The State Of Women Entrepreneurs In The B2B Space

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WPO Member, Phyllis Newhouse is a U.S. Army veteran, a single mother, a tech entrepreneur who founded Xtreme Solutions, Inc., and winner of WPO’s 50 Fastest Women-Owned/Led Companies ranking. She is among a growing number of women entrepreneurs powering major innovations in the business-to-business space. Read more from Fast Company who profiled Phyllis in October for their Strong Female Lead series.

This op-ed written by Marsha Firestone, Ph.D.  originally appeared in Fast Company.

Reflection and Refraction

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Rebecca Armen Lyman, Principal and Cofounder, The Garrigan Lyman Group

After 14 years, my final Seattle WPO Chapter meeting was the last Thursday of October. I flew to Maui shortly after the meeting, and as I sat overlooking the ocean between Maui and Molokai, I saw the most miraculous rainbow—end-to-end, beautiful, color-full spectrum, arcing through the rain clouds and off the sun. Rum and tonic aside, it felt like an almost magical manifestation of my journey with the Seattle Chapter of the WPO.

Rainbow: an arc or circle that exhibits in concentric bands the colors of the spectrum, and that is formed opposite the sun by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in raindrops, spray, or mist
I am (or was) the last remaining founding member of the chapter, along with Mary Jane Pioli and Christy Martin, our wonderful co-facilitators. In 2001, the Seattle reception for new members was just several days after 9/11, and the world was full of a new uncertainty. Marsha Firestone joined us by video conference because she was unable to fly out of NYC. What did this mean to the future? How would this affect our businesses? Then, more than ever, I felt I needed a forum to test ideas, to get support, and to ask questions. It took a while to get the chapter on stable footing, but soon a group of amazing women was assembled, and together we laughed, cried, admired, validated, commiserated, nurtured, listened, and learned from one another. We saw ourselves reflected in each other’s eyes, and that reflected truth gave us the courage to go on no matter how many clouds were on the horizon.

Reflection: an image that is seen in a mirror or on a shiny surface; something that shows the effect, existence, or character of something else
Five years ago, I was in the first meeting of the Platinum Chapter IV, and I shared that day with the amazing Kathy Long Holland and an unbelievably talented group of women. These meetings added something different to my personal and business journey, and every quarterly meeting has taught me something new to try: it might be a different way to tackle a challenge, or a bolt of insight about making choices and taking control of those choices.
I had truly reached that pot of gold—an embarrassment of riches—with my local and national chapters. September came around again, and this year, after much consideration, I chose to vacate my Seattle Chapter seat and allow another woman on her journey to have that privilege. Oh, I am still a Member-at-Large and a Platinum-IV member, so I haven’t gone far, but my journey has refracted along another pathway, as the challenges grow and change in their shape and velocity.

Refraction: reflection from a straight path undergone by a light ray or energy wave in passing obliquely from one medium (as air) into another (as glass) in which its velocity is different
So just as the raindrop refracts the light of the sun’s rays to make a rainbow, so my life has been colored by my experience in the WPO. I want to say thank you and celebrate the gift that is the WPO. I hold Marsha, Camille, Kirsten, Mary Jane, Christy, Kathy, and all my WPO sisters in great appreciation. We are all on a lifelong journey, and we will pass through many mediums, many prisms. For me, the WPO has helped light the way.

Can You Buy Happiness?

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Do you upsell yourself on your business purchases? Personal purchases? The human mind perceives everything in a relative manner, and will adapt quickly to your decisions. In this short video featuring decision scientist, Dr. Jason L. Harman explains how our mind works when making purchasing or investing decisions. May be helpful to keep in mind this holiday season? Check out this video to learn determine if you can buy happiness.

Balancing Digital Opportunity with Cybersecurity Risk

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Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting mid-market companies and startups, often as a gateway to other organizations, or in the hope of easy access to sensitive data. The cost to a business can be high, ranging from financial loss to reputational damage. With heightened awareness, private companies can be better prepared for the inevitable.

PwC’s Business Insights Survey report  focuses on the hot topic of cyber security and asks the key question: are private companies doing enough to protect themselves?

If you would like to learn more, contact Saul Plener, National Leader, Private Company Services PwC Canada via email or by phone +1 905 418 3471

WPO Guest Blog: A Meeting with His Highness Sheikh Nahyan of Abu Dhabi


Guest Blog by WPO Member, Sudha Pennathur, President & CEO, House of Pennathur

WPO Member, Sudha Pennathur, tells us how she had the unique opportunity to meet with His Highness Sheikh Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and speak about how she became a women entrepreneur and how the WPO has enabled her to grow her business internationally.

“It has been an amazing journey to come to Abu Dhabi. We landed on August 19th night in Dubai and were whisked away on the 20th at 9 am to Abu Dhabi by Author and Columnist Pranay Gupte for an audience with His Highness Sheikh Nahyan.
We got to Abu Dhabi around 11.15 am and were met by His Royal Highness’s secretary, who else but “Mohammad”. Got seated at 11.30 and I was given the seat of honor to the right of His Highness Sheikh Nahyan.
I expected to spend 20 minutes with His Highness and ended up talking with him for over 3.5 hours!  As it turned out there were 40 people in the room whom he had to see and other than greeting them officially, he spent the whole time discussing issues with me.  I was blown away. I didn’t want to over stay my welcome, but Pranay kept telling me to hang in there as long as he didn’t finish with me, and I did!
I had understood that lunch was planned to be “Ladies Only”, with Her Highness and her three daughters (Sheikhas). Plans changed unexpectedly. Instead, after prayers attended by the male invitees, I was invited to enter the banquet room and was again seated next to HH Sheikh Nahyan. I was a bit taken aback when I realized I was the only female in the room.  He personally filled my plate and asked that  they bring a “vegetarian” plate for him as well.  

During the lunch I listened attentively to everything – how the Cleveland Clinic had set up a major hospital in Abu Dhabi in 90 days and performed the first heart transplant, then about how they hoped to have a lot more women in administrative ranks in the Government and where they were heading with the plans for the future.  India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Modi had just been there the prior weekend to address an audience of over 30,000 people.  I listened as HH talked fondly of that meeting and welcomed me as both an Indian and as an American!  

When it was my turn to talk, I asked if he would like me to send a proposal on further enhancing women’s status in UAE and how I entered the entrepreneurial ranks, balancing the two very diverse cultures of East and West.   He asked me to send the proposal to him and he would personally look into getting it to the right source.

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After lunch we all went back to the main hall where he held court.  I was seated to his right and my husband Edward Messerly sat next to me.  Tea of different flavors and coffee were served.  He had the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic of Dubai on the other side of him and a Bollywood actor called Vikram Singh sat next to Edward. I proudly introduced the subject of WPO, its accomplishment and how enabling it has been in my growth internationally.”

Disrupters: The New Normal

Guest Blog by: Rachel Braun Scherl, Co-Founder & Principal, Strategist, Entrepreneur and Speaker, SPARK Solutions for Growth & WPO Fairchester member, Mary Jaensch, Co-Founder & Principal,  SPARK Solutions for Growth

At the 2015 WPO conference in Phoenix, members had the opportunity to hear Lorna Ross and Barbara Spurrier speak about how The Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation is transforming the experience and delivery of healthcare through innovative human-centered methodology, and how to apply this model to their businesses. WPO Member, Rachel Scherl highlighted some key learnings from the session.

Disruption: The New Normal
In a world of rapidly changing technology and interconnectedness, most businesses find themselves besieged with fundamental shifts in the way that they manage their strategies. Throughout the healthcare ecosystem, it has become increasingly clear that “business as usual” is no longer sufficient.

Big Disruptions:
Changing government regulations, metrics for reimbursement, availability of health monitoring, and abundance of information among other factors are impacting how healthcare providers and companies evolve their product and service delivery. The fundamental treatment paradigm has shifted from treating illness to facilitating wellness. The disruption in the healthcare industry will continue to drive new business models.

A Snapshot from the Field:

The Mayo Clinic is currently celebrating its 150th birthday and has recognized the earth-shattering, model-unraveling impact of healthcare disruption. The response was the creation of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, whose approach fuses design principles with scientific methods to uncover human needs: empathy, creativity, systems thinking, a patient-centered focus. The Mayo Clinic has captured their mantra in the tagline “Think big. Start small. Move fast.”™ as a way to create, discover and launch new ways of delivering healthcare. Now that is disruptive.