WPO’s Women Winners: 2016 Annual Conference Award Recipients

The Women President’s Organization announced its three 2016 award recipients at the organization’s annual conference in Baltimore at The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.

The 2016 winners are:

  • Pamela Kan, President, Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation – Mary Lehman Maclachlan Economic Empowerment Award
  • Phyllis Newhouse, President & CEO, Extreme Solutions, Inc. – Adrienne Hall Award for Breaking Down Barriers
  • Judith Goldkrand, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank – President’s Award

Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Award

Mary Lehman MacLachlan was an esteemed WPO advisory Board Member and a proponent of women’s economic empowerment. She fervently believed that women should be able to take care of themselves financially. Mary Lehman MacLachlan cared deeply about women in positions of leadership and ownership. She believed women need to support other women because “if they don’t, no one else will.”

The Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Empowerment Award is given to a WPO member who embodies the qualities of this award, including economic independence, running a financially sound business, providing positive financial benefits for staff and supporting other business women in her community. A certified and woman-owned family of companies Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) works with manufacturers to engineer, manufacture, and build linear and rotary motion solutions, custom complex assemblies, and optimal embedded intelligence systems.

The winner of the 2016 WPO Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Award is Pamela Kan, President, Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation, located in Pittsburgh, California.

Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., WPO President & Founder said “Pamela embodies the qualities of the Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Empowerment Award, including economic independence, running a financially-sound business, providing positive financial benefits for staff and supporting other business women in her community. She is passionate about helping to create a more diverse, inclusive pipeline of employees for her industry and embodies the WPO tagline, ‘Reaching Farther. Together.’”

Adrienne Hall Award for Breaking Down Barriers

The Adrienne Hall Award for Breaking Down Barriers goes to a member, organization or sponsor who has gone out of the way to collaborate with the WPO, to forge an alliance that has proved helpful to the organization.

The winner of this year’s award goes to Phyllis Newhouse, President and CEO, Xtreme Solutions, Inc., an Information Technology Services & Solutions Company, located in Atlanta, Georgia.  Phyllis joined the WPO through the Women of Color Achievement Awards, a WPO partnership with 100 Black Men of America. She became a huge proponent for getting women involved in WPO when they hit the million dollar mark and are at the point of scalability.

Having demonstrated enthusiastic support for the WPO and its mission, Phyllis is one of WPO’s biggest advocates, because of what she says the organization has done for her.

The President’s Award

The President’s Award recognizes one WPO member who has gone above and beyond in terms of her commitment to the WPO organization and support for the future success of women business owners. The award has the distinction of being personally selected by WPO President & Founder, Dr. Marsha Firestone.

This year’s award goes to Judith Goldkrand, Senior Vice President, Business Banking, Wells Fargo, Palo Alto, California.

“Judith’s commitment and support has been crucial to our organization, and to the future success of women business owners. She is a long-time WPO supporter and has been a WPO board member for many years. She has hosted WPO Chapter and regional events. She is generous with her time, often referring members. Her response is always ‘whatever I can do to help’. She has consistently gone above and beyond to build networks and allegiances on WPO’s behalf,” said Dr. Marsha Firestone, WPO President & Founder.

FORTUNE: These Are the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Businesses

When Sarah Kauss came up with the idea for a high-end water bottle company, she anticipated starting a small, niche business and then going back to a more traditional job once the new venture was off the ground.

Little did she know that that company, S’well, would become the fastest-growing women-owned business in the U.S., according to an annual ranking by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), a nonprofit membership group for female leaders, in partnership with American Express.

The list, which is in its ninth year, ranks companies based on both percentage and absolute growth. To qualify for the ranking, businesses must be privately-held, woman-owned/led, and have reached revenue of at least $500,000 by the first week of 2011 and $2 million in 2015. Together, the 50 companies on the list generated a combined $4.96 billion in revenues last year.

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*Article contributed by Valentina Zarya, associate editor for the Most Powerful Women channel on fortune.com

FORBES: The Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Businesses

In 2009, Harvard Business School grad Sarah Kauss was on a hike in Arizona with her mother when she realized she didn’t much feel like drinking the water that had been baking in the sun in her metal bottle. She suddenly had a vision for the container she wished she’d had, a bottle that was more like a thermos, with a sleek design in a pretty color. Back in New York, while working her day job in commercial real estate development, she found a designer who created a curvy prototype she then had manufactured in China in a pretty ocean blue. Though there were already plenty of re-usable water bottles on the market, Kauss’s, which she dubbed S’well, stood out because of its distinctive design and its capacity to keep liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. Her big break came in 2011 when O, the Oprah Magazine, wanted to include S’well on its O List of great products. But the editors wanted a colorful photo so Kauss, who was still working solo, scrambled to produce six more colors, including seashell pink and rowboat red.

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*Article written by Susan Adams, staff writer for Forbes.

Stanford Business: How Do You Find Breakthrough Ideas?

How Do You Find Breakthrough Ideas?  What neuroscience tells us about getting the best out of yourself, your colleagues and the boss.

From the perspective of innovation this is critically important to understand and will help you get the best from yourself, your colleagues, and your boss.

Here’s how:

Research shows that the best way to maximize creativity is to maintain high levels of both serotonin and dopamine, which will keep a person calm but energized. But how? The path begins with proper rest. A minimum of 30 minutes — but ideally up to 2 hours — of deep sleep reduces cortisol levels and boosts serotonin. That means arriving in bed relaxed by taking a hot shower or bath beforehand, avoiding alcohol in the two hours before bedtime, and turning off all lights, including those illuminating electronic devices, which affect the pineal gland and make people think they should be awake and alert. It also means eating light in the evening and not less than three or four hours before retiring. Digesting a big meal can hamper sleep.

Cardiovascular exercise is also critical. When the heart muscles pump faster, they release a peptide believed to help produce serotonin. That means considering a brisk walk before an afternoon meeting — or better yet, walk and talk. Steve Jobs regularly held “walking” meetings. Mark Zuckerberg does too. The serotonin exercise produces not only will make a person more creative and productive but it also improves the quality of sleep, creating a
positive cycle all around.

Corporations worried about losing their edge often try to force their employees to work “better, faster, stronger” by applying more pressure or using threats and ultimatums. They believe that the stick, not the carrot, will be more effective in breeding innovation.
Studies show, however, that stress is a poor motivator.

In his best-selling book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Princeton’s Daniel Kahneman explains why. Of the brain’s two basic neural pathways, the first — from anxiety to calm — does not inspire outside-the-box thinking. Workers who are insecure and stressed creep along in terror until they find safety. The goal, then, is to get workers engaging the second pathway — from complacency to excitement — which is much more likely to trigger innovation. That shift is achieved primarily through positive reinforcement: encouragement, respect, and enhanced responsibility.

*Article contributed by Stanford School of Business

Elegant Entrepreneur: The Book Written to Lower the Barriers to Entry & Success for Female Founders

Danielle Tate is an accidental entrepreneur. Her name change, mishaps after marriage, sparked the idea for an online name change service for newlyweds. With zero business background, Tate bootstrapped MissNowMrs.com a service that condenses 13 hours of form completion and filing into 30 minutes for $30 dollars. In her journey to building her idea into a multimillion-dollar enterprise, she always searched for a book that spoke to her as an intelligent woman, but one that didn’t assume she had an MBA.

Elegant Entrepreneur: The Female Founders Guide to Starting & Growing Your First Company is the book that Tate wrote to fill the void in startup books for women lacking business education. The book has been called “A MUST read for every entrepreneurial woman who is considering starting her own business or currently has one they are looking to grow.”

Cover for FB (2)

Comprised of Tate’s personal journey, key business concepts, and over 25 interviews with prominent entrepreneurs such as Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank, Jenny Fleiss of Rent the Runway, and Marsha Firestone of Women Presidents’ Organization, Elegant Entrepreneur delivers an approachable 12-step guide to growing from idea to exit and includes sections on how it feels to be living each step as an woman entrepreneur.

Tate’s mission for her book is to lower the barriers to entry and success for future female founders by demystifying entrepreneurship and highlighting the benefits of controlling one’s income, working hours, and definition of success.

Forbes: Is Change In The Wind For Women Entrepreneurs Raising Capital?

Sometimes, it seems as if as much as things change for women entrepreneurs, they are standing still. That paradox couldn’t be more true than when discussing high-growth women entrepreneurs and their ability to raise capital. That is the #1 challenge women face when starting and growing their companies, found David S. Ricketts, Senior Innovation Scholar at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. His comment is based on a survey of high-growth women entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, government representatives, media, academics, researchers and corporate executives who attended a recent DWEN Research Symposium. By focusing on where change is happening, where it isn’t, and examining what interventions are working, we can facilitate even greater change.

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*Article written by Geri Stengel, contributor to Forbes

Women Presidents’ Organization and the University of Baltimore Come Together to Host Community Service Day

The Women Presidents’ Organization and the University of Baltimore will host a complimentary community service day at the University of Baltimore on Wednesday, April 6th from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm targeted to women with startup and pre-startup businesses or business ideas. The event will take place in Room AL 1201, 12th Floor, the University of Baltimore Angelos Law School. The goal of the service day, sponsored by AXA Equitable, Wells Fargo and Marriott International, is to help individuals develop more economic security through the growth of their businesses.

The service day program consist of two panel presentations, “Turning an Idea into a Successful Business” and “Growing a Small Business into a Multimillion Dollar Company.” Following the panels roundtable discussions will be led by WPO members from diverse industries who will share their expertise and business experience.  Both panels will be moderated by Tracey Gray-Walker, Managing Director, Head of Association Business AXA Equitable.

Roundtable discussions following each panel will address the participants’ specific growth issues. Panelists include:

“Turning and Growing an Idea into a Successful Business”

  • Barbara Hutchinson, President, Chesapeake Cardiac Care
  • Donna Miller, President, C3 Work Place
  • Judith Goldkrand, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo

“Growing a Small Business into a Multimillion Dollar Company”

  • Pamela Kan, President, Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation
  • Tracy Balazs, President & CEO, Federal Staffing Resources LLC
  • Lucia Gibbons, EVP, Head of Eastern Business Banking, Wells Fargo


WPO looks forward to seeing you there!