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WIPP Member Spotlight - Cindy Towers, Esq.

Posted By Laura Berry, Monday, December 2, 2019

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

 

Cindy Towers

What led you to join WIPP?

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?

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

What is your proudest moment for JURISolutions Legal?

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


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

 

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

 

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

 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in business?

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

 

What advice would you give to a new WIPP member?

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

 

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

JURISolutions

 

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

 

Tags:  membership  spotlight 

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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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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.


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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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