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Cybersecurity Certification Keeps Chugging Along

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, September 9, 2020
The last time I wrote about Department of Defense’s (DoD) Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) was back in early March when the DoD released their final version to industry. The pandemic hit shortly after and turned things upside down – except for the rollout of CMMC, which has continued to move forward. 
Elizabeth Sullivan
So, where does everything stand now?

A major step has been taken in moving this process along – training started at the end of August for certification assessors. These 73 assessors, however, are part of a “provisional program” and won’t actually be assigning the companies they evaluate a final CMMC level. Think of these initial assessments as more of a dry run, with the goal of providing feedback to the DoD and CMMC Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB) on any issues that need to be resolved before the real evaluations begin. As a reminder, the body providing the training – the CMMC-AB – is separate from the DoD. The AB is currently operating with a volunteer board and will eventually be a fully staffed organization. 

This step comes in the wake of a rift between the DoD and the CMMC-AB over a new contract that would supersede their existing Memoranda of Understanding (MOU). The tension between the two organizations over the new agreement is centered around responsibilities, which some AB board members felt was undermining their authority. The DoD has said this agreement is a new no-cost contract would provide a more binding relationship between the CMMC-AB and the Department. While this was slated to be resolved by the end of August, stay tuned for the final result.

In the meantime, CMMC requirements showed up in the General Services Administration’s (GSA) $50 billion 8(a) STARS III contract, where GSA indicated that it “reserves the right” to require certifications for small businesses awarded slots on the federal IT vehicle. Although CMMC is only a future requirement for the approximately 300,000 DoD contractors, it has been predicted that adoption of the certification could spill over into civilian acquisitions. The move by GSA is a prime example of this, but is also not very surprising – DoD was one of the biggest buyers on the predecessor contract, STARS II. 

So, where does this leave small business contractors? With a lot of remaining questions. Below are a few that come to mind: 
  • As companies try to prepare for this assessment, who is credible to help them identify gaps to reach a readiness level? There has been a myriad of bad actors popping up, claiming they can guarantee a certain CMMC level with their analysis (which they can’t). 
  • Once the CMMC-AB accredits assessors and their certified third-party assessment organizations (C3PAOs), companies can start to get assessed. What is the actual cost for companies get this assessment? Will all of the accreditors charge the same amount?
  • Once assessors are ready, what is the order in which the 300,000+ businesses will be assessed? Is there a cue? Will it be based on existing contracts? Are small businesses going to pushed to the bottom of the list?  

According to DoD, all contractors will have to be certified by 2025. Advocacy remains crucial on this issue, and WIPP’s Virtual Symposium on Cyber Resiliency from September 31 to October 1 is focusing on these important policy changes for WOSB contractors. Register by September 17 to take advantage of Early Bird pricing and to be eligible for MatchMaker Meetings with almost 20 government agency partners. 



Tags:  cybersecurity  federal contracting  WIPP Works In Washington 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Jeanette Hernandez Prenger

Posted By Laura Berry, Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Jeanette Hernandez Prenger 
President & CEO
ECCO Select
WIPP Member Since 2012


Join us for the October Community Connection webinar on October 21 at 2 PM ET to hear Jeanette’s discussion with WIPP leadership.


Jeanette Prenger

This is an unprecedented time. How has the global COVID-19 pandemic affected your business?

We have been extremely fortunate in how we have navigated through this time. I must admit, the first couple of weeks were unsettling. Some of our clients were drastically affected by the shutdown. Their own client portfolios consist of industries that were negatively affected in a very severe way. Their return to normal will take longer than some others. We had quite a few contractors released during the first couple of weeks that were within those industries hit the hardest. 

We worked with a sense of urgency and knew which clients would have an increased demand due to the pandemic. We focused on those industries and offered our clients several options to help support business continuity. 

The pandemic has enabled me to look back at similar challenges we faced after 9/11. One of the first things we did was to look at how quickly we could reduce variable expenses. I was so naïve about the consequences of how hard 9/11 impacted our economy. I thought we would be back to normal in a short period of time. I should have reduced headcount and gone through additional cost-cutting measures much sooner. 

When our country shut down due to the pandemic, we immediately knew that we would have to go on a drastic cost reduction exercise. We did not need to reduce headcount, but we did reduce expenses, and that enabled us to be in a better cash flow position to survive this economic environment for a much longer period.  

I am proud to say that we are tracking better than budgeted for the year due to our sense of urgency. We have also seen how well we can work from home as we have maintained or exceeded productivity prior to the pandemic. Like other companies that chose to allow associates back in the office, we offer a choice of where they work as well as flex time. For those who come into our office, we practice social distancing and follow local guidelines to provide a safe and healthy environment.  

How has WIPP helped during this time? 

The emails and webinars have allowed us to stay connected and informed with what is going on across the country, as well as within our government. Knowing what our elected leaders are contemplating as well as understanding bills that have passed and policies coming out of D.C., allows us to identify how we are affected and if we need to do anything different in our operations. Having the ability to hear how this affects us as women business owners is a huge asset in helping us make business decisions.

Thank you for being a leader in our community, including sitting on the Board and LAC, testifying before Congress, and referring new members. How has WIPP’s advocacy and updates assisted you in developing your business or becoming more profitable?

I love meeting other women business owners. I learn so much from their stories, successes, and challenges. We have formed relationships with a couple of other WIPP members and we continue to look for businesses who complement our offerings and can be potential teaming partners.  

I read and distribute the advocacy and updates communicated to our WIPP members to my executive team. They glean applicable content and share with their organizations. WIPP communications have been timely and have motivated me to become better acquainted with my elected officials so that they know how their decisions affect entrepreneurs. If I did not have access to this information, I would be unaware of key decisions or conversations that could negatively impact women-owned businesses or could be unfavorable to entrepreneurs.

What are some common hurdles you see for women business owners? 

One of the hurdles I see for women business owners is accelerated growth and access to capital. We do not see very many women-owned businesses with exponential growth unless they take on investors. I have questioned my own growth strategy and struggled with the thought of bringing on investors to fund mergers and acquisitions. Do I self-fund when money is so cheap? Do I try to continue to grow organically? I would love to see how my story compares to other successful businesses. 

Would you share your proudest moment as a business owner?

A lot of proud moments come to mind when I think about being in business for almost 25 years. I think my proudest moment as a business owner was when we moved into a commercial building that we purchased. So many of my associates complimented us on our investment. They viewed the purchase as our commitment to growing a legacy business with a culture that promotes continuous improvement and excellence in all that we do. 

There is a sense of security that comes from being in a company that works like a family. We work hard to do our best, not only for ourselves but for our families, this business, and our community.

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

Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to new people. Find others in your industry and view them as potential partners, not competitors. 

This organization is an asset for women business owners and should be part of your portfolio of membership organizations. The information, data, and educational webinars support our businesses in understanding the political environment, policies, and decisions that affect us. It is also a great networking organization that encourages professional and business development opportunities.


ECCO Select

Learn more about Jeanette and her team at ECCO Select at

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:  leadership  membership  spotlight 

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19th Amendment: Change Comes from Persistent and Sustained Advocacy

Posted By Sidney Switzer, WIPP Digital Strategy Specialist, Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Sidney Switzer
Today our nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment. In celebrating this anniversary, WIPP looks back to the advocacy that was instrumental to women’s suffrage. The 19th amendment was preceded by not by years, but by decades of advocacy efforts. 

In the 1870s, suffragists began showing up to polls only to file lawsuits when they were turned away. One now famous suffragist, Susan B. Anthony, was arrested and convicted in 1873 for attempting to vote in the 1872 election.Though these instances brought attention to the cause, the United States Supreme Court still ruled that suffrage was not a universal right amongst citizens in 1875. Congress also didn’t pass the bill for women’s suffrage. 

In total, the bill was proposed and rejected every year in Congress for 41 years from 1878 to 1920.

Adopting a different strategy, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) targeted suffrage from a state level. This strategy proved to be efficacious. By the time the 19th Amendment was federally recognized, over half of the United States already had granted some form of women’s voting rights. 

In 1913, suffragists organized one of the first major demonstrations and protest parades down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. This was the first public women’s suffrage demonstration to happen in the Nation’s Capitol. It was also a visible moment when women suffragists adopted and allowed segregation to subvert the achievements of women of color, including activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett

But the movement continued. In 1915, Mabel Vernon and Sara Bard Field gathered 500,000 signatures on their petition to Congress for women’s suffrage.

Finally, in 1920, the 19th amendment was ratified and officially certified that American women have the national right to vote. Only eight days after the 19th amendment was ratified, 10 million women joined the electorate. 

The lesson learned from the 150-year struggle for women’s suffrage is the absolute necessity for advocacy in creating social and political change. No one suffragist, organization, bill, or demonstration caused the 19th amendment to be ratified. It was the persistent dedication and continued advocacy that slowly but surely granted women this constitutional right.    

In commemorating this anniversary, WIPP is reminded of our almost 20 years of advocacy for women business owners. We have seen change, but we are far from parity. With sustained advocacy, one can only wonder where we might be in 2120.

Tags:  Advocacy  election  history 

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Section 889 and the U.S. Government Supply Chain

Posted By Laura Berry, Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Elizabeth Sullivan

Amidst the continuing pandemic and negotiations on another round of COVID-19 relief in Congress, one thing remains the same for all federal contractors: Section 889 implementation.

Section 889 is a name that does not mean much to the average person, but carries a lot of weight for federal contractors. This is a section in the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that seeks to eradicate Chinese telecom from the entire U.S. government supply chain. Why write about it now? The part that impacts federal contractors of all sizes (Part B) goes into effect this month. 
Earlier this year, the Department of Defense (DoD) held a public meeting to hear from industry. Of the salient points made, one resounding theme was that definitions will mean everything for implementation. However, industry hasn’t been able to share any definitional clarity because of the rule release delay. The FAR Council published their interim rule in July – Part B goes into effect before the comment period is over, which means contractors will have to comply with the rule starting on August 13, 2020. Public comments can be submitted until September 14. 
Here are the five key components for small/midsize contractors to pay attention to.
You’ll have a new box to check in SAM.

Contractors will need to annually check a box in SAM verifying that they do not use any covered telecommunications equipment or services. A contractor can choose to say yes, they do use some of these banned equipment/services, which would require an offer-by-offer representation for contracts and task/delivery orders under IDIQs. It is important to know this ban applies to any equipment, system, or service that uses the covered equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any of a contractor’s systems. Think this rule does not apply to you? Think again – acquisitions of commercial items (including COTS) and contracts at or below the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) must also adhere to this prohibition. 

Definitions are key.

Definitions are critical to the implementation of this rule, which defines words such as “backhaul” and “roaming,” but leaves contractors with uncertainty over what constitutes a covered technology. FAR 4.2101 covers some of these definitions, however there was no further clarity in the rule regarding who is considered “any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities” of the five listed companies (Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua). It seems problematic that a small business contractor is expected to research all of the subsidiaries and affiliates of these companies to make sure they are not utilizing any prohibited components. Note to government: why not just provide a list? 


Another definitional bone I have to pick is the meaning of “reasonable inquiry.” The rule says that a company is compliant if a “reasonable inquiry” by the company does not show any use of the prohibited equipment or services. So, what exactly does that mean? According to the rule, a reasonable inquiry is something that is designed to uncover any use of these covered telecommunications equipment or services and does not need to be an internal or third-party audit. While I am not a lawyer, I can imagine that every procurement attorney would advise contractors to have some type of legitimate audit of systems in case compliance risks arise.

The waiver process is laborious.

Although a waiver sounds reasonable and gives contractors added time to comply (until August 13, 2022), it doesn’t seem designed for small or midsize contractors. In order to get a one-time waiver, the head of an agency has to grant it. Before this happens, a senior agency official for supply chain risk management has to discuss the waiver with the Federal Acquisition Security Council (FASC). And consult with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to make sure conditions are met. And provide notice to the ODNI and FASC 15 days before granting the waiver. And notify appropriate Congressional committees within 30 days. The FAR Council does acknowledge that this process could take a few weeks and advises to enter at your own risk because “agencies may reasonably choose not to initiate one and to move forward and make award to an offeror that does not require a waiver.” A quick data point: there are 387,967 companies registered in SAM, 74% of which are small. That would mean if every small company decided to submit an offer for a federal award and sought a waiver, that would be 287,096 waivers. 

Six contractor actions are necessary for compliance.

A chunk of the rule outlines contractor compliance recommendations. After reading and re-reading these six actions in the rule, I’m left with the same feeling: small contractors need something more detailed than just general guidelines. Generalities like “read and understand the rule and necessary actions for compliance” and “corporate enterprise tracking” sound great, but what exactly does that entail? During more normal times – let alone a pandemic – building out a compliance program can be complicated, not to mention costly. It is important contractors have the detailed information to get it right.

Finally, I see dollar signs.

The rule completely underestimates the time it will take contractors to implement and remain compliant with this rule. A whole section is dedicated to this analysis – and quite a few estimates left me scratching my head (you can find these in Section III, Part D). Companies aware of the rule have been spending months trying to prepare and continue to evaluate the components in their government offerings. An important part of complying with the rule to highlight is that a company cannot use any of these prohibited systems/equipment, even if they are not used in its federal contracts. That means no split networks or having one system for U.S. federal business and a difference one for commercial or contracts with other countries. I see more dollar signs.

The FAR Council is seeking public comment on the rule – and federal contractors should respond. In Section IV of the rule you can find a list of questions the Council wants industry to answer, and it is worth taking a look at them. One that is also found in the beginning of the rule is whether an expansion of the prohibition should be made to include all company subsidiaries and affiliates. Feedback is also requested on subjects like challenges, costs, and insight into existing systems.
One thing all contractors, regardless of size, have in common: they want to be compliant so they can compete. Given the uphill battle small and midsize contractors face when it comes to compliance with Section 889 and many other contracting requirements, advocacy on this issue is critical. WIPP continues to elevate this critical information to policymakers, asking them to consider the needs of women-owned businesses to comply with this new requirement. 

Tags:  Advocacy  federal contracting  leadership  regulatory  WIPP Works In Washington 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Tina Patterson

Posted By Laura Berry, Monday, August 3, 2020
Updated: Monday, August 3, 2020
Tina Patterson

Tina Patterson


Jade Solutions, LLC

Member Since 2015


Join us for the August Community Connection webinar on August 19 at 2 PM ET to hear Tina’s discussion with WIPP leadership.


This is an unprecedented time. How has the global COVID-19 pandemic affected your business? How has WIPP helped during this time?


WIPP has been a reliable source to help me identify information and resources to maintain my company’s viability and make sure my company is compliant and current with changing regulations and requirements. 

The proposal and grants management support line of business as well as project management line of business pivoted quickly to an online format. While much of our proposal management work was previously virtual, now the number of stakeholders participating has increased.

My company’s Alternative Dispute Resolution line of business has been impacted by COVID-19: previously scheduled arbitration cases have been postponed to a future date, parties in cases assigned to our docket after March 2020 are asked to present first-choice dates and second -choice dates. The second-choice dates are requested in the event laws prevent the parties from convening in person and the hearing needs to be rescheduled. 


What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?


The biggest takeaway for me from WIPP advocacy actions is to respond when organizations such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) requests input from the public. The more input received the more likely the issue is to get attention and be revised or reconsidered. 


I take the same approach when I receive requests from my Senators or Representative. Since I became involved in WIPP and have attended WIPP hosted webinars, advocacy updates, and conferences I have better insight into how proposed legislative changes impact my business, including how to identify federal agency priorities, along with the people, processes, and organizations to answer my questions and provide accurate information. 


What are some common hurdles you see for women business owners? What has changed since you became involved in WIPP?


What has changed since I became involved in WIPP is my mindset about my business, how I spend my time and those who I surround myself with. I’ve always had mentors and to some extent sponsors. I pay close attention to the health of these relationships and as a result realized that a few relationships had run their course. I have also found colleagues who could loosely be described as a “mastermind group” or “accountability group” as an antidote for founder’s fatigue.


Some common hurdles I see for women business owners are 

  • establishing market competitive rates or fees;
  • being ambivalent about requesting what is needed or desired;
  • being reticent about seeking a mentor or sponsor because they believe they aren’t ready or fear that the request will be denied; and
  • learning to say “no.” 

I can speak to these challenges and hurdles, because I have faced them all. I have a desire to help other businesses succeed, yet I found myself being too flexible with clients whose actions or behaviors were warnings I ignored or gave the organization a second chance when the engagement should have ended. I’ve learned that by releasing a client that is not a fit, space is created for a client that is a fit. 


Another challenge was clearly articulating payment terms and expectations. One of the company’s first clients didn’t pay for services for 90 days – the delay negatively impacted my company for months. We are now clear about payment expectations and the consequences of nonpayment.


Would you share your proudest moment as a business owner? 

One of my proudest moments as a business owner was just last year when I found out Jimmy Rhee, Maryland Special Secretary of Small, Minority, & Women Business Affairs wrote a letter in support of my application to receive the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) award from the Capital Region Minority Supplier Diversity Council (CRMSDC). 


The day I received notification that my company was an award recipient I was attending a conference where Secretary Rhee was speaking to the conference attendees. I later approached the Secretary to thank him and share the outcome with him. He not only remembered my company, he also took the time to discuss with me his ideas to increase opportunities to engage small, minority- and women-owned businesses. 


What is your favorite part of being involved in the WIPP network? 

My favorite part of being involved in the WIPP network is that the network has many accomplished, intelligent women business owners who are knowledgeable, approachable, and ready to assist. Many will take time from the busy schedules to answer a question, provide advice, or offer a word of encouragement.


Connect with other members who you meet – find out what they do and let them know what you do. The connection may result in an opportunity to collaborate to respond to a solicitation, a referral source, or resource to help your organization be more effective or efficient. 



Is there anything else you wish readers would know about WIPP?

WIPP is focused on keeping its members informed about policies and legislation that may impact women-owned businesses in all sectors regardless of size. This is not a “ladies who lunch” organization. The staff is approachable, resourceful, and responsive.


Jade Solutions
Learn more about Tina and her team at Jade Solutions, LLC at
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:  leadership  membership  spotlight 

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President's Message - Better Together

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Our shared experience with this global pandemic has shown our community is better together today than we have ever been before. As we reflect on the first six months of this year, I invite you to join our conversation on what the rest of this year -- and the future holds for us.

Candace Waterman Join the entire WIPP team on Wednesday, July 22 at 2 PM ET to hear a recap of what we've accomplished, and to get an exclusive preview on the opportunities we are working on for the rest of 2020.


With more than a dozen different advocacy efforts over the first part of the year, we are still working toward ensuring women and minority business owners are heard in recovery efforts.

  • Up Next: Congress is in recess this week, but expect more information on another stimulus package and pushing for blanketed PPP forgiveness. Read Ann Sullivan's blog post for more.



Our membership has never been stronger! Thank you to our Board, our Leadership Advisory Council, and our returning members. Thank you to a host of new members who are joining our their voices with ours to drive sustainable change.



With more than a dozen free webinars available to the public, we are also offering exclusive member education this summer. We welcome our members and the larger community to access our online catalogs.

  • Up Next: Join us on Wednesday, July 22 to learn more about the exciting upcoming changes to the WIPP Education Foundation.

Tags:  President's Message 

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Top Five Reasons to Support Advocacy Now More Than Ever

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, July 8, 2020

If you have been attending WIPP’s Intersectionality Series webinars on COVID-19, it should be pretty obvious that WIPP is on top of Congressional and federal agency actions related to the pandemic that continues to plague us personally and professionally. Not as evident, perhaps, is the role of advocacy beyond reporting the latest news. We give you five reasons why your support for WIPP is important.


  1. There’s More to Come. The government isn’t finished providing assistance to businesses.  The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) remain key to retaining employees and providing capital but expect another stimulus bill later this summer.
  2. If You’re Not at The Table, You’re on the Menu. In other words, there are consequences to sitting on the sidelines. If you aren’t represented in decision-making, you are vulnerable to adverse consequences—you are at risk. WIPP is at the table.
  3. Interpreting Federal Actions Requires Context. A perfect example of this are the actions the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury issued on PPP. Much was made of an audit of loans over $2 million — Treasury guidance (see question #31) issued in response to high-profile public companies who got the PPP loans. Unfortunately, small companies got scared of a government audit and returned money they needed and should have kept. This could have been avoided, had they understood the intent of the rule/Congress.
  4. Access to Decision-Makers Requires Consistent Attention. Advocacy requires constant communication with a consistent message. It is not all that different than a business relationship—you need to remind people who you are and what you offer. Cold calling during a crisis is unlikely to be effective. WIPP’s Advocacy Team keeps women business owners front and center so Congress turns to WIPP for its point of view during a crisis. Big difference.
  5. A Combined Voice is Far More Effective Than One Voice. The mission of WIPP is to provide a voice for women business owners. Its message resonates with policymakers because we represent women from all over the country, from different political views and every size of business. Your individual message to Congress is important. But as Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.”


Tags:  Advocacy  federal contracting 

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Pivoting Is A Process

Posted By Julie Rothhouse, Founder SynaVoice SOL; WIPP Board of Directors , Monday, June 8, 2020

When the character Ross from the TV show "Friends," screams to “Pivot, Pivot, Pivot," it is funny because the visual makes it clear that no amount of pivoting is going to get the couch up the stairs. When businesses pivot, they are hoping for a different outcome. For SynaVoice, the catalyst for our business pivot was the crisis caused by COVID-19. With a desire to help in some way, business as usual was not an option for us.


SynaVoice SOL

Although it happened at warp speed, there was a process we followed to launch SynaVoice SOL. SynaVoice SOL (Summer OnLine) is a pop-up camp developed to provide high school students with a stimulating summer experience they can enjoy from their own homes, because quarantine. Each one-week session focuses on a specific area of interest or topic that will engage high school students and expand their horizons. The daily sessions end at noon each day, because summer!

Step 1: Narrow the Funnel

In order to add the most value, we first had to identify an industry and audience to target. We identified three broad areas where we thought we could make a difference: housing, healthcare, and education. We held a series of networking conversations with business owners and subject matter experts to brainstorm ideas where we could leverage our expertise in communications and training to provide solutions. After the conversations we used a process of elimination to narrow our focus to education and specifically, creating imaginative online educational content.

In the broad category of education, we focused on 8th-11th graders. Teenagers in these grades are tech savvy, spend a lot of time online, need engaging activities, and were not getting the attention that the graduating seniors understandably received. Importantly, we felt we understood this cohort as several team members have teenage children.

Step 2: Fill the Gap

Once we had the industry and target defined, we again held brainstorming sessions with a broad group of business leaders and experts in online content, remote teaching, and high school curriculum development. Through our discussions we identified an emerging gap. Traditionally, kids in this age group went to camp, got a job, traveled with family, or hung out at home during the summer. In an attempt to control the rapidly spreading virus many programs and plans were cancelled - with the exception of hanging out at home. SynaVoice SOL, a virtual summer camp, was created to fill the gap caused by the COVID-related cancellations. 

Each one-week camp session features a unique topic presented by a nationally-known expert. Our goal is to provide exposure to new ideas, concepts, and skills for high school students to inform their eventual college, career, and life choices. Without time to do formal research, we informally tested the idea with parents, educators, and students and honed the concept based on their feedback. 


Watch a preview of SynaVoice SOL Graphic Narratives Camp


After the initial cancellations of the summer programs, many camps and programs retooled and provided online options. We were keen to differentiate ourselves from the rapidly expanding online offerings which, for the most part, were translating in-person content to online delivery. We knew we needed to provide topics and presenters that would engage the campers and capture their imagination, staying true to our mission to create innovative, educational content. All of our sessions provide a unique take on a fun and interesting topic, like our True Crime session which keys off the passion that some kids have for true crime stories and tv shows. We engaged Dr. James Diamond, a professor and criminal lawyer, to provide a taste of criminal law and highlight some of the cases he worked on. 

Step 3: Launch the Program

In rapid succession we developed a logo, began recruiting counselors, finalized the session offerings, built a commercial website, announced the launch, and purchased social media advertising. SynaVoice SOL was lucky in that many friends and partners embraced the vision and supported us by bartering in-kind services for sponsorships and the opportunity to participate. This was extremely helpful in keeping start-up costs down.

Step 4: Continue the Pivot

We are passionate about our mission to provide innovative content for 8th-11th graders. Our journey is not complete as we still need to sign up campers and provide flawless execution of the camp sessions on the Zoom platform. I am confident that with the help of our partners and presenters we will deliver an extraordinary experience to the campers who enroll in SynaVoice SOL this summer. But, the pivot is not complete, because we will need to shift again for the school year in September.


Learn more about Julie's pivot during our

Monday, June 29

Position, Pivot, Profit webinar.

Register online today


Julie RothhouseJulie Rothhouse is CEO of SynaVoice LLC and Founder of SynaVoice SOL. She has been a WIPP member since 2015 and sits on the WIPP Board of Directors. Read more about Julie’s business at


Each Monday, WIPP aims to feature a guest blog post from a member on tips and tools for business success. To submit a blog post, please email

Tags:  guest post  membership 

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President's Message: Our Lives Depend On Our Actions Now

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, June 3, 2020


In the eyes of some, it may not be prudent for .  

Candace Waterman

Candace Waterman WIPP President & CEO


To those I say: to be silent is to be complicit. We know that social issues left unaddressed turn into civil issues and into business issues. Over the last three months, we have witnessed a global pandemic disproportionately affect minority communities. At the same time, our country is finally grappling with the reality of the Black experience and systemic racism. Now is the time for honest conversations and collaborative plans as we work towards addressing these issues, then healing as a community and as a country.


This Monday, WIPP welcomes our entire community to join in a conversation on how business owners and employers can best support and elevate the voices of Black and brown people in business.


Register for

Monday, June 8

2 PM ET / 1 PM CT / 11 AM PT


At WIPP, our legacy is steeped in leveling the playing field. Every day, my team and I work to provide valuable advocacy actions, community resources, and accessible education to the women’s business community to ensure their sustainable success. With the current state of the country, it is more than apparent that we need to engage in a larger conversation—what WIPP is doing to be part of the solution and not part of the perpetual problem of systemic injustice.


Today and moving forward, WIPP will continue to listen to our members, corporate and agency partners, as well as our strategic partner organizations, to acknowledge and take action when injustice demands it.


Our lives literally depend on it.


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COVID Fatigue – What About All the Other Issues

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, June 3, 2020


Ann Sullivan

Ann Sullivan WIPP Chief Advocate

The newness of COVID-19 has worn off and, though little attention has been paid to other issues Congress must address, those issues haven’t gone away. Although congressional staff and Members are working remotely, business is still being conducted.


I would be remiss if I did not mention the potential for social justice reform, due to protests we have seen over the last week. However, there has been no federal action as of this writing.


Here’s what to expect:


Funding the Government for FY21

The government calendar for funding has not changed. The fiscal year still ends on September 30 and Congress must pass appropriations legislation to continue to fund the government. Although the schedule has been pushed back due to the pandemic, House leadership says it plans to pass all of its appropriations bills by August. As usual, the Senate schedule is less ambitious, but the Senate Appropriations Committee plans to start deliberations in late June.


Authorizing Defense Department Programs

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) guides every defense program and sets priorities for the following fiscal year. It doesn’t fund the programs—it leaves that to the appropriators but authorizes and recommends the funding levels. Often included in this bill are changes to small business contracting programs that are deemed important to the defense supplier base. The Senate Armed Services Committee expects to have completed its bill by the end of June/early July. The House Armed Services Committee schedule follows roughly the same timeline.


Tackling Infrastructure Funding

In addition to roads, trains and ships, water infrastructure is also on the list to fund and authorize. Although it was initially thought to be a massive recovery initiative, it now appears the Congress may tackle this piece by piece. Either way, a number of the programs expire unless Congress takes action by September 30.


Extending Tax Cuts

Tax deductions and credits have expiration dates. Unless Congress extends them, they expire. Action is necessary to keep them intact and the list of expiring tax cuts since 2018 is pretty long. .


Although COVID-19 related actions will continue to be front and center for the Congress, it cannot neglect its other duties. Let’s not forget that there is an election coming in November, which includes the entire House of Representatives, one third of the Senate, and the Presidency.


The Congress, adapting to the ban of large group gatherings, will spend a significant amount of time campaigning for the November elections. In the end, the government still needs to be funded, and the need for a strong defense and services taxpayers expect from their government do not go away in a pandemic.


Despite the public dishearteningly partisan rhetoric, the Congress will quietly work together to get things done.


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