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President's Message - Robust Grant Programs Needed In Next Wave of Relief

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2020

This week I am celebrating my second anniversary leading WIPP, and this year also marks 15 years working to elevate women-owned businesses at the regional and national levels. During this celebratory time, we are also in the midst of a crisis that has already left an indelible impression not only because of how much it changed our lives, but also for how quickly this community has come together like never before. I have never been more proud to stand together with our partner organizations, corporate partners, and especially our stalwart members who continue to define the calm in the storm. 
Candace Waterman
I do not need to tell you that this pandemic has taken an enormous toll on women-owned businesses. Our recent impact survey showed more than 71% of the respondents reported a decrease in business. Approximately 73% of our survey participants had applied for federal funding, the majority listing either the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs. On a more positive note, 89% of respondents have been able to continue operations during this pandemic as of April 15.

Another survey-based study, "Women-Owned Businesses & PPP Survey Results," found that “women-owned businesses asked for and received less money than national averages” in the first round of PPP funding. In addition, “women relied heavily on large national banks and, when they did, their likelihood of obtaining a PPP loan plummeted.” We are watching the progress of second-round funding through the PPP and EIDL and will keep you updated.  

In the coming weeks, more relief is expected. Given the urgency of capital, we are asking Congress to consider revamping the programs to separate them into loans and grants rather than a combination of the two. While small businesses will need loans with generous terms in the recovery stage of this pandemic, they need grants now. 

Joining your voice with WIPP is necessary to make an impact on Capitol Hill. Contact your Representative and Senators today and share our letter urging small business grants rather than forgivable loans. If you have questions, please contact the WIPP ACE HelpDesk at membership@wipp.org

 

 

Tags:  Advocacy  leadership  President's Message 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Nancy Aber Goshow

Posted By Laura Berry, Friday, May 1, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Nancy Aber Goshow
Nancy Aber Goshow Partner
Goshow Architects
WIPP Member Since 2003

 

Join us for the May Community Connection webinar on May 20 at 2 PM ET to hear Nancy’s discussion with WIPP President & CEO Candace Waterman.

Mission and Vision:

 

Goshow Architects is one of the largest woman-owned architectural firms in New York City. We design healthy, sustainable energy efficient buildings and spaces for the public good and positive social impact for communities and individuals. Our mission is to create architecture that inspires people, collaboration, sustainability and innovation by building for the public good and designing for the future.

Goshow Architects has four specialty design teams: 
education, infrastructure, housing, and transportation. 

  • High schools, community colleges, universities;
  • Water supply and wastewater treatment facilities;
  • Market rate and supportive housing;
  • Ferry and rail terminals.

You are based in New York City. Tell us about how you’re handling the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. 

Right now, our education and housing projects are on temporary pause, 77% of our revenue sources are shut down, 60% of our active projects paused. 

Thankfully our infrastructure and transportation projects are increasing in number and moving forward. We are architectural design subconsultants to six large international engineering firms and two large transportation engineering firms, so these second-tier opportunities will keep us busy until our prime contract projects start up again. 

The US Postal Service has stopped delivering mail to our entire midtown Manhattan office building. As a business that depends on payment checks sent through the US mail, my once a week visit to the post office has become a nightmare. I can only go once a week, between 1 and 3 p.m. I stand in line with 40 others, for 45 minutes to request our office mail for the past 7 days, then I wait again for another 30 minutes while our mail is retrieved from a remote storage room in the building. The air conditioning is not on, so everyone is masked and sweating. The post office and my office is only a 3-mile round trip walk from my home. I walk to my office twice a week. Taking a taxi, a bus or the NYC subway is not an option I would consider.

Our design work has continued without interruption because we are very experienced and efficient working remotely. Our design work is produced by cloud-based collaborative software, and it’s more efficient for our clients. Having an office in New York City has forced us to develop remote working solutions to get us through prior events like Superstorm Sandy, extended snow days, and subway strikes. But those events only lasted a little more than a week.

Working remotely is not a challenge for our staff. It’s the duration of the New York City pause and the physical separation of our collaborative teams that is beginning to wear on all of us. We miss working with each other on a daily basis. We hold weekly All Company Team, (ACT) Meetings on Zoom. Seeing each other helps to fill the person-to-person interaction we miss most in our collaborative design process. We are also holding Zoom cocktail parties as another way to connect our staff.

 

Goshow Architects is celebrating 40 years of business. WIPP will be celebrating 20 years next May. What led you to join WIPP in 2003?

I met WIPP co-founders Barbara Kasoff and Dr. Terry Neese while we were trying to move the Women's Equity Contracting Act forward in the early 2000s. I am a successful WBE and DBE government contractor for New York State and New York City and joined WIPP to learn about how to qualify, find, and win federal government contracts as a woman-owned business. At that time, WOSB firms were winning less than 3% of the federal spend [of the 5% goal]. 

 

Can you tell us any stories about what it was like to be part of the founding membership at WIPP?


It was very exciting and thrilling to walk into congressional hearings to give relevant testimony and actively participate in federal policy hearings. It was even more exciting and thrilling to see legislative outcomes we initiated and language we contributed.


Early on, I testified to a Congressional committee on size standards for federal contracting, which at the time had not been changed since 1976. I went to Capitol Hill and the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) was against changing the standards because, of course, there were other firms that stood to profit from keeping the standards the same. We ended up moving the standards for architecture from 3.5 million to 7.5 million. 


I also love that WIPP is truly nonpartisan. In 2008, we sent WIPP delegations to the Democratic and Republican party conventions. I remember attending a convention with WIPP Chief Advocate Ann Sullivan as well as Barbara Kasoff and Mary Schnack, who have both since passed away. We were all watching the live broadcast of Chris Matthews. All of a sudden, there he was with a microphone in my face asking me what I thought about Sarah Palin. Thankfully, I had been taught by Mary how to do a PR interview pivot, and I answered that “At Women Impacting Public Policy Public we are nonpartisan. Anytime a woman is running for office, that’s a good thing.”

 

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


Working with other like-minded business owners in the ongoing fight for increased procurement opportunities for women-owned businesses. After 12 years of pushing the federal government to promulgate the rules for the WOSB/EDWOSB program in the SBA, we finally achieved our goal. I am a proponent of the program; however the EDWOSB designation has not helped me to win any contracts. We still have a long way to go to get our fair share of the federal spend. 

Through WIPP, I also learned all about how to receive an 8a designation. I won two 5-year IDIQ Contracts with the GSA and USACE as an 8a architecture firm. I ended up presenting for the ChallengeHER program, helping other women-owned businesses learn from our challenges.

 

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

Particularly for federal and state contractors, join at a WIPP level that offers you opportunities to join the Procurement Committee. Attend various industry day events at agencies and represent WIPP at those industry days.

As someone who has been in business as long as I have, I tell all businesses who become certified as a WOSB, EDWOSB, DBE to develop a sound marketing strategy to leverage their certification.


Any other advice for women-owned businesses in the current challenging climate?

This too shall pass. This is the worst we’ve been through, but in the 40 years we’ve had the firm, we’ve survived more than seven downturns. The bad part is we’re on the downturn. But the good part is that when the upturn kicks in, profitability will run ahead of expenses. Once expenses start to increase and catch up, profitability will be more difficult to maintain. So we all need to be ready to take the best advantage of the economic growth that will come after the pandemic is over.

 



Goshow Architects

Learn more about Nancy and her team at Goshow Architects at https://www.goshow.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 Member Spotlight - Michelle Kantor

Posted By Laura Berry, Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2020
Michelle Kantor

 

Michelle Kantor

Member, McDonald Hopkins

 

WIPP Member Since 2013

 

 


What led you to join WIPP?

 

The majority of my clients over the past 30 years have been women-owned businesses. I have a passion to help them succeed and grow. WIPP is, by far, the premiere national advocate of women-owned businesses. I am a member of the board of directors of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), a regional partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) as well as general counsel to the Federation of Women Contractors in Chicago (FWC)WIPP has immensely helped both the WBDC and FWC with keeping apprised of federal laws and regulations that can impact women-owned businesses. 


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

 

Meeting awesome women business owners and playing a part in advocating for them through my association with WIPP. 


As a law firm, how does McDonald Hopkins help federal contractors?

 

McDonald Hopkins Federal Government Contracting and Procurement Group helps federal contractors in numerous ways. I lead the group and am thrilled that we have the expertise and capacity to handle our clients’ contracting and business needs. We frequently help clients with corporate transactions including buying and selling their companies, succession planning, Novations, federal bid protests, size protests and NAICs code protests, SBA 8(a), WOSB, SDVOSB, HUBZone, WBE, MBE certification and appeals, contract review and negotiation, FAR compliance assistance, business ethics and EEO policies, requests for equitable adjustment and claims, suspension and debarment proceedings, contract disputes, SBA Mentor-Protégé agreements, joint ventures and teaming agreements, CPAR appeals, and contract disputes.

 

 

What are some common hurdles you see for federal contractors in your work? 

Common hurdles I see for federal contractors are trying to stay ahead of competition, access to capital for small businesses, and understanding SBA and federal acquisition regulations and compliance.

 

 

This month you’ll be hosting a WIPP Education Platform webinar on succession planning. Why are you passionate about that topic?

 

I have represented countless large and small women-owned businesses and other small businesses throughout my legal career. I have watched them put their life blood into their business to grow and build a legacy for their families and employees. While these business owners are technical experts in their fields, few businesses really have the time or key knowledge to plan the succession. 

 

Many women-owned businesses then end up simply closing up or selling for less than market value because they did not have a good plan in place. Being able to help business owners to plan and provide them good legal and practical advice fulfills me.

  

 

What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?

 

My biggest takeaway from WIPP is never give up. Women can and do make a huge difference in shaping the policies and future of our nation. Take advantage of the wonderful benefits of your WIPP membership. 


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

 

The members of WIPP are so fortunate to have such top-notch leadership with Candace Waterman and her outstanding professional and very knowledgeable staff.


 

McDonald Hopkins logo

Learn more about Michelle and her team at McDonald Hopkins at https://mcdonaldhopkins.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 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 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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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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WIPP Member Spotlight - Denita R. Conway

Posted By Laura Berry, Friday, November 1, 2019
Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2019
Denita R. Conway

Denita R. Conway

President & CEO

PROVEN Management

https://www.provenmgmt.com

WIPP Member since 2015


What led you to join WIPP? 


I have been a government contractor since my firm Proven Management was conceived. I decided to join WIPP for various reasons; however, the primary reason was to gain an understanding of how policies can and will impact my woman-owned small business. Further, it was important for me to immerse myself with women who share a common interest in business advancement and equality.

 

As a federal contractor, what is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?


Hmmm, there is so much. I think the highlight is being a part of change. I love the idea that we are in the forefront of what is happening and to have our voices heard. One of the best feelings is knowing that I’m a part of the organization that achieved the Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification program. That was collaboration at its best.


Every voice counts. Working together is the strength of WIPP. The WIPP leadership is engaged and committed to seeing equality and fair practices. I have learned so much as a business owner about economic policy and current legislative initiatives. I have placed what I have learned to practice and I am convinced that WIPP has had a huge impact on my business growth and overall vitality. 


You were highlighted as a success story in your region’s 2019 SBA Resource Guide.

What was that like? 


Monumental. When I received the call that I would be featured as a success story in the 2019 SBA Resource Guide, it was surreal. Being recognized as a “Business Woman to Watch” and for the opportunity to share how the SBA has helped shape me and my business is exactly what owning a government contracting business is all about. I was delighted to be featured, but more importantly, I was thrilled to share my story. 


What is your proudest moment for PROVEN?


It’s so hard to choose one moment - so, here are my highlights: First is when I was voted as SBA 2018 - Washington, DC Small Business Person of the Year. Followed by the days my daughters decided to join the PROVEN Management team to ultimately help me create a legacy for future generations. 


However, the true moments of sheer joy come when our firm has the opportunity to assist agencies solve their problems. There’s no denying that overwhelming immediate feeling of humility and accomplishment.


What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with PROVEN?


The biggest challenge was understanding how to run and maintain a successful business in a changing political climate, while also operating in a male-dominated industry. Through it all, I have learned to accept failure, to embrace my mistakes, to be patient and most importantly, to be kind. Everything will not always go my way, but everything works out in the end. 


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


Don’t merely sit on the sidelines to watch…utilize the resources and engage with the brilliant community of business owners. The WIPP community is full of women and men looking to help others achieve success. Plus, when we have people committed to change, we all win.

PROVEN

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Learn more about Denita and her team at PROVEN at https://www.provenmgmt.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.


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WIPP Member Spotlight - Pamela O'Rourke

Posted By Laura Berry, Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Pamela O’Rourke
Founder & CEO
Icon Information Consultants
WIPP Member since 2007
Pamela O'Rourke

 

What led you to join WIPP?

A fellow entrepreneur and WIPP member suggested I join based on my background and my goal of making a difference in my community. How could I not join? 

I am a female leader and as such, I believe that part of being successful is making time to give back and to give your time to causes, especially those most close to your heart. I am a very active Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) member, and WIPP very much aligns with my views of female leadership and empowerment in the business world.

 

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

I love the camaraderie between my fellow female leaders and me. We are out there working hard to make a difference in the world, through our participation in WIPP and through our own careers. 

 

It is truly special when you have a diverse group of women solving problems. I believe that the very best solutions come from open and transparent discussion among female leaders with varying backgrounds, education, experiences, and professional skill sets, but with the same purpose of improving our society. It has been such a pleasure working alongside these women. They take time out of their busy schedules with the common goal of changing the world for the better. 

 

What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?

Staying aware of what is happening in the public policy world is so important. This has been a chance for me to share my leadership skills with a group of talented women. There are so many benefits to participating in public policy change advocacy besides affecting your society. It has led to new experiences and lasting relationships with fellow business-minded women.

 

What is your proudest moment for ICON?

I was thrilled in 2009 to be named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. It was truly a special moment for me. After so many years of hard work and dedication to growing ICON Information Consultants, LP, and especially as a female entrepreneur making my mark in the industry, I was thrilled to be recognized with such a prestigious award.

 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with ICON?

The truth is, with any entrepreneurial endeavor, it can be a roller coaster ride. Changes in the economy and the way companies employ individuals directly influence my business. If I could give any advice to fellow female entrepreneurs, it would be to ride the roller coaster, celebrate your successes and work even harder during the downtimes. One of my mottos that I live by is never, ever take no for an answer. Remain persistent and never give up.

 

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

Thank you for joining us! Please make the time to get involved and give back. It is so important to make connections and WIPP is a wonderful way to do that. It is an amazing opportunity to connect with women. It is worth the time and the reward is so valuable, knowing that you made a difference, no matter how big or small, in the world.

 

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Learn more about Pamela and her team at ICON:

Icon Information Consultants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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September President's Message: Back to Business

Posted By Laura Berry, Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Candace Waterman

For many of us, September is a month of transition. Students of all ages are starting school. The seasons distinctly change from the blaze of summer to the autumnal harvest. Yet for our coastal communities, specifically on the East Coast, it can also be a time of watchfulness and worry.

 

Our thoughts are with our business owners affected by Hurricane Dorian. September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and all businesses should ensure they have an updated and relevant plan for emergencies. Access government agency resources and reach out to us if you need additional assistance.


In addition to your emergency plan, now is the time to return to your overall strategic goals to recalibrate and prioritize as we approach the end of the year. As the federal government draws down the fiscal year, corporations, women-owned companies, and organizations need to consider how to meet their Q4 goals.

WIPP stands ready to assist you as we settle into our final months of the year, and we remain aligned on our important priorities for members:


Advocacy:
Congress is in full swing after the summer recess, and we are committed to renewing our efforts to see an SBA Reauthorization bill pass the Senate. Join us next week for the September Policy Update to learn about the results of our Action Alert as well as our advocacy strategy approaching the end of the fiscal year.  

 

Education:
Most of our members already know about our upcoming three-part WEP Digital Communications Series, focusing on LinkedIn. This is the world’s largest search engine for business, and we hope you’ll join us to learn more on how to leverage this platform for positioning, networking, and selling! 


Access:
I’m excited to announce we will be opening ChallengeHER Virtual Contract Connections, which are matchmaking opportunities in partnership with American Express and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Look for dates on ChallengeHER.us for events taking place in November and December. 


As you consider your upcoming opportunities and plans, we hope you’ll use your WIPP Membership and our network in ways to help your business grow. I personally invite you to our monthly Membership Orientation Webinar (on September 18) to learn how to best leverage your membership. 


Although there is no finish line for empowering women business owners, WIPP is always seeking ways to elevate and evolve our programs to better fit our members. Stay informed, stay involved, and let’s face these challenges together!  

Tags:  leadership  opportunities 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Julie Rothhouse

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

 

 

Julie Rothhouse
CEO
SynaVoice LLC
WIPP Champion Member since 2015

 

Julie Rothhouse

 

What led you to join WIPP? 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

 

 

What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?

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

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

 

 

What is your proudest moment for SynaVoice?


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

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

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



What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with SynaVoice?


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

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

 

 

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

 

There are three easy ways to engage with WIPP: 

 

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


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

 

SynaVoice

 

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

Tags:  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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