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President's Message - Sharing Facts About Women Entrepreneurs

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, March 4, 2020

2020 marks the historic 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote. In an election year, it has never been more important to discuss the economic powerhouse of women entrepreneurs.
6 Facts About Women Entrepreneurs
Kick off Women’s History Month by downloading our infographic Six Facts You Need To Know about U.S. Women Entrepreneurs, which includes examples of current legislation and member action on important topics. Share with your community leaders, your industry colleagues, and most importantly, your Members of Congress.

 

WIPP is always committed to making our members the center of our work. We debuted the infographic during the monthly WIPP Community Connection webinar, where we discussed the importance of voter education for all women businesses. I hope you'll join us to learn more about what we're working on for all women business owners across the country.

 

 

Tags:  President's Message 

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The WIPP Connection - March 2020

Posted By Team WIPP, Wednesday, March 4, 2020
WIPP Connection

Connections make our community stronger. It all starts with a simple hello. Check our WIPP Connection column each month on the WIPP In Action blog and our monthly email update. Our goal is to ensure you have the information to join us where you are and make connections with WIPP leadership, staff, and other members!

 

We hope to see you sometime this month at one of these events:

 

**Note: Some events have been removed from the calendar due to recent public health alerts. Please stay tuned to WIPP's Calendar of Events for up-to-date information. 

 

 

Tags:  events 

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DoD’s CMMC is Moving Full Steam Ahead With or Without You

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Read a quick refresher on CMMC. The final model for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) came out earlier this year. So, what’s next for businesses? 

Elizabeth Sullivan

 

Let’s talk certification.

Now that version 1.0 of CMMC was released – the final version– DoD is moving full steam ahead. The “accreditation body” has been formed, which is an independent, non-profit group that is responsible for developing the training and assessment standards for the certification. The next step in the certification journey for DoD is forming a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the accreditation body, which will outline the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties. Finally, “accreditors” – of which there are none currently – will be responsible for evaluating businesses and assigning them a CMMC certification level. If all of this third-party stuff leaves you scratching your head, just know that DoD is outsourcing the accreditation of over 300,000 contractors with plans for substantial oversight.

Substantial questions remain for contractors. One of the biggest is the timing of the certification rollout. The Department has said that they will issue 10 “pathfinder” solicitations that require various CMMC levels, including a few that will require level 4 or 5 certifications. Since these will be substantial contracts, if you are a small business tapped to subcontract on one of these – when will you get certified? Will there be some type of cue, where the biggest companies go first? Or will it be ranked by the amount of anticipated work? This remains to be determined.

 

Let’s talk levels.

While the CMMC levels have been refined throughout the DoD’s drafting process, it is important to know that there are five levels. Any contractor, regardless of the type of work they do that wants to do business with DoD will need at least a level one. Level one is the most basic cyber hygiene, which has some noteworthy differences from NIST 800-171. The Defense Department has said that most small businesses only need a level one. But I wouldn’t take that assessment at face value. It is important for small/midsize companies to determine the appropriate level they want to prepare for based on the work they do, or plan to do, for the DoD. For example, if your company handles any Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) you will need at least a level three. By the way, these levels will also apply to subcontractors. Which brings me into the next section of this article – unknowns. 

 

Let's talk unknowns.

I was recently on a panel at the Women Leaders in Defense & Aerospace Law & Compliance Conference, where I shared the stage with the other two sides of the CMMC equation – a lawyer and prime. One of the things that I learned is that concerns span all business sizes—small businesses aren’t the only ones with questions. First and foremost is how the DoD will handle CMMC certification levels for subcontracted work. There has been a lot of conflicting information about this component flying around, but the latest and greatest (as of the time this is published) is that the program managers for both the DoD and prime contractor will work together to determine the appropriate CMMC levels for the components of subcontracted work.

Another unknown is how a company can dispute an assigned level by an accreditor. While the accreditation body will have some sort of mechanism to address this, DoD’s involvement in this process is unclear. This is an important question because certification levels will be assigned for a three-year period. Finally – and this is a big one – the total cost for contractors remains to be seen. DoD has not yet provided any specific information on the cost of obtaining the certification. Some good news is that something that is known (and has been for a while) is that DoD will not seek levels retroactively – meaning that no current contracts will be modified to require a certain certification level. All of this is to say, stay tuned.

 

WIPP recently offered a member webinar, "The Ugly Truth about CMMC," hosted by WIPP Board Chair and cybersecurity expert Angela Dingle. We intend to continue to provide the most updated education on this certification roll-out.


Moral of the story is – as a federal contractor, it is time to pay attention if you aren’t already. Although CMMC is only for the DoD supply chain, in the future it could impact civilian agencies as well. So, get ready – it’s moving full steam ahead with or without you. 

 

Tags:  cybersecurity 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Sue S. Tellier

Posted By Laura Berry, Monday, March 2, 2020
Sue Schweim Tellier 
President
JetCo Federal Supply
https://www.jetcofederal.com

Sue Tellier

What led you to join WIPP? 

I learned about WIPP through a random Google search. I was looking for a deep, clear understanding of the status of the federal WOSB program. I think I joined within five minutes of landing on the website. 

My first year, my involvement with the organization was very superficial. I read emails and clicked through to the website. When I renewed my membership, I realized how much value WIPP brought through webinars and a level of involvement I wasn’t maximizing. I applied to become part of the Leadership Advisory Council, and I quickly became a super-fan. 

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

This is a tough question to answer. I get actionable ideas or new knowledge from every WIPP webinar, so I really value the educational aspect. 

But I think the face-to-face interaction with WIPP members trumps this in terms of “favorites.” Talk about inspiring. I’ve met brilliant, creative women through WIPP – and they have been generous with ideas.
 

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

One of WIPP’s Policy Priorities is “Create parity for WOSBs in federal contracting.” And these aren’t just words. This priority is achieved through the deliberate development and implementation of strategic tactics. In addition to making a difference in Washington, D.C., WIPP communicates their activities effectively to the membership, allowing us to become an educated extension for the talented Advocacy Team.

Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint. WIPP earned their positive reputation for advocacy. It’s evident that decision-makers on the Hill respect WIPP’s opinions and ability to mobilize WOSB contractors. 

What is your proudest moment for JetCo Federal?

Watching my employees embrace our company wide values as a filter. This year, so many things clicked into place for our growing team. We went from 4 to 14 employees in one year, which can really devastate the culture of a small business. With great deliberation, our leadership team developed our “what, how, and why” statements into concise bullets of greatness. 

JetCo Federal supplies warehouses with consumables, and we solve shipping and logistics challenges. I get it – this does not sound glamorous. 

But every JetCo employee understands that every truckload requires a win. It HAS to be on time. We HAVE to re-win the client’s trust with every successful shipment. EVERY employee – from sales to operations to support – understands that to our client, it’s not just a box. It’s not just a label. It’s not just a pallet. Each one of these can shut down a line. I love seeing the intensity on the part of our employees in TRULY embracing this. 

I have other small things related to our growth too. I’m proud that we are a small business with ISO 9001:2015 certification. I’m super proud that I’m moving this month from a 5,800 square foot facility to one that is 16,100 square feet. But I’m most proud of my employees embracing change and our company's purpose.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with JetCo Federal?

When my company was young, we dealt with the normal scrappy start-up challenges. I remember at that time longing for the days when the company was well-established enough to feel sustainable. Our company is a teenager now – we are 13 years old in 2020. The challenges associated with growth carry more weight. 

My biggest challenge was me. We created and achieved strategic goals. We grew. Blah, blah, blah. But I was in the way in terms of connecting each leadership team member and each employee on how they contributed. 

As a result, I was not challenging my talented employees to stretch, and I was not giving them a sense of purpose. We changed that in our 2020 strategic planning, and the difference is profound. 

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

Get involved. Assume your fellow WIPP members want to be helpful and generous with their knowledge. And share your talents with the organization. It makes us all stronger. 




JetCo Federal Learn more about Sue and her team at JetCo Federal Supply at https://www.jetcofederal.com.

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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WIPP Advocacy Roundup - February 2020

Posted By WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

WIPP-Supported Women’s History Museum Bill Passed the House

 

The Smithsonian Women's History Museum Act (H.R. 1980) passed the House and is now headed to the Senate. The bill establishes a council that will make recommendations to the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Museum on the planning, design, and construction of the museum. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY); Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA); Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). Read WIPP’s March 2018 letter of support for the bill


Meeting with New SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza


Team WIPP Meets Administrator CarranzaOn Wednesday, February 19, WIPP President & CEO Candace Waterman and WIPP Chief Advocate Ann Sullivan met with new SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. The Administrator knows WIPP’s work from her previous position at the Deputy SBA Administrator under the President George W. Bush’s administration. It was great to see an old friend and update her on our policy priorities. We were happy to hear that women entrepreneurs are a priority of Administrator Carranza. 

Participating in GSA’s Small Business Roundtable with the Federal Acquisition Service

 

Candace Waterman, Ann Sullivan and WIPP Advocacy Team member Elizabeth Sullivan were invited to participate in a roundtable held on Wednesday, February 19 at GSA with the Administrator Emily Murphy to discuss small business participation in Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) and new cybersecurity requirements. WIPP raised the issue of WOSB participation in GWACs and urged Administrator Murphy to consider including WOSBs in any new GWACs.  


WIPP Speaks on Behalf of Women Entrepreneurs at 2020 Small Business Forum Meeting

 

In January, WIPP attended the 2020 Small Business Forum Meeting to discuss the challenges of using the section § 199A deduction. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 included the new Internal Revenue Code § 199A to bring some parity for pass-through entities (S-Corps, LLCs, partnerships).

 

 WIPP advocated for the 20% deduction now afforded to pass-through entities during the 2017 tax reform and spoke at the roundtable, calling for the deduction to be extended to all pass-through entities, not just those in specific industries. 


Five-Year Lookback Not Yet Allowed in SAM

 

WIPP-advocated for the Small Business Extension Act, a change allowing WOSBs to utilize a five-year revenue average for the purposes of size determination, which went into effect in January 2020. However, this change has not yet been reflected in the System for Award Management (SAM). WOSBs have found that when renewing their size status in SAM.gov, the only option is to input a three-year average.

 

 We advise WOSBs seeking to re-certify size status under the new five-year rule to work with legal counsel to document their size until SAM is updated and asking for the ability to change to a five-year revenue average when SAM is updated. 

Tags:  Advocacy  GSA  legislation  regulatory  SBA  taxes 

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ChallengeHER Rewind: Five Tips to Successful Federal Contracting

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

You never know what you will learn if you just ask. In October 2019, I moderated a panel of successful women business owners at ChallengeHER event in Washington, D.C.

AnnSullivan

 

The panelists were all experienced federal contractors:

  • Rebecca Askew, CEO and General Counsel of Circuit Media
  • LaShonda Bracey, CEO & President of Health-Works and ASAP Training and Course Development
  • Denita Conway, CEO & President of PROVEN Management, LLC
  • Anjali Ramakumaran, CEO of Ampcus Inc.

Below are five points they raised that bear repeating:

 

1. Hearing “no” is a challenge – not a deterrent.

We discussed this in the context of finding capital to start/grow the federal business. These women heard “no” from banks, investors, friends, and family. But they kept trying and pieced together the necessary capital to succeed.

 

2. To succeed requires a single focus.

The panel agreed that their laser beam focus played a big part in their success. They told stories of disappointments and complications with federal contracts, but their focus kept them on the road to success.

 

3. It only takes one person to open a door so keep knocking.

These panelists established relationships with buyers in a number of ways. Doors were opened by colleague referrals, connections though organizations, industry days and friends not necessarily by requesting meetings. These women did not prejudge whether a person may be able to help – they assumed everyone could help.

 

4. Pay attention to the smallest details – paperwork can trip you up.

They learned the hard way – dot every “i” and cross every “t” in RFP responses. Respond to everything the government requests. Anything less will result in disqualification.

 

5. Expanding within an agency is an essential part of a growth strategy.

This group is not content to rest with one agency contract. They see a contract as an opening to expand their presence in sub-agencies or a pathway to a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA).  

 

 

Tags:  ChallengeHER 

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Measuring Our Impact: The WIPP ACE Survey

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Over the last two years, we’ve identified Advocacy, Community, and Education (ACE) as the guiding core principles for our WIPP member value. Now we want to measure that impact in the WIPP ACE Survey.

    Karen R. Jenkins
  • Our advocacy efforts have created a generation of women business owners claiming their seat at the table and using their voices to create change. We have testified before Congress, helped draft legislation, and provided regulatory input.
  • Our community engagement means members, stakeholders, and partners have access to industry leaders and resources. Our members are the heart of our organization, and we provided an ecosystem to support them.
  • Our education programs have helped thousands of women business owners across the country scale their businesses, connect with decision makers, and access resources in the federal contracting and commercial landscapes.

This is a great time to join WIPP and get involved in our next era. We invite you to our WIPP Member Meeting on Wednesday, February 19 to learn more about the ACE Principle and our vision leading up to our 20th anniversary next year. 

We are only as good as the value we provide to you. As we enter this new year and new decade, we need your help to measure our impact and gain your input on some exciting new services we plan to offer.

 

Please take a few minutes of your time to give us invaluable feedback by responding to our survey.

 

 

Tags:  President's Message 

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Four Steps Congress Should Take to Help WOSBs in the FY2021 NDAA

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2020

If you participate in the monthly WIPP Policy Update webinars, you will likely hear us reference the National Defense Authorization Act, or more lovingly known as the “NDAA.” As it remains one of the last “must pass” bills – due to the Constitutional requirement that Congress provides for a common defense – each year presents an opportunity to advocate for changes that will benefit women-owned businesses. So, here is what we think should be included this year: 

Elizabeth Sullivan
  1. Expand investment in women- and minority-owned companies.
    Currently, women-owned businesses receive around 2.8% of all venture dollars. Due to WIPP’s championship of this issue, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019 (S. 1981), which would allow women-owned contracting firms to take investment by women-owned equity firms and still meet the “51% unconditionally owned and controlled” standard set by SBA to participate in the WOSB/EDWOSB program. Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL) introduced an identical bill in the House (H.R. 3633). The same barriers apply to minority-owned businesses. These bills allow minority-owned federal contracting firms to take investment by minority-owned equity firms.

    This legislation is groundbreaking on both sides of the equation. It opens up a path for investment in women-owned businesses who are government contractors, as well as strengthens women investors. Women in investment firms tell us that this change in the law would strengthen their ability to secure greater equity positions within their companies and women-owned companies looking for investment will be incentivized to seek out women-owned investment firms. The same holds true for minority investments under this legislation.

  2. Increase the share of contracts awarded to small businesses


    WIPP fought and won sole source authority for the WOSB program in 2015—gaining parity with other federal contracting programs. While the fight has changed in 2019, the drumbeat is the same: parity. Currently, the sole source dollar limits for WOSBs are $4 million and $6.5 million (manufacturing) over the life of the contract. While this might sound like a lot of money, in the $550 billion federal marketplace, $4 million over 5 years is small potatoes. We have also heard from WOSBs that even though agencies are interested in awarding sole source contracts to them, these dollar limits are too small.

    A shift in government buying calls for a shift in rules for sole source contracts. As government buying continues to trend toward buying through large vehicles and moving away from direct contracts, the ability for small companies to win sole source awards is more crucial than ever. Increasing the award amounts for sole source contracts is extremely beneficial to the small business contracting community, however, it is equally as important to streamline and simplify rules for awarding these contracts. It is not uncommon to hear from small contractors that are told over and over again by the federal workforce the same thing – awarding a sole source contract is too confusing and/or time consuming. 

    WIPP supported H.R. 190, which passed the House and gives all small businesses including WOSBs greater opportunities through sole source contracting. This bill raises the dollar amounts for sole source contracts to $4 million and $7 million to be awarded each year, instead of over the life of the contract. A proposal in the Senate would also raise these thresholds to $8 and $10 million each year. 

    With respect to simplification, WOSBs, HUBZones and SDVOSBs require that a contracting officer must justify through market research that not two or more offers at a reasonable price are expected. The contracting community has interpreted this as “you are the only company in the world that performs this work,” leading to exceedingly few sole source awards. While the missions of these programs are all different, one thing is crystal clear – putting these contracting programs on equal footing with respect to this rule would ease the burden for the federal government and the businesses trying to meet its agencies missions. 

  3. Give small businesses more runway.
    You may be thinking you have heard this one before. That’s because a significant WIPP-supported legislative victory was achieved in 2018, giving small firms more “runway” to transition out of the small business set aside program and into full and open competition. The law allows businesses to average revenues over 5 years rather than the previous three years for purposes of determining size standards. In fact, the law finally went into effect earlier this month. Despite the expanded time this gives many small contractors, there are some that are still left in the lurch – businesses whose work falls under employee-based NAICS

    These companies face the same challenges – bumping out of their size standards and struggling to compete with billion-dollar companies in the full and open marketplace. Therefore, increasing the length of determination for industries measured based on annual average employees would give small companies a little more runway to succeed when they become midsize companies. Using a five-year standard for all industries this would create parity for small businesses in every industry and promote sustainable growth of small businesses.
  4. Share best practices for contracting with small businesses.

    WOSBs continue to find that agencies are reluctant to use small business programs. Recognizing this challenge, WIPP worked with the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to introduce The Promoting Rigorous and Innovative Cost Efficiencies for Federal Procurement and Acquisitions (PRICE) Act of 2019 (S. 3038), which addresses agency utilization of small businesses in the federal marketplace.

    Introduced by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), this bipartisan bill requires 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 PRICE Act would positively impact the way in which this valuable information is gathered and shared 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. 


As we promote these changes, look for action alerts and other ways to engage from our team. Since it is an election year, there will be limited opportunity to advance this legislation – all the more reason why the NDAA is so important. These four changes would go a long way to help the government meet its 5% goal of contract awards to women-owned companies.

 

 

Tags:  Advocacy  Congress  legislation  regulatory 

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The WIPP Connection - February 2020

Posted By Team WIPP, Sunday, February 2, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Karen R. Jenkins

Connections make our community stronger. It all starts with a simple hello. Check our WIPP Connection column each month on the WIPP In Action blog and our monthly email update. Our goal is to ensure you have the information to join us where you are and make connections with WIPP leadership, staff, and other members!

 

We hope to see you sometime this month at one of these events:

Tags:  community  membership  networking 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Karen R. Jenkins

Posted By Laura Berry, Saturday, February 1, 2020
Updated: Friday, January 31, 2020
Karen R. Jenkins

Karen R. Jenkins
President & CEO
KRJ Consulting, LLC
https://krjconsulting.com

What led you to join WIPP? 

It was important for KRJ Consulting, LLC (KRJC) to become engaged, in a thoughtful way, to an organization with a strong network with like-minded small business owners, who share similar challenges and successes, and WIPP was a perfect fit.

Being a member of the organization has been critical in understanding the issues that impact our business now and in the future. Most of all, WIPP advocates for its members, provides a blueprint for us to proactively champion for our businesses, and keeps us engaged on a regular basis. Joining such an impactful organization was an imperative for KRJC. 

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

My favorite part of being involved in the WIPP network is interaction with and getting to know such an incredible and accomplished group of women who are as passionate about the policies that impact their businesses as they are about growing their organizations. The level of thought, ideas, and action is a powerful inspiration. 

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

The thing that I’ve gained from WIPP membership is access to federal decision makers – from contracting representatives to policymakers – that have informed my company’s direction. Whether it is participating in WIPP webinars, including last year’s advocacy briefing about proposed rule changes, or participating in the sessions on Capitol Hill, my membership has helped shape our macro-level view of how we need to be connected to those who are making decisions that widely affect women-owned businesses like KRJC. 

What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?

My biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions are two-fold: Paying attention to the briefings and updates before final decisions are made by lawmakers in my state and in Washington, D.C., and gaining insight and suggestions from WIPP leaders who are consistently advocating for its members. 

What is your proudest moment?

The proudest moment for KRJ Consulting was when the U.S. Small Business Administration selected me as the South Carolina Female Small Business Person of the Year in 2019. At that moment, all of our hard work, tenacity, and the challenges we overcame were recognized by local and state SBA leadership. The experience was such an honor and has made me even more committed to growing KRJC and expanding our community involvement, especially with other small business owners in Columbia. 

 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome?


Our biggest challenge came about four years ago, when my father, for whom I was the primary caregiver, passed away after a long illness. Shortly after, my son suffered a life-threatening ruptured brain aneurysm just after graduating from high school. He was in rehabilitation for several months in another state, and I chose to manage my businesses at the rehab facility, while commuting home for meetings and outreach to potential customers. 

We lost a lot of revenue during the two family crises, but during my son’s rehab, I committed to rebuilding KRJC. From regularly calling contracting officers and small business specialists to searching for and responding to as many RFPs as possible, I was determined that my business survive. 

As a result of consistent outreach and advocating for KRJC, we have quadrupled our revenue since 2016. While this was a very difficult challenge and a stressful time, thankfully, my son has recovered and KRJC continues to grow financially and we have been able to increase our team each year. 

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

I would recommend that new members be fully ready to engage when they affiliate with WIPP. Whether attending the annual conference, serving on issue committees that are of particular interest, and participating in topical webinars, active participation means getting the most out of your membership! 



Learn more about Karen and her team at KRJ Consulting at https://krjconsulting.com.

KRJConsulting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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more Calendar

7/8/2020
WIPP Policy Update - July 2020

9/9/2020
WIPP Policy Update - September 2020

10/14/2020
WIPP Policy Update - October 2020

11/11/2020
WIPP Policy Update - November 2020

Featured Members
Michelle KantorMember, McDonald Hopkins, Chicago, IL — April 2020 Member Spotlight

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