated Schedule solicitation still allows for Open Ratings Reports, as of December 6, 2019, Open Ratings is no longer accepting new orders. If you have an existing, valid Open Ratings Report already, you may use it. Otherwise, offerors who cannot demonstrate Past Performance via CPARs will instead need to provide a Past Performance Narrative containing brief project descriptions and points of contact. 


Thirdly, what happens in the legacy program, stays in the legacy program. Previously, any rejected submission had to be provided and narratively addressed during the next submission attempt. Contractors are now no longer required to disclose pending, current, or rejected submissions. 


Lastly, most submissions now only require only one Relevant Project Experience narrative per proposed SIN, EXCEPT the Large Category IT, which requires two. (Note: some IT Subcategories also have additional requirements beyond that—always check the SIN’s requirements!). Under the legacy solicitation, contractors had to provide anywhere from one to three projects, depending on which Schedule and SIN they were pursuing. This made it hard for younger companies without a long history of Project Experience to get on Schedule. 


I am very excited to see how GSA has listened to stakeholder feedback in this endeavor. I believe this new MAS Solicitation will make the submission process more readily available for industry partners and more user-friendly for government buyers. And with less redundancy and confusion, contractors will see more benefit in getting on Schedule. Change is good.

Tags:  federal contracting  Federal Procurement  Federal Procurement Opportunities 

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Regulations & Rules Update - December 2019

Posted By Advocacy Team, Monday, December 23, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Regulatory Recap: Flurry of Federal Contracting Regulations You Should Know About

 

In the past several months, SBA has taken significant actions on contracting policy that affect small government contractors. They are in various stages—some are proposed rules, some are finalized. WIPP Chief Advocate Ann Sullivan outlined the summaries and status of the actions federal contractors should be following. 



Wide-Reaching FAR Rule Touches Every Government Contractor


In the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress directed federal agencies to stop using products and services from six Chinese companies in Section 889 of the bill, in order to combat national security and intellectual property threats that face the United States. Moving quickly, the FAR Council issued an interim final rule in August to implement this change, which has the potential of impacting all government contractors, large or small. Any government action that affects 139,730 small entities will have wide-reaching effects.


Learn more about how it will directly impact your business.

Tags:  federal contracting  regulatory 

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Advocacy Update: Legislation Introduced to Encourage Agencies to Use Small Businesses

Posted By Advocacy Team, Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The WIPP-supported bill, The Promoting Rigorous and Innovative Cost Efficiencies for Federal Procurement and Acquisitions (PRICE) Act of 2019 (S. 3038)was introduced this week, which addresses agency utilization of small businesses in the federal marketplace. We are thrilled to see this bill introduced by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) and will continue to advocate for its passage. 

 

Read WIPP’s combined letter of support for the bill.


As many small businesses find that agencies continue to be reluctant to use small business programs, this bipartisan bill addresses this prevailing issue by requiring the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to convene the existing Chief Acquisition Officers Council (CAOC) to identify and disseminate best practices in non-defense small business contracting in the federal government. The CAOC would also be required to solicit public input and engage with governmental and nongovernmental experts.

The PRICE Act will positively impact the way in which this valuable information is gathered and shared with the public and across the federal government, as well as provide increased opportunities for small businesses by educating the acquisition workforce on best practices for using small business programs.

 

 

Tags:  Advocacy  federal contracting  Federal Procurement  Federal Procurement Opportunities  legislation 

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Let There Be Peace On Earth

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2019

With the holiday season in full swing, 2019 comes to a close and our advocacy wraps up for the year. Looking back on the year, our policy accomplishments have been at record levels.

AnnSullivan

An unprecedented five WIPP members testified before Congress. WIPP championed legislation that tackles a problem plaguing women-owned businesses—the ability to get equity financing without losing their ability to do federal government work. The Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019 (S. 1981), included in a comprehensive reauthorization of SBA’s programs authorized by the Senate Small Business Committee, also empowers women investors by requiring any equity to come from a majority women-owned equity firm. That is just one of 15 legislative changes in the reauthorization bill supported by WIPP. The House has also passed a number of bills important to WIPP—the major one being H.R. 190 which raises sole source thresholds for women-owned, veteran, and HUBZone companies. 


Capitol Hill is not the only place that requires advocacy. Federal agencies that promulgate regulations are equally as important to our businesses. This year WIPP submitted its views on the DOD’s new cyber security requirement; the FAR Council’s Section 889 rule, which will affect the whole federal supply chain; and the procurement practice known as LPTA (lowest price technically acceptable), which has been a thorn in the side of small businesses. 


Our efforts were reinforced by the members of WIPP that participated in our Hill meeting during WIPP’s National Business Leadership conference in June. WIPP Members spoke directly to the legislative team that was in the process of drafting the reauthorization bill and made a difference. In addition, our members join the monthly policy webinars and the newly formed policy committees which assist us successfully representing women business owners. WIPP’s Board of Directors and Leadership Advisory Council are our eyes and ears on the ground, bringing issues to our attention.


Despite all of these successes, there is an undeniable tension here in Washington and we are not immune to it. It has never been harder to be bipartisan and even the simplest requests become complicated by politics far beyond the subject matter at hand. Putting that frustration aside, we continue to believe that our democracy is the greatest in the world and the men and women who are elected to represent their districts and states come with the purpose of making the world a better place. Although we cannot control the news cycle nor the partisan wrangling that confronts us every day, we push forward knowing that the WIPP mission is worth fighting for. 


My wish for this holiday season is a song written in 1955 which asks for peace on earth. As the words so wisely state – it begins with each one of us. 


Let peace begin with me

Let this be the moment now.

With ev'ry step I take

Let this be my solemn vow

To take each moment and live

Each moment in peace eternally

Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me 

 

Songwriters: Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller 


Tags:  Advocacy 

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President's Message: Saving the Best For Last

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2019

There is a saying in the golf community: It isn't just how you drive, it's how you arrive. As we start the culmination of 2019--the end of not just another year, but another decade--we at Team WIPP are starting to realize this is one year for the record books. 

 

Our flourishing grassroots community, with a central heartbeat network of our WIPP Members, continues to showcase how women entrepreneurs are pivotal to the growth of our national economy. It has been a year when the hashtag #womenleaders meant more than ever before. 

NASDAQ Nov 29, 2019

 

This was front and center last weekend, as our team celebrated Small Business Saturday, including ringing the closing bell at Nasdaq last Friday. This week our team is wrapping up our work on the Small Business Saturday Coalition, an always-growing grassroots network of more than 600 national, state, and local associations across the country and in U.S. territories that support strengthening local economies through the Shop Small® Movement.

 

From the local and regional engagement to our off-the-charts advocacy accomplishments on Capitol Hill, despite the partisan uphill battle, learning to be an effective advocate is a gift that keeps on giving. Please read WIPP Chief Advocate Ann Sullivan's blog post and look forward to next week's 2019 Holiday Recess Guide, where you can take action to ensure your legislators know what is important to women business owners. 

 

Not quite sure what is happening in Congress? For a limited time, we are opening our final WIPP Policy Update webinar, a WIPP Member Benefit, to everyone for free registration. Join us next Wednesday, December 11 to learn what to expect in 2020. 

 

Not quite sure why you aren’t a WIPP Member yet? Non-members can register for the upcoming Managing Your LinkedIn Content in 2020 webinar with featured guest and speaker Jennifer Brown, and you can apply that registration to a new WIPP Membership! And you can always join us for the monthly WIPP Membership webinar to learn more about why you should join and how to leverage your existing membership.  


As WIPP continues to charge into our 19th year of leading advocacy, community, and education for women business owners, I hope you are a part of the journey.


Tags:  President's Message 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Cindy Towers, Esq.

Posted By Laura Berry, Monday, December 2, 2019

Cynthia (Cindy) Towers, Esq.
President & CEO
JURISolutions Legal
http://www.jurisolutions.com
WIPP Member since 2014

 

Cindy Towers

What led you to join WIPP?

I was introduced to WIPP by a colleague at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) when I shared we were thinking about launching a government contracting division of JURISolutions (known then as “JuriStaff”). Suffice it to say, I was “all in” when I discovered that WIPP is a nonpartisan organization focused not only on the federal procurement process, but also on the broader goal of leveling the playing field for all women entrepreneurs through legislative advocacy and education.  
As a WIPP member, what is your favorite part of being involved in the network? 

 

Although there is much to love about WIPP and the WIPP network, I would have to say advocacy opportunities on Capitol Hill has been the most fun and rewarding. WIPP makes it so easy for ordinary business owners to step-up and contribute to the collective impact of the organization. 

 

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

WIPP has been instrumental in helping us grow as a federal contractor thanks to its robust educational platforms. WIPP offers numerous webinars, workshops, and live events offered through the WIPP Education Foundation, WIPP Education Platform, and ChallengeHER events. We also gained access to an amazing network of subject matter experts in the WIPP community, some of whom we hired as consultants. 

 

What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?

Advocacy works! As a woman in business for over 20 years and a frequent mentor to the next generation of women business owners, I have often heard frustrated complaints from women about things like disparity in access to capital, workforce development in STEAM fields, and pay equity. After participating in WIPP’s successful efforts in 2015 to secure sole source authorization for the WOSB program, I can say with confidence that echoing WIPPs message on these issues through Congressional outreach works!

What is your proudest moment for JURISolutions Legal?

Running a company while raising three children seldom leaves me with a shortage of stories surrounding the horrors that can occur when my two worlds unavoidably intersect. While I could carpet a small country with all the notes on my mistakes, one of the best moments in my career to date is the day I actually got it right! 
It was the week of my oldest daughter’s 10th birthday which just happened to coincide with an event my clients were expecting me to attend. What a dilemma! Do I miss the event or do I miss my firstborn’s milestone of reaching double digits?


Then I had an idea: “Honey, how you would like to go to a black tie gala with mom for your birthday?” She was thrilled! She not only received a license to buy a fancy dress, but she was going to get to spend the night in a hotel with mom! Alone!  

 

However, what started out as a simple idea on how to avoid the unbearable guilt of missing my daughter’s birthday proved to be so much more for both of us. In addition to the gala, I took my daughter to some of the educational programming. As I watched her listen attentively and hang on every word spoken by the woman giving the keynote, it occurred to me that this trip was no longer about alleviating guilt. It was about setting the stage for the next generation of successful women. It was about being face-to-face with real life role models teaching her that there is no limit to what women can achieve. 

 

While I have an incredible amount of respect for formal education, that day my daughter and I were taught lessons you just can’t learn in school. For my daughter, she got her first taste of all the opportunities that await her and for me, the flame was lit for my commitment to doing my part in leveling the playing field for women and other diverse groups in business.

 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in business?

While there are challenges every day in business, I believe the one I am most proud of was figuring out a way to not only survive during the economic downturn of 2007 to 2009, but also to prosper. By leveraging the talent displaced by many of our clients, we were able to repackage that talent back to our clients in and innovative and cost effect manner. It was undeniably a win/win for everyone.

 

What advice would you give to a new WIPP member?

The best advice I can give to a new member is to educate yourself on all that the network has to offer and take advantage of as many resources and opportunities to engage as you can. Equally as important is to be ever mindful of giving back and paying it forward to others in the network.  

 

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Learn more about Cindy and her team at JURISolutions Legal at http://www.jurisolutions.com.

JURISolutions

 

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  spotlight 

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more Calendar

1/22/2020
WIPP Policy Update - January 2020

2/12/2020
WIPP Policy Update - February 2020

3/11/2020
WIPP Policy Update - March 2020

4/8/2020
WIPP Policy Update - April 2020

5/13/2020
WIPP Policy Update - May 2020

Featured Members
Amina ElgouacemPresident, NEOSTEK, Inc., Arlington, VA — January 2020 Member Spotlight
Cynthia Towers (Funaro) Esq.President & CEO, JURISolutions, Philadelphia, PA -- December 2019 Member Spotlight

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