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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.


Tags:  leadership  Membership  spotlight 

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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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WIPP Member Spotlight - Carrie Jokiel

Posted By Laura Berry, Wednesday, August 7, 2019

 

Carrie Jokiel

Carrie Jokiel

President

ChemTrack Alaska, Inc.

WIPP National Partner Since July 2016

 

What led you to join WIPP?

 

Operating in Alaska, I am removed from the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C. where a lot of policy work is done that directly affects my business. I spent a lot of time researching the latest and trying to keep up on my own. When I found out about WIPP, I realized they already had a webinar, the WIPP Policy Update, set up for most things I was researching, and if they didn’t, I could suggest one and they would work on it!

 

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

I enjoy walking in to a room of women that all speak my federal contracting language and who have had similar challenges and are action-oriented for change.

WIPP also actively looks for ways to highlight their members in Congress. Earlier this year, ChemTrack was honored as the 2019 SBA Alaska Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year, and as a result, WIPP nominated ChemTrack Alaska as the U.S. Senate Small Business of the Week, and we received the honor in late July 2019!

 

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

With WIPP we have access to an amazing Advocacy Team, and they do the work to help push forward WIPP’s Policy Pillars, such as creating parity for WOSBs in federal contracting, which directly affects my strategic goals. My voice alone would never have the impact it does without the help of my WIPP Membership.

WIPP is effective in making positive change, and they are considered a leader and go-to organization for information and action that supports Women Owned Businesses.

 

What is your proudest moment for ChemTrack?

I have two. One was when we were awarded on to a Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC) with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District. We were elated to have the opportunity to be one of the players in a very competitive market in the State of Alaska.

The other was then we came across a very hard season and had to reduce everyone’s pay in order to make it through, every one stayed and worked incredibly hard, despite a pay cut. ChemTrack pulled through and was able to reimburse everyone the following season. 

 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with ChemTrack?

I would not say I have overcome it yet, but I have made serious inroads towards educating our federal clients in the State of Alaska about the benefits of working with WOSBs. It has been a challenge to move the dial, discuss, set up meetings, push for set asides, sole sources, and capability briefings in a largely male-dominated industry. 

 

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

This is a powerful group that is poised to make a difference for our companies. Questions that I have spent a long time researching are already answered, and I’m not alone in asking those questions in the first place. The camaraderie is uplifting and I feel very “heard” when I voice industry concerns. I’m grateful I became a member. 

 

Learn more about Carrie and her team at ChemTrack Alaska at https://www.chemtrack.net. 

ChemTrack

 

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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Knowing the Game Changers

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, June 5, 2019

When I started representing WIPP in Washington some 17 years ago, Republican George W. Bush was in his second year as President and Senate Democrats held their majority by a very slim margin, while the House was controlled comfortably by Republicans. Women held 62 seats in the House and 13 seats in the Senate. No women chaired Congressional Committees and two women held Cabinet posts – Ann Veneman (Department of Agriculture) and Elaine Chao (Department of Transportation).

 

Things are a little different now— but maybe not as much as one might think. President Donald Trump is also a Republican, but this time the Senate is controlled by Republicans and Democrats control the House. But the game changer is women in power. As of January 2019, there are 106 women in the U.S. House of Representatives, including delegates, and 25 women in the Senate. Seven women head Congressional Committees—not to mention Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who is second in the presidential line of succession, after the vice president.

AnnSullivan

 

 Even though there were relatively few women in Congress, in those early days there were a few game changers—Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Senator Olympia Snowe. Senator Hutchison was the head of the Republican Policy Committee in the Senate and included us in her monthly meetings, even though we were the only women in the room. Senator Snowe supported women business owners from her position on the Small Business Committee highlighting our issues.

Today, women-owned companies in the United States make a much bigger impact than in 2002. Women owned 6.5 million nonfarm U.S. businesses in 2002, employing 7.1 million people and generating $939.5 billion in business revenues. The latest numbers, by contrast, show women own 10 million firms, generating $1.4 trillion in receipts and employing 8.4 million.

 

WIPP was founded because women business owners were not well understood and did not have “a seat at the table.” Routinely left out of important agency and Congressional meetings, women pressed for a bigger presence. Making a difference in public policy was, and is to this day, WIPP’s mission. WIPP’s first example of making a big difference was pushing for a federal program which set aside federal contracts to women-owned companies. The women’s procurement program rallied women all over the country who believed that resistance to implement this law was just plain wrong. The game changer was locking down Presidential candidate support for implementation and when President Barack Obama won – it was one of the first things he did. Our strategy of presenting our platform at both conventions attended by powerful women in both parties and our members worked.

 

With WIPP’s legislative and regulatory victories, our narrative started changing. We no longer asked for a “seat at the table.” We had it. Rather, we were seated at the head of the table. Congressional Members, staff and committees consult our organization and its members for views and testimony on every aspect of policies affecting entrepreneurs. SBA became our partner through ChallengeHER, educating women nationwide on working with the private sector. Lastly, we became an integral part of the small business community and worked diligently to build a cohesive coalition with all other parts of the community – another game changer.

Changing the game has been in WIPP’s DNA since its inception. In June, there are two additional opportunities to lead. First, the Senate will hold a hearing on contracting issues with an eye to making the small business programs more effective. WIPP will testify, addressing the disappointing performance of the WOSB/EDWOSB program and efforts to increase federal contracts to women-owned businesses.


The second opportunity is the 2019 WIPP Business Leadership Conference. Participation, just like those early days, requires everyone’s attendance. WIPP visits to Capitol Hill has never been more important. Our visibility helps all women entrepreneurs across the country, even though they may not even be aware of our efforts. Our attention to issues such as business growth requires action and this conference provides opportunity for engagement with Congressional Members and staff.

 

Unlike the early days, we are not begging for a seat at the table. But now that we have a seat, it is our responsibility to do something with that seat. Get involved. Add your voice.


Tags:  Advocacy  Congress  leadership  WIPP Annual Conference 

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more Calendar

12/11/2019
WIPP Policy Update - December 2019

12/11/2019
ChallengeHER Virtual Contract Connections

12/18/2019
WIPP Member Orientation - December 2019

12/19/2019
WEP Training - Managing Your LinkedIn Content in 2020

1/28/2020
ChallengeHER Puerto Rico

Featured Members
Denita R. ConwayPresident & CEO, PROVEN Management, Washington, D.C. — November 2019 Monthly Member Spotlight

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