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  • 02 Jun 2020 11:36 AM | Working Women (Administrator)

    When the global pandemic hit a turning point in the United States in early March, life as we knew it changed practically overnight. As COVID-19 cases spread across the country, the disruptions to daily life were swift and dramatic. Many businesses, schools and organizations went dark, uncertain when they might open again, or were forced to adapt their operations.

    Working Women of Tampa Bay embraced the changing world with gusto. CEO and Founder Jessica Rivelli acted quickly to create a full calendar of virtual events, recognizing the importance of connecting with the organization’s base of professional women during this crisis. 

    “We chose to pivot to virtual events after the (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) recommended that events or gatherings of 20 or more were discouraged,” she said. “All of our events draw 20 or more. We were encouraged to pivot and because all of our events prior to COVID-19 were in-person events, this meant we had to completely change our business model and the way we operate.”

    Since mid-March, the organization has turned to Zoom, a video and audio conference call platform, to double the number of events it would typically host in a month. 

    Working Women of Tampa Bay held its first virtual event, a workshop entitled “Surviving & Thriving During Unsettling Times,” led by Beth Kerly, an associate profession of business and entrepreneurship at Hillsborough Community College, March 18.

    Two months later, by May 15, WWTB has hosted an astounding 50 virtual events with more than 550 attendees. While several of these events have had a networking component to them, such as the Coffee Connections or Happy Hours, the majority have focused on e-learning and workshops.

    “By far the Zooms that have a learning component are much more popular than just the traditional networking,” Rivelli said, which deviates from the norm for WWTB. “In the past, the needs of our members have been equal on the networking and education front. Now there is an increased demand for online education. You have a captive audience of women, particularly women businesses owners, who have this time to better themselves.”

    Educational topics have run the gamut with a focus on skills that are useful to business owners in these uncertain times, she added. Workshops have included “Take Your Business Virtual Using Zoom,” “Be Your Own Publicist,” “Apps for Creating & Curating Content,”  “SEO Tips & Tricks,” “What’s Your Plan B” and “Selling with Integrity and Ease.”

    The workshops have been met with rave reviews.

    Michelle Turpeau, founder and president of Social Vive Marketing who has taught Instagram workshops and attended several others, said she is impressed by the organization’s ability to change gears quickly in order to further its mission of supporting working women. 

    “WWTB is an organization where we are not only supporting and empowering women but also building relationships and educating ourselves,” she said. “During this pandemic it is super important to continue to do so virtually. We have to stay connected, continue learning, growing and keep some sort of normalcy…The value of these events is not only how we continue to keep our relationships strong but also for us to learn and share our own experiences on how we pivot our businesses for the benefit of others.”

    Theo Prodromitis, the co-founder and CEO of Spa Destinations who led workshops such as “Creating New Rituals & Routines” and “Online Selling Opportunities,” agrees.

    “It’s more important than ever for our WWTB community to stay connected,” she said. “Sharing many members’ expertise is an enormous gift. It provides us a chance to stay in touch, help each other, learn new and necessary skills, and stay positive.”

    While many organizations are figuring out how to navigate the new normal, WWTB is ahead of the game, said Michelle Turman, CEO for Catalyst Consulting Services. 

    “Out of all the organizations (membership-based and otherwise) in our Tampa community, WWTB really provided the best and almost immediately. They did not miss a beat in transitioning to a virtual platform for members to feel that their membership still had value,” she said. “Founder Jessica Rivelli also led by example in supporting women-owned businesses who were hurting during this time and encouraged others to do the same. The organization has always been about women supporting women and the support (emotional, financial, and mental) were very valuable to me and other women.”

    Rivelli is proud of what WWTB has accomplished during the pandemic. 

    WWTB will continue its digital programming while Rivelli monitors the CDC recommendations for events and gatherings.

    “Once social distancing recommendations relax, we’ll start to blend in some smaller group in-person networking,” she said. “We’ll continue our virtual programs until it’s completely relaxed.”

    A full schedule of upcoming workshops can be found here

    Rivelli strives to keep costs low for attendees – just $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

    During the first 30 days of online programming, half of the proceeds were donated back to the Working Women Foundation, WWTB’s nonprofit arm that has provided around $50,000 in seed money to women-run start-ups in five years. 

    Zoom programming proceeds were used to purchase about $5,000 worth of gift cards from women-owned businesses that shut down or had limited capacity because of COVID-19. These gift cards will be included in raffles at future fundraising events.

    “It was important to us that we also help women-owned businesses struggling. Some of the women on these Zooms were also the women who were not able to keep their business open,” Rivelli said. “There was a full-circle feel to it.”



  • 22 May 2020 2:49 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    Webinar - June 2nd @ 6pm
    An Evening of Empowerment with Dr. César Lara.

    Join us to learn about Formnovélle.

    To register go to:
    https://event.webinarjam.com/channel/Formnovelle

    Need help registering?
    Please let any of our team members know. We will be happy to help.
    Have a topic you want to learn about?

    Send us your suggestions at: info@cesarlaramd.com 



  • 22 May 2020 10:58 AM | Working Women (Administrator)

    Leadership 101 Class is Now FREE!

    Troy University, a public university whose main campus is in Troy, Alabama, announced today that it will be making its class Leadership 101 available online for free to anyone.

    The course content will equip students to thrive in a post-pandemic world, regardless of where they are now in their lives and careers. It will explore personal development, leadership style and action, cultural diversity and current events, all through the lens of effective leadership. The course will be taught by some of Troy University’s most well-known faculty, including Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., Chancellor; Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims, Dean of the College of Education; Dr. Kerry Palmer, Associate Dean of the College of Education and Dr. John Kline, Executive Director of the Institute for Leadership Development.

    “Thomas Jefferson said ‘The preservation of our democracy will require leaders of ability, integrity and vision.’ That has never been truer than in today’s world, and we believe that universities must lead that charge,” Dr. Hawkins said. “We are responsible for building the leaders of tomorrow and that is something we do not take lightly. Troy University is nationally recognized for its online education. This is a wonderful, free introduction to all that TROY has to offer.”

    The online class will be offered free of charge in two identical four-week sessions, starting on June 1 and July 1.  Students can pick the session that works best with their schedules and study at home at their own pace, which is increasingly relevant during the COVID-19 crisis.

    READ MORE >>>

  • 28 Apr 2020 11:30 AM | Working Women (Administrator)
  • 06 Mar 2020 9:20 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    * VIP * Ashley Shenefelt

    Debbie Yones - Voices of Hope for Aphasia

    Angie Watts - Vacasa

    Christine Smith - Host by Design

    Lana Saba - Holcomb Kreithen Plastic Surgery & MedSpa

    Mary Ridgeway - Prior Bloomin’ Brands

    Stacy Ninan - Holcomb Kreithen Plastic Surgery & MedSpa

    Natalie Colgan

    Gina Cummings - Ackerman Jewelers

    Norma Berrios - BrightCare Consulting LLC

    Ingrid Bredenberg - Bredenberg Associates

    Abigail Burge - KDM Counseling Group

    * VIP * Wanda De Boer - RPM Realty Management LLC

    Alexandra Hernandez - A.W.E.O. Accounting Solutions, Inc.

    Jenny Holla - State Theatre

    Gargee Joglekar - Modern Design Home Interior Design

    Iryna Kononova - IK Photoart

    Berkley La Porte - RockShop Jewelry

    Sushilla Maharaj - SKM Mortgage LLC

    * VIP * Heather McMillan - Tampa Bay Wave

    Cynthia Millane

    * VIP * Julianne Nowicky

    Jenn Possick - The Ads Maven

    Danielle Redd - Lime Street Boutique
  • 21 Nov 2019 8:15 AM | Working Women (Administrator)

    *VIP* Luisa Mayer - AFC Urgent Care                   

    Rose Coleman - Optimum is Now Promotional Products               

    Eve Epstein - SoleVenture                          

    Tina Fontaine    

    Amanda Jacobson - United Way of the Suncoast

    Karen McGlashan - Infinite Health and Wellness Center

    Jessica Muroff - United Way Suncoast                     

    Gail Nursey - United Way Suncoast         

    Lauren Palmer - Amy's Day Spa 

    Nikki Pardo - Global Alliance Solutions   

    Donna Rayburn - Rayburn Business Strategies                   

    Denise Reddick - Brisk Coffee Roasters USA                      

    Natalie Thomas - Shankman Leone, P.A.              

    Kristine Hammett - Bloomin' Brands Inc                

    Regina Hardin - MyKidzMD Pediatrics      

    Christie Lopez - RockShop Jewelry           

    Nikki Pardo - Global Alliance Solutions                  

    Amanda Ryan - Weisner Insurance Network                      

    Mary Shields - Insurance and Trust       

    Melanie Velez - Midori Eco Salon & Spa                                    

    Laura White - LW Consulting Inc.

    Wendy DePaul - Political Candidate                                        

    Gayle Dicus - Pollo Tropical                         

    Faithe Estes - Tucker/Hall            

    Maria Gianfilippo - Organic Speech Therapy        

    Jennifer Jenkins - Rooted Holistic Health              

    June Kittay - Tampa Bay Bodies                                 

    Christina Paylan – Political Candidate                     

    Debby Wallace - Clarity Communications Group                  

    *VIP* Julianne Nowicky                              

    Abigail Burge - KDM Counseling Group                

    Michelene Everett - Hyde Park Event Design       

    Gargee Joglekar - Modern Design Home Interior Design                               

    Berkley La Porte - RockShop Jewelry                      

    Sushilla Maharaj - SKM Mortgage LLC                    

    Cynthia Millane                

    Jo-Anne Newby - Jo-Anne Newby, LLC.                 

    Jenn Possick - The Ads Maven  


  • 19 Nov 2019 5:10 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    At Working Women of Tampa Bay, we celebrate Women Entrepreneurship every day but November 19th is a day designated to celebrate, embrace and empower women entrepreneurs. Women Entrepreneurship Day (WED) began in 2013. Today, WED is celebrated at the United Nations and in 144 countries.

    According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, there are almost 12 million women-owned businesses generating nearly $2 trillion in revenue every year. Data shows that since 2007, the number of women-owned companies has grown at five times the national average, with 1000 new women-owned businesses starting every day.

    Tampa Bay often ranks in the top metro areas for women entrepreneurs in studies like one done recently by Business.org. Their researchers found that 25% of small businesses in Tampa Bay are owned by women. That's not surprising. As the Founder of the largest women's networking organization in our area, I've seen the excitement and interest in female entrepreneurship steadily climb over the past 10 years. Four years ago, we launched a non-profit, the Working Women Foundation to help boost business ownership among women in Tampa Bay. Since then we've had 200 apply for seed money and we've awarded $35,000 to 50 of those applicants.

    One of those recipients, Michelle Turpeau, Founder of SocialVive Marketing shared why she thinks Tampa Bay is a great place to start a business. “I'm grateful to live in this amazing, supportive area full of opportunities and authenticity! There are so many valuable resources for minority-owned businesses like mine."

    Lori Bishop also recently opened a business. Blush Tea and Coffee has been open for about a year now in St. Petersburg. She recalled how supportive her tribe was when she shared with them her plans to open the shop. "The support was amazing, from my loved ones, neighbors, total strangers, and everyone I met through the Chamber. St Pete is incredibly supportive of local small businesses."

    Chambers play a key role in helping start-ups succeed. Ami D. Govindaraju is the Operating Partner of DryBar Tampa. She belongs to the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce which is led by female CEO: Kelly Flannery. "Tampa Bay is a diverse, growing market with a healthy environment for new businesses to launch and succeed," Govindaraju explained. "The days of the 'good ole’ boys club' is coming to an end."

    There are countless free or affordable resources for women entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay including more than a dozen chambers, SBDC, SCORE, The WAVE, STRIVE, The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, Rising Tide Innovation Center and the list goes on.

    "Tampa offers the best combination of community and resources for female entrepreneurs to grow and support each other. The connection of a mid-size city where female leaders are accessible like Mayor Jane Castor and Rita Lowman along with big-city resources like Embarc Collective, funded by Jeff Vinik. It's truly a unique place to do business," shared Out Front Brands CEO Theo Prodromitis who recently testified in front of the Small Business Committee on Capitol Hill.

    Tampa Bay is the best of both worlds when it comes to doing business. “It’s a large metro area that has a small town feel and is incredibly supportive of small businesses like mine,” explained veteran business owner Cindy Dervech of Breezin Entertainment. Sharon Fekete AKA The Doctor Whisperer agreed. "Tampa Bay is big enough to sustain a company and small enough to stand out."

    Island Massage Therapy Owner Suzanne Andrew has been in business for more than 10 years now. Just like Working Women, she's seen quite a few changes in the landscape for small businesses. "I especially appreciate the constant influx of new people with new ideas. Living in a growing city brings lots of new opportunities, new people, new ideas every day!

    Tampa Bay has a huge military and veteran community and with that comes lots of military spouses. According to a US Chamber of Commerce study in 2017, Military spouses are often unemployed (4x the national average) and under-employed (71%) as a result of moving so often. Stacy Miller is a Partner at Bright Investments and a military spouse to a retired US Army officer. She explained "because of the challenges of military life, we've mastered resilience, creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management, some of the top skills needed to become an entrepreneur. So many military spouse entrepreneurs have and continue to come from Tampa Bay."

    Finally, it all comes down to connections and collaboration. Kelly Mothershead who has owned several businesses in Pasco County summed it up perfectly. "Building relationships and building up other women is something Tampa Bay does very well!"

    For those who have dreams of entrepreneurship but haven't taken the leap yet, we asked some of our members to share their advice. Here's what they had to say to celebrate this Women Entrepreneurship Day.

    "Don’t be afraid to take the risk, be prepared to put in the hours, and love what you do!" - Amy Hathcox - Amy's Day Spa in Tampa

    "Get out and meet people! There are so many organizations to be part of that you’ll be able to find your tribe in no time!” - Dr. Madalyn Turner - Atlas Chiropractic Center in St. Petersburg

    “Get a bookkeeper right away. Surround yourself with advisors who you trust for advice." - Sophie Bel - Beyond Beauty Studio in St. Petersburg

    "Find an organization that provides continued support not just during the start-up phase." Kristin McKinney - Pro Kitchen Hub in Tampa

    If you're building a business and need financial support, check out WorkingWomenFoundation.org for details on our seed money program. Most of our recent donations have come directly from successful women business owners who want to give back through our Power of 100 Project --- a campaign that encourages 100 women to donate $100 in honor of our 10th anniversary.


  • 02 Sep 2019 8:30 AM | Working Women (Administrator)


    Join us for our 10th anniversary celebration at the Decade of Dynamic Women dinner where we will be celebrating honoree, Beth Kerly, among other dynamic women in Tampa Bay! Learn more here!

    We asked each honoree if they would share 10 things they know now they wish they knew 10 years ago. Here’s Beth's list:

    1. Speak up! Use your voice when you have something to say.

    2. Be intentional

    3. Be paid what your worth and don’t be afraid to demand it

    4. Working mothers are da bomb, don’t feel guilty

    5. Tell your mother you love her any why

    6. Hire a cleaning service

    7. No one can tell your story better than you

    8. Don’t think small, take action

    9. Get into an exercise routine

    10. Cut negative people out of your life, surround yourself with positivity.

    Beth Kerly – Hillsborough Community College

    813-732-8470

    mkerly@hccfl.edu

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