Sunday, June 28, 2015

Insight - Women in Business - By Michelle Libby

Last week I attended my first Women’s Outlook on Maine Business Forum at Saint Joseph’s College and put on by the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. Kim Block was there as emcee, but in addition there were tons of local business women. The event has been around for many years started by Sheri Huff, who was recognized as the 2015 Woman in Maine Business Leadership Honoree for her years of help in the region. She started the community coin challenge, which this year became the Feed The Need campaign. Congratulations to Sheri. 

Panel speakers were Deb Bergeron, a personal and professional life coach, Sarah Guerrette, director of Women’s Business Center at Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Judy Crosby, director of The DaVinci Experience and Emily Straubel, an accountability coach and writer. 

Each speaker had a little different perspective on success in life and in business. 

Deb spoke about her “inner mean girl,” who was constantly causing her to doubt herself and told her that she couldn’t be successful. She believes that everyone needs to have an action plan. Her advice to new business owners is “Be patient and ask for a lot of help.” 

Emily was concerned with goals and having goals that were purposeful. If you don’t have a connection to the goals, they aren’t going to be met. “Relying on willpower is not going to do it,” she said. “Create a goal that you have an attachment to,” she said. Emily also believes that creativity is everything. Every day should be lived with a “What am I going to do today to get closer to my goals in life?” question. Emily also recommended that women work to have a passive business income. Learn how not to be an employee in your business, she said. 

Judy, who owns a science summer camp for children, has had her own successes and stumbling blocks. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she told the audience. She recommends for new business owners to take adult education classes locally. She also said it is a good idea to have a business plan. When asking for help or making a presentation, know your audience so you can speak their language.  

Sarah spoke about the resources that are out there for women in business and through her company, women can learn what is needed to start their own business from start to success. 

Having never been in the business world before The Windham Eagle, seminars like this are always an eye opening experience for me. I love that women come together to learn and share successes. I believe that any of the women there would step up to help any of the other attendees if asked. That’s the kind of world I’d like to be in. 

The icing on the cake at this event was the wait staff, provided by the chamber. A few of the male board members served wine, lunch and helped to make the event a wonderful experience for everyone.

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